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4 Point Stance by DubBe: (PT1) Where does it hurt?

Let me tell you what I hate: Pundits that identify problems with the Cowboys but never seem to tell the fans what they would do to fix them. Too many so called experts refuse to stick their necks out, out of fear of critic from peers of ridicule from fans when it fails. It seems vogue these days to just bash the Cowboys or rant on with the outrageous / "blow it up" / "fire Jerry" / "hire a GM" non-sense that we all know will NEVER happen! But when I see a problem, I like to fix it. And a good craftsman first checks the tools in his tool box: Adjust the current Roster, Draft some players, Sign some players and Let Competition Determine the Starters. Using these tools, I’m putting together a FOUR part series to address the primary areas of concern for the 2012 season. --- Let’s look at what we have: DEFENSIVE LINE: Anthony Spencer is gone, deal with it. The lip service coming out of Valley Ranch aside, there is no money left in the salary cap even after a Romo re-structure to sign him. And why would you? Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and potentially Demarco Murrat will all need deals in the next few years and investing $10+ million in a 29 year old Spencer is just not good fiscal policy. Instead, you have to look in house for your starter at LDE. The thinking here is that the brain trust over at the Ranch will give Crawford every chance to win the LDE spot. In fact, when they drafted him out of Boise he was a 285lb DE, who recently told The Mothership over at dallascowboys.com that he was 295lbs last season. Add that to the wisdom from our new DC, Monte Kiffin, to Brandon Carr to look at Seattle’s D, I assuming that this is a good bet. The Seahawks deployed a 300lb LDE in Red Bryant. In another post, on another site, I posted the following when Bryant was a free agent as my reasoning behind signing him: Bryant is an underrated pass rusher who’s just now coming into his own and seems to be the type of low cost FA signing that rewards the team with production. http://www.nfl.com/player/redbryant/200/profile And he produced for Seattle on a line that featured (3) 300lb DL with Clemons/Irvin as the RDE (Elephant). Ware will play the elephant here with the primary rush duties. Ratliff will play the (1) technique. OFFENSIVE LINE: Reading the tea leaves tells me to expect some combination of Doug Free / Jeremy Parnell at RT. Not because they want to but because they have to. At least for this season. The interior of the OL must be addressed. Last season, there was so much pressure in Romo’s face due to lack of OG/OC talent. Reviewing the games from last season and you’ll see that Parnell played with much more power than Free and was less likely to be bull rushed into Romo’s lap. Still, Free did play better once he was forced to step his game up by Garrett rotating Parnell in at RT. Competition will determine the winner and I’ll have more on that later in the series. However, the move of Bernardeau to C is contingent on the draft. Two different paths here: If Dallas select s an OG in one of the 1st 3 rounds then Bernardeau slides to OC to compete with Cook & Kowalski. On the other hand, if the selection is an OC he stays put at ORG. Bernardeau actually was very solid at center in his only chance to play the position. Costa (unrestricted) is likely off the roster and Cook would be the swing OC/OG. SECONDARY: At Free Safety, say goodbye to the bad guy: Gerald Sensabaugh. I think I know, that the Boys expect to see Matt Johnson at least compete for a starting role at FS this season. In fact, Stephen Jones said so, "Safety-wise, the scary part for us is the guys we’d like to think might win the job, i.e. Church and Matt Johnson, never were healthy last year." But that doesn’t mean he mentality is set in stone. Jones then said, "{we’re not going to] Just sit there [and say], ‘We’re going to be fine and we’ll go with those two and hope everything is going to work out.’ That’s probably not what we’re going to do – stand pat there." --- So, where do we go from here: • HIGH ROUND PICK (Rounds 1 – 3); DAY ONE STARTER o DT – There is a need to add a (3) technique to the DL of Crawford, Ratliff and Ware. The Cowboys will invest a high round pick o OL – Either an OG or OC but not an OT. My feeling is that the team is comfortable with Parnell at RT (from last year’s experience) and they believe that Romo can handle outside pressure. Where the team struggled in "A" gap pressure. o S – Sensabaugh is out and Johnson is the live body at the position but that doesn’t rule out a pick in the 3rd or 4th round for starter/depth purposes. One thing to note here is the potential presence of Sterling Moore. As a fill-in last season, he earned the right to challenge in camp. • MID ROUND PICKS (Rounds 4 & 5); CHALLENGE FOR A STARTING POSITION o RB – With Jones not returning and only Dunbar & Tanner signed, this is a position of underrated need. It wouldn’t shock me if the Cowboys invested an early pick here for a potential starter. But, don’t be surprised if Dunbar shows up in camp ay 210lbs+. Think of the way that Dwayne Harris changed his body in the offseason weight program from year 1 to year 2. o OLB – I’m not on board with the JAG (Just A Guy) theory at SLB that the guys over at The Mothership are pumping. Particularly with the depth at OLB in this draft. o WR – Another underrated position of need on the team. Expect the top three guys to be Bryant, Austin and Harris. With the #4 guy coming out of the mix of Beasley, Armstrong and Mitchell (keep an eye on this player) o DE – This is a very deep position in the draft. A player with the potential to challenge for a starting position can be found in the mid-round range. • LATE ROUND PICKS (6 & 7); BACKUP PLAYER / SPECIAL TEAMS o FB – Vickers was 50/50 at best last season. There were times where his contributions we very evident particularly in the short passing game. But his lead blocking and pass blocking left a lot to be desired. o TE – Man, I gotta pat myself on the back for James Hanna. On another blog I had Hanna as a 5th round pick and Big D took him in the 6th. Given his performance late last season, expect Dallas to present a lot of 12 personnel grouping so that he and Witten can threaten the deep seem and presents a mismatch for opposing defenses. Still, there will be a need for a larger blocking type TE (inline TE) to replace what John Phillips brings. In those cases, Hanna would be more of an H-Back in the 13 personnel set. NEXT WEEK: PT2 – NFL MOCK DRAFT

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