Can Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr lead the Cowboys to the promised land?
Yesterday, NFL.com posted an article in which their cadre of writers each picked which team they consider to have improved themselves the most this offseason. They offered a wide range of choices, from Bucs to Bills and Chargers to Jags. One pundit, Dave Dameshek, chose the Cowboys. Citing the upgrades to the secondary (including Brodney Pool), the acquisition of Dan Connor, and the additions of Nate Livings and Mackenzie Bernadeau, Dameshek opines:
Like their in-state counterparts in Houston did a year ago, the Cowboys have turned their woeful secondary into a position of strength. And also like the Texans last season (at least before Matt Schaub went down), Dallas will be the most complete team in its conference.
The cherry on the sundae? He believes that the "most complete" Cowboys will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Another pundit jumps on the bandwagon below...
And he's not the only one. In his weekly mailbag (subscription only), Adam Schefter took on a question about the Cowboys' potential in 2012. His answer? "High...very high. This team is capable of going to the Super Bowl if it can stay healthy." To support his argument, Schefter relies upon a couple of old chestnuts (and, in the process, sounds like Jerry Jones): the Cowboys have long had more talent than their results might suggest; Dallas was a Tony Romo to Miles Austin completion from winning the division.
To my mind, the real news lies not in either writer's analytic acumen. Rather, it makes me wonder whether we are witnessing a subtle perceptual shift. Nobody can dispute that the Cowboys remain perpetually in the news because they sell advertising; they are always the story, good or bad. For most of the offseason, the punditry cycle has focused on the bad. Its been fashionable, when talking of the Cowboys, to focus on a set of (also tired) negatives: they can't win in December; Romo can't win in the clutch; Jason Garrett bungled the final minute in Arizona; there is no leadership in the locker room at Valley Ranch.
Its a given that the Cowboys must be in the news; what does it mean when that news changes? Does it mean that football fans had become numb to the negativity, and a new, "fresh" take was needed? Or have some analysts begun to look past December's negatives to the excellent March and strong April the franchise has enjoyed? Are some national writers actually taking an objective look at the team and jumping on the proverbial Bandwagon?
What do you think, BTBers? What might yesterday's spate of Cowboys love signify? As Tom wrote in an email to the other front-pagers, does other people liking the Cowboys make you nervous?