"The look of a champion" is the headline on the front page for Pat Kirwan's NFL.com article on the Dallas Cowboys.
That has a very nice ring to it; more and more I'm seeing articles, radio inteviews and TV spots with people saying Dallas is a serious contender this year. I couldn't agree more. Of course, offseason perception and in-season reality are miles apart. Still, I'd rather have them saying we look good instead of the alternative.
From Kirwan's article, which is a good read so click on over there and read the whole thing.
Here are some of the things that look real good on paper for the Dallas offense right now. As one coach said, "Consider the Kansas City offense has rarely had trouble moving the ball in this personnel grouping with Gonzalez and that they don't have Terrell Owens on the field as one of the wide receivers." Dallas can expect a number of opportunities when the opponent "rolls" the coverage to Owens, something teams rarely do against Kansas City or San Diego wideouts. When they do tilt the coverage to Owens, Drew Bledsoe knows he has Witten or Terry Glenn singled up, and the advantage goes to Dallas. If teams try to play Owens as if he wereEddie Kennison, then Owens wins more often than not. One secondary coach said, "Early in the year, Witten and Glenn may get a lot more opportunities than Owens, but things will shift back to T.O. later on."
As my coaching friend pointed out, "The real winner in the new 'Dallas offense' should be running back Julius Jones. Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Tiki Barber and LaDainian Tomlinson are all great backs, but the running opportunities they get when they set up the offense the right way doesn't hurt their chances. Julius Jones is going to get more rushing plays with a blocker on every defender in the box than he has had in the past."
And, as the coach pointed out, "Bledsoe is the perfect guy to run the show." He will make very good play choices. Do the math! A man and a half on the flexed tight end, Witten, three defenders on Owens and Glenn, and all of a sudden the five Cowboy linemen and Fasano can get everyone blocked for Jones.
You want to get excited, go read the whole article. Kirwan does a nice job of breaking down what running the 2-TE set really means. A great article, and a must-read for Cowboy fans.
But - there's always a but - none of this will matter much if the offensive line can't get people blocked.
Key question: Who will block?
The Cowboys added tackle Jason Fabini and guard Kyle Kosier, but until they see that left tackle Flozell Adams has fully recovered from an ACL tear, the team's offensive line has to be a concern. Dallas is fully stocked at the skill positions, and the defense is stacked with young talent. The fragile line is a potential Achilles' heel.