I almost decided not to post this USA Today article, because the Tony Romo vs. Brady Quinn debate probably has run its course, at least for right now. I’m sure it will come up again once we get a look at Romo and Quinn during the upcoming season. In fact, it will be resurrected every year for a while until one or the other make the argument moot by doing something great, or by failing. But since I posted my own thoughts that it was fair for the Cowboys to pass on Quinn, I’ll let the other side have its say.
But that doesn't erase the questions surrounding the decisions with Romo and Quinn.
Quinn was ranked No. 8 on the Cowboys' draft board. They could have gotten him with the 22nd pick. In others words, they could have gotten a franchise caliber quarterback at a bargain. That won't happen next year, when the risk and the price of a franchise quarterback goes way up. The Cowboys say they didn't want to stunt Romo's growth or ruin his confidence.
It says here that you can never have too many quarterbacks. And it says here that in Dallas, you can't just be a good quarterback — you have to be a special quarterback in the line of a Roger Staubach and a Troy Aikman. Ask Danny White. The Cowboys don't know if Romo is going to be Aikman or White or maybe a Gary Hogeboom.
They owe it to themselves to find the best quarterback for the team. And if that meant drafting Quinn they should have done it. If Romo couldn't handle the competition or if he wasn't mentally tough enough then he would have never made it as the Cowboys' quarterback anyway.
JJT has a team report up at The Sporting News. For some reason he gives a scouting report on Aaron Glenn, as if anybody who follows the Cowboys doesn’t know what Aaron Glenn is all about. I mean, Glenn’s been in the league for over 200 years now, there’s not much new you can say about the guy. JJT also won’t give up the ghost on his "T.O. doesn’t know the playbook" story, and tells us that the Cowboys are working extra hard this year to get T.O. familiar with the offense.
Blah, those two parts of the story are very boring. But it gets a little more interesting when discussing Greg Ellis and the defensive tackle position. JJT on Greg Ellis:
Coach Wade Phillips insists the Cowboys didn't draft Anthony Spencer to replace current outside linebacker Greg Ellis, but it does appear they're preparing to eventually replace him. The Cowboys say Ellis, coming off a ruptured Achilles' tendon he suffered last October, will remain the starter with Spencer used as a situational pass rusher. Frankly, there's no way they could possibly commit to Ellis as a starter until they see him on the field and see how his body responds to a serious injury. They considered trading him last year before moving him from defensive end to linebacker, but opted to keep him. The prudent move would seem to be keeping him on the roster again this year because he's scheduled to make only $2.5 million, a bargain in today's NFL. Besides, he remains the second best pass rusher on the team, a leader and one of the few proven playmakers on the defense. . . .
That’s actually a good point, Ellis does come cheap, but only if he can handle the job. Once the Cowboys see Ellis in training camp, they’ve got to make an evaluation on how healthy he is and decide how much he can help this year and in what situations. For me, this is still a very fluid situation and is not at all settled.
Over at defensive tackle, JJT basically echoes what Jeff Ireland told us earlier this week.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES ANALYSIS: B- Jason Ferguson did a solid job at nose tackle last year, demanding a double-team and anchoring the middle of the line so the linebackers could flow to the ball and make tackles. But he's getting older at one of the game's toughest positions, so the Cowboys must establish more depth. Jay Ratliff is a high energy player who prefers defensive end, but he has become a solid backup at nose tackle. He doesn't have the girth or lower body strength of Ferguson, but he's quicker and never quits on a play. Montavious Stanley, a sixth-round pick last year who was released in training camp, returned late in the season after being cut by Jacksonville. He's a project who must show improvement to make the team.
JJT doesn’t mention Stephen Bowen, who Jeff Ireland has mentioned a couple of times this week. Bowen didn’t play NT last year in Parcells' scheme, so they must think physically he’s the kind of guy who might fit in the Phillips 34. Bowen is listed at 6-5 and 300 lbs., not exactly the big space-eater that we usually associate with the NT in a 3-4. But watching Bowen last year in training camp you could see that he had some quickness for that size and was pretty good about attacking the line of scrimmage. The same thing goes for Jay Ratliff (6-4, 305) who was very active in camp last year and has a very high motor. UDFA Ola Dangduro, who Ireland is also very high on, is 6-2 and around 300 lbs. It’s becoming very obvious that we need to reconstruct our notions of a NT in the Phillips 34. The one-gap scheme opens the position up to lighter players, who rely on quickness and penetration.