I've had my problems with Jean-Jacques Taylor in the past. The DMN veteran is a good writer and offers good analysis. But he can be quite nasty when the times are lean. He was the first to kick the 'Boys when we were down and rub salt in the wounds. His defense was always "I get paid to offer sound analysis, not to be a fan." Fine. I get that. But you don't have to go out of your way to reiterate that.
That being said, JJT was on fire today. First of all, he predicts this to be the last season for Wade Phillips. Even if he wins Coach of the Year and the Super Bowl? Yep.
This is not a make-or-break season for coach Wade Phillips, though I happen to think it's his last season.
He'll either take this team loaded with talent and win the Super Bow and ride off into the sunset afterward. Or the Cowboys will fall short of their goal, and Jerry Jones will give him a golden parachute to leave so he can promote Jason Garrett.
Then Taylor answers questions from readers with his usual no-nonsense style. He says we should avoid Byron Leftwich but take a good look at Daunte Culpepper. He stands by his early assessment that Patrick Crayton is the most complete receiver on the roster. Then he weighs in on Tony Romo and his status in the league. He gives a pretty good argument for Antonio.
Q: You had Tony Romo the third-ranked QB in the league. While I am a die-hard fan, how can you take a guy who has single-handedly cost his team a playoff victory and then played terrible in the playoffs in the following year as the third-best QB? I think at this point you would have to rank Philip Rivers and definitely Eli Manning over Romo, wouldn't you?
TAYLOR: I didn't rank the quarterbacks according to Super Bowl rings or playoff appearances last week. I ranked them according to who I would draft if I were starting a team. Based on that, I would take Romo third because I admire his competitiveness, athleticism, accuracy and big-play ability. Yes, he still forces the ball in too many tight places and he has yet to win a playoff game, but he's only been a full-time starter for one season. I would expect him to continue to improve. That's why I would take him over Manning or Rivers, if I were starting a team.
Hattip for Bigrigga31 for his fanpost on our search for a backup QB.
I think Bill Walton is the standard-bearer when it comes to hyperbole. I've heard him use the phrase "greatest in the history of the league" countless times about countless people in countless situations.
Jerry Jones is certainly not as laughable as Walton but he can get excited and say things that just don't make sense (like curving bullets). I'm sure the transcripts of him discussing the Ryan Leaf and Chad Hutchinson acquisitions are filled with unwarranted optimism.
Well, Jerry just told the Star-Telegram that this coaching staff is the best coaching staff he's ever been associated with. Better than Jimmy the Hair, Butch Davis and Dave Wannstedt? Better than Duane Charles and Sean Payton? Jerry qualifies the statement a little bit but ultimately says yes.
Don't know about that. But I'd loved to be proven wrong.
Jerry also gives props to Zach Thomas and Tank Johnson.
What newcomer do you think will have the biggest impact on the team? [Linebacker] Zach Thomas because of his knowledge and how he plays the game. He will make a significant impact. Zach has a chance a chance to be our best acquistion. I liked Akin [Ayodele]. But he was in position to do a lot of things but didn't always tackle the ball. Thomas gets the ball carrier.
Who will be the team's most improved player? [Nose tackle] Tank Johnson. He is quick and strong. Now I want to see that carry through. But it would allow us to do some good things if Tank is everything he has shown in the off-season.
In other sad news, Bob Ackles, a former 'Boys executive, passed away.
I applaud all of you out there who see cable for exactly what it is -- a luxury. Unfortunately, I lean more to the necessity side. But I've always been divided on movie channels like HBO and Showtime.
I currently don't have HBO. But with the Cowboys scheduled to be profiled on "Hard Knocks" I'm seriously considering getting it. Now I'm considering Showtime.
"Inside the NFL" which moved from HBO to Showtime apparently dropped Bob Costas and added James Brown. Phil Simms and Cris Collingsworth will also join Brown.
I love J.B. Anybody that used to watch the Fox NFL Sunday coverage with Brown, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw knows how much fun it used to be. Bob Costas is the opposite. He seems to suck the fun out of a room by just walking in it.
I also have selfish reason to applaud this move. Collingsworth and Costas hate guys like Tank Johnson, T.O. and the athlete formerly known as Pacman Jones. Paired together they would've sent a mountain of vitrol towards the Cowboys regularly for its decision to trade for Jones. Brown is more evenhanded. He's a proper counterbalance. I'm excited about the decision.
Now my damn cable bill is going to increase even more.
Deion gives his take on our upcoming season, Romo and the Cleveland Browns, our first opponent of the season.
Mike Jenkins at the 2008 NFL Rookie Symposium. God I love this dude. I have nothing but good vibes about him and our rookie class.
A roundup of magazine predictions has the 'Boys at the dance, just not necessarily winning it. A USA Today article takes a look at who is the Super Bowl favorite. Their conclusion? No one.
Athlon predicts the Cowboys beating the San Diego Chargers; Lindy's predicts the Indianapolis Colts defeating the Cowboys; Pro Football Weekly predicts the Patriots downing the Cowboys, and the Sporting News predicts the Chargers topping the Cowboys.
Somewhere, Giants quarterback Eli Manning is smirking.
Or giving the Manning face, which is like a half-smirk, half-grimace.
Hat tip for scottmaui for his fanpost.