Todd Archer throws down the gauntlet in filling the void of Cowboys news by starting a series evaluating the Cowboys roster. His focus in the first part is the QB and RB positions. Instead of quoting Archer and then agreeing or disagreeing, I’ll let you guys go read it for yourself. For the most part, I think he’s right on. But I’ll do my own mini-evaluation of the key players at those positions below.
Tony Romo: Ball security. If he gets this down, then his potential is large. Archer correctly points out that Romo can get sloppy while holding the ball in the pocket. He’s got great instincts in avoiding the rush and moving around until he can find a receiver. But sometimes he holds the ball awfully low and it can come out of his hand on its own or get knocked out of his hand. He also threw a few too many INT’s at the end of the year. That’s my number one knock on Romo.
After that, he has all the tools to make it big in the NFL. He just needs to make solid decisions and gauge the difference between making a play, and living to fight another day. He has so much confidence that he thinks he can make any play work, but the great ones soon learn the difference between play-making and turnover-making. If Romo gets there, he should be golden.
Brad Johnson: Let’s face it; if it comes down to playing Brad for an extensive period of time, then I don’t like our chances. If he has to take over for a game or two, then he might be able to keep the ship afloat. He’s a long-toothed vet so he’s seen everything, but with youth comes physical ability, and Johnson is no youth.
The other guys: Wait until training camp.
RB: (here you go Burt-D)
Julius Jones: It’s always the same thing with Julius. He’ll tantalize us with a few sterling games, but he’s never consistent over the course of a season. The Cowboys sound like they are going to work extra-hard at getting him out into space, where his skills are best suited. Through screens, flare passes and draws, the Cowboys will try to capitalize on his ability to make people miss when there is room to maneuver. Plus, it’s a contract year, so maybe we’ll see the best of JJ.
Marion Barber: There’s no secret with MB3, he’s a physical back that is not going to avoid contact. That’s not to say he doesn’t have moves because he can be shifty on occasion, but his bread-and-butter is his ability to get yardage in tight situations. He’s learned to pick his holes and then to hit them quickly and he has an uncanny ability to slip through creases in the line of scrimmage. He’s also an excellent pass receiver and should benefit from the Cowboys new emphasis on running back passes.
Tyson Thompson: A natural speed back, Thompson needs to learn the art of deception and making cuts. He’s a straight-line guy, and that served him well on kick-off returns, but to be a running back you have to make people miss. Nick Eatman has more on Thompson’s recovery from surgery, here.
The other guys: Wait until camp.
Oliver Hoyte: Crushing blocker but hasn’t shown much at any of the other skills you want in a fullback. The Cowboys will be using the fullback in a variety of ways this year, so Hoyte has to catch up fast or he might be back on defense.
Lousaka Polite: He can do all things OK, but isn’t really great at any of them. The kind of guy you want as a backup, not a starter.
Deon Anderson: He sounds like he has the right skill-set but can he do it at the NFL level? We’ll see, but at the very least he should be a boost to our special teams unit, something he excelled at in college.