Before I get on my soapbox, I want to say this is my first post on BtB, and I'm extremely grateful to all the fantastic people who make this the best website for Cowboys news out there, bar none. Hopefully I can only add to the greatness of this site, which is what I intend to do.
Now it's soapbox time.
Anyone who has been watching any videos from NFL.com recently has noticed that Heath Evans has been in every single one relating to the Cowboys. They have also probably noticed that Heath Evans is as good of an analyst as Warren Sapp is a reporter, (if anyone doesn't get that, google Warren Sapp and Jeremy Shockey). I have been obsessively scouring the internet (mostly BtB) for Cowboys related news and analysis since the season ended, and whenever a video is posted on NFL.com about the Cowboys, I always watch it. Ever since the draft and free agency happened, Heath Evans has been spewing loads of garbage about our team. For a while there, you couldn't get him to shut up about how the Cowboys should've gotten Cortland Finnegan instead of Brandon Carr (who is the better scheme fit for Ryan) because Finnegan is "physical and brings toughness to a Cowboys defense that lacks toughness" (not a direct quote, I'm paraphrasing). I don't know about you, but the way Carr plays the CB position seems pretty physical. I don't know much about football admittedly, but I'm pretty sure you have to be physical to play the press corner style as effectively as Carr does.
Another thing Mr. Evans liked to ramble about is how the Cowboys had to spend a 2nd round pick to get the best defensive player in the draft, Morris Claiborne. He says he would have preferred Dre Kirkpatrick (using the same lame excuse about toughness and physicality that he applied to the Finnegan argument) and we still would have been able to get him at 14 and keep the 2nd rounder. Again, I don't know much about football as I've only been a true fan for a couple years now, but I'm pretty sure only having to give up a 2nd rounder (thanks to Stephen Jones) to move up 8 spots into the top of the draft to grab (maybe) the best defensive player in the draft to reinforce a depleted Cowboys secondary seems like a steal to me. Evans even criticized the Cowboys for the hire of Jason Garrett, asking why Jerry Jones didn't pursue Jeff Fisher (who by all accounts was burnt out and wanted to take a year off after the 2010 season.) This kind of stuff was enough for me to rant to my roommate (who is a Rams fan first and a Cowboys fan second) about Heath Evans, and he agreed with me 100%.
But the thing that sent me over the edge (figuratively) was this latest video on NFL.com in response to Stephen Jones' comments about Dez needing to step up and be the #1 receiver. They asked the panel of Shaun O'Hara, Heath Evans (who else?) and Warren Sapp if Dez should be the #1 receiver. Heath starts off saying (seemingly reluctantly) yes, but he has "speculation of talent" about Dez. Speculation of what? If anything, "talent" is what Dez already has, and he needs to focus on the rest of his game in order to fully take advantage of his talent, but I'll let this one slide because he then backs up saying he's seen the talent but that Dez lacks consistency. Fair enough, especially given the fantastic article penned by OCC not too long ago talking about that very subject that supports such a claim. But then Evans goes on to talk about Kevin Ogletree and the rest of the receivers on the depth chart behind Miles and Dez. Uhh wasn't the question about Dez and specifically if he should be the #1?
Then Shaun O'Hara jumps in, and starts comparing Dez to Hakeem Nicks, who was drafted a year before Dez. First he compares the number of starts. 33 for Hakeem Nicks and 15 for Dez. First off, Dez was the #3 receiver on the depth chart his rookie year behind Miles and Roy Williams, not to mention the fact that Dez got injured in the Colts game that same year, so that doesn't seem fair on top of the fact that Nicks got drafted a full year ahead of Dez. Then he says "Hakeem Nicks has back-to-back 1000 yard seasons" (which is always the best way to judge and compare wide receivers, am I right?) Well, if you consider that Dez in 2011 almost had 1000 yards (he had 928 yards on only 63 receptions, as compared to 76 receptions for Nicks), it's quite likely Dez would have been able to reach 1000 yards if he had a few more catches.
Do the Cowboys need Dez to step up this year, be more consistent and take advantage of his freaky potential? Absolutely. Especially given the perceived lack of depth at the wide receiver position. Have they needed him to in the past? Arguably not. They have had future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and undrafted sensation Miles Austin for the entire time Dez has been in the league. In his rookie year, Dez was the #3 WR behind Miles and Roy. In his 2nd year, with the emergence of Laurent Robinson, Romo was spreading the ball around like mad, there was no need to force the ball to one target when he had 4 legitimate options in the passing game (when everyone was healthy, which admittedly was rare). This is also totally ignoring the lockout, which I'm pretty sure stunted Dez's development, and didn't give Mike Woicik a chance to help Dez with his conditioning, which Dez admits was a problem for him last year. Dez does NOT need to be the "#1 guy" for Tony Romo, whatever that means. If anything Witten will still be Romo's go-to-guy, despite getting up there in age.
Warren Sapp actually makes a valid point in the above video. You are not anointed the #1, you have to make yourself the #1. I love Dez, he is my favorite current player because of his energy and love for the game, and I hope that he can put his doubters to rest this season. If for no other reason than I don't feel like I have to defend him whenever I hear that kind of B.S. coming from "analysts" although admittedly O'Hara was just a guest analyst.
This started off as a FanShot but I ended up writing way more than I thought I would, so I thought it might be more appropriate as a FanPost (I know there's a big distinction, and if I'm wrong and this needs to be a FanShot, I apologize. The FanPost writers are incredible and I hate to bump anyone's work down, but given the lack of news during the offseason, I figure everyone's seen most of the FanPosts already up.) I hope you enjoyed my first FanPost, and please leave me feedback in the comments below, I'd love to join the ranks of the fabulous FanPosters but I feel like I don't quite have what it takes to be on the level of some of the regular posters, so any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Oh, and I almost forgot,