There will be plenty of meetings and evaluations going on at Valley Ranch over the course of the next several days. Here are the top five conversations that absolutely need to be a part of those meetings.
Jason Garrett & Derek Dooley to Dez Bryant: Your goal for this off-season is to come back to OTA's as the best route runner in football, from every alignment.
Dez saw a lot of double coverage this year. What's the key to beating those double teams as a WR? Route running. You have to be able to run your routes in a way that allows you to gain separation from defenders. My recommendation, call Larry Fitzgerald and go spend the offseason working out with him. He's one of the best in the game, borderline legendary, and he has a very solid reputation off the field. I can't think of a better situation for the Cowboys to encourage Dez to surround himself with.
Jerry Jones & Jason Garrett to Jason Hatcher: We appreciate your effort and leadership this year. We would love to have you back, but you know the situation we are in from a cap standpoint. We wish you the best, and if you don't have the kind of luck on the market you wish for, come let us know.
The Cowboys simply can't afford to pay top dollar for any players over 30, and in spite of his 11 sacks, Jason Hatcher is no exception. First impression says that the market will be strong for Hatcher following his strong season, however, as teams emphasize youth and draft picks, you never know how the league will value one year of production from an aging player. If I'm the Cowboys front office, I put a smallish offer on the table and let him know it will be there if the market doesn't give him enough money to justify uprooting his family from Dallas.
Jason Garrett to Mike Woicik: I understand your track record, and the number of Super Bowls you have been a part of, but this is a different league and the rules have changed the strength and conditioning game, and you just haven't done good enough. Your time with the Dallas Cowboys is over.
When you think about the number of injuries this team has endured since 2011, the hamstring epidemic that runs rampant through Valley Ranch on a yearly basis, and the number of players on IR or missing multiple games due to varying injuries, and then look at the division champion Eagles and the dearth of injuries with only one of those being of any consequence, Jeremy Maclin who tore his ACL in camp, you have to wonder what is different. Then when you read about the dedication that Chip Kelly has to nutrition, as well as strength and conditioning, you have to wonder if there is something more than a coincidence. Chip Kelly's MO is that he doesn't ever accept conventional wisdom and questions every aspect of the process. It's time for Dallas to take that approach and bring in a new perspective to the S&C department.
Jason Garrett to Jerry & Stephen Jones: I understand 2014 is the last year of my contract, and that we haven't had the level of success we all want, let me go out and get some assistants that can help.
I strongly believe that there will be a new offensive and defensive coordinator in Dallas next year. I have no problem with the systems, or philosophical approaches to the offensive or defensive sides of the ball, but I think it is time for some fresh perspective. This Cowboys' coaching staff is extremely old school, and it is time for new voices. I understand that the offense will always be Garrett's offense, but you need a guy in those meetings that will provide fresh perspective. They need someone who can sit in the meeting room and give different ideas for the schematic nuances that can make all the difference on both sides.
Garrett, Jones & Jones to Rod Marinelli: Please stay in Dallas and coach our defense, we will get you the rushmen you need to be successful.
We have seen in various games how effective this defense can be when they are able to affect the quarterback, and if I can get Rod Marinelli to stay, I'm confident I can take the approach brought up by my buddy Keith Mullins (@keithdueces on twitter), and get a bunch of 22-25 year old athletic freaks, point them at the QB and say GO! And have a chance on defense. Marinelli will give them the moves and strategies to put the tools in their toolkits to overwhelm blockers, and break down protections.
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