Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: Superb Film Study of Barry Church's "Almost Pick"

This week's top FanPost takes a microscope to a big play nearly made by Dallas safety Barry Church

After a long hiatus, we resume the much ballyhooed FanPost of the Week awards, given by yours truly in recognition of outstanding work by out members on the FanPost pages. Since the last time we summoned several BTBers to the podium, much has transpired - training camp, an entire preseason, injury worries, O-line concerns, and, of course, a rousing week one victory on the road over a division opponent. Accordingly, the FanPost pages have been chock full of terrific content that has engaged with these and other narratives with insight, passion, and wit. Sadly, there is no way to go that far back into the archives in order to praise a gallery of deserving worthies. Instead, we will have to make this a true FPOTW, and reserve distinction for FPs that have graced our pages in the last seven days.

Before we move on, I'd like to direct your attention to a couple of posts that demand honorable mention. Given that its Seahawks week, its quite fitting that we have seen a pair of posts that present clear-eyed arguments in favor of what we have known for some time now, but that continued to elude the national media: despite what happened in the 2006 playoffs in Seattle, Tony Romo is no choker. Indeed, if we look at quarterback performance in a variety of "clutch" situations - in the fourth quarter generally, at the end of close games, in overtime, in December, in the playoffs, Romo's stats place him among the best ever to play the game. In one of his multiple posts in the past week, Scrimshaw! notes that, on opening weekend, other quarterbacks, even the (gasp!) supposed "elite," sometimes fail when it counts. Not to be outdone, Jordan Sams debunks several chapters of the popular Romo mythology, adding compelling evidence of number 9's "clutchness." Best of all, he concludes with one of the clearest and most succinct assessments of Romo's situation I've yet read:

Don't let the mainstream media, or the casual fan brainwash you. It's not Tony Romo's fault Terrence Newman is a human hurdle. It's not Tony Romo's fault Jason Garrett iced his own kicker. It's not Tony Romo's fault JPP blocked a field goal. It's not Tony Romo's fault the Cowboys gave up back-to-back 80 yard runs. Tony Romo has never been the problem.

I know, I know, the man is preaching to the choir here. If only Romo-hatin' Marshall Faulk would read Jordan's F-Post. Heck, if only Faulk actually watched the games...

Want to know who takes home this week's laurels? Make the jump...

In recent seasons, I have lauded Rhodri2112 for the cleverness of his (sadly, not frequent enough) "12-Pack" posts, in which, in lieu of gameballs, he doles out appropriately titled microbrews. Rhodri is not only a funny and clever writer, but a true connoisseur of our favorite hoppy beverage, with a vast compendium of curiously-titled local brews at his disposal. This week, after too long away, returns in excellent fashion, serving up a 12-pack of ice cold awards. A couple of my favorites included giving Tony Romo a Marshal Zhukov Imperial Stout for "that display of generalship" and the Half-Acre (Chicago, IL) Invisible Force Brown Ale he hands to Anthony Spencer for his high-impact, low-stats game. Welcome back, Rhodri; we've been thirsty in your absence!

Next up, we have one of my favorite BTBers (which is saying a lot, given how much I like this community), Kegbearer. Keg is a former front page scribe; although he had to step down, he continues to churn out front page-worthy material on a regular basis - stuff packed with astute analysis and deep knowledge of the nuances of this game we all love. This time around, he eschews the "Xs and Os" (one of his specialties) in favor of a more philosophical take (Keg is Greek, and the Greeks invented philosophy, so its certainly his prerogative). Herein, Keg ruminates upon and establishes connections between Jason Garrett's emphasis on "process" and the way the Cowboys handled themselves in the second half last Wednesday.

I'm a self-proclaimed Red-headed Kool-Aid drinker, so perhaps it is just me, but when Keg wrote...

We have been seeing signs for almost two years now. Jason Garrett has clearly been changing the culture of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been implementing his philosophy to coaching, practicing, acquisitioning players, and the opening game of 2012 was a clear sign that this team is officially the Red Headed Genius'. He has filled it with the right kind of guys that go about things the right king of way. And the lesson every fan should take away from the season opening victory against the hated Giants is that Jason Garrett's 2012 Cowboys are now the right kind of team.

...I found myself thumping the table and shouting "preach, brother." Hey, I invite all of you to join me in the front row for all of Keg's football sermons.

Speaking of thumping the table, this week's winner was so good that my kitchen table now has a palm-sized dent in it. What generated this kind of response? A post, by first time FanPoster Jericho Slim. The humble Slim opens his winning FP by noting that "This is my first post. I am not a football expert, just a rabid fan. Please feel free to correct if you think my analysis is in error. I'm here to learn"...and then proceeds to school all of us on how to write an analytic Xs and Os post. In it, Slim breaks down one third-quarter play in the Giants game, the first play of New York's initial second half drive, an Eli Manning pass that was nearly picked off by Barry Church.

Slim breaks it down superbly, using a lot of All-22 stills (I'm still beaming about the fact that these are available) and going through the play step-by-step. At each juncture, his explanation of what the Dallas defense is doing and speculations about what Manning is seeing are superb. To top it all off, Slim adds professional graphics that clarify his commentary. I wish other amateur analysts were able to move past the fingertip-drawn squiggles that are designed to indicate a route (I'm talking to you, Jimmy K.) and into the future. Slim: maybe you can give them some pointers.

Every once in a while, a rookie steps onto the big stage in week one and rocks it without so much as a blink or a flinch. Last year, it was Cam Newton passing for 422 yards and 2 TDs against Arizona. In 2012, it's Slim, who not only takes home FPOTW honors with his very first post but sets a new bar for a specific FanPost genre, the post-game Xs and Os analysis. Clearly the lights aren't too bright for you, son. So, keep posting. We'll all be better off as a result.

Congrats to Slim and to all the rest of this week's honorees. Keep churning out great content, y'all. I loved reading every word.

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