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Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: Metagame

Apologies to all of the assembled hordes who were waiting breathlessly for BTB's weekly FanPost of the week column (and I know you were!); I'm a day late, I'll try not to be a dollar short. Now, on to business: with the flurry surrounding the dismissal of Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett's elevation to head coach--which has resulted in an explosion of front page news and traffic--it had been easy to overlook the excellent work our members have been putting into their FanPosts. But not yours truly; no, ol' rabble has been putting in overtime reading and relishing every FanPost morsel, and once again would like to share with you some posts of distinction.

As per usual, there are several posts that merited serious consideration. I would be remiss not to mention--once again--the consistently outstanding work of our own Fan in Thick and Thin. In the past seven days, Thick has authored three outstanding offerings (the second can be found here; the third is here), in which he has discussed a dizzying array of topics. Thick drops knowledge about the relative merits of a having a good running or a good passing game on both sides of the ball (he shows that a good passing game is far more important); takes a look at the precipitous decline of the Dallas pass defense; examines the effect of Romo's injury on the Cowboys' win-loss record (if the pass defense doesn't improve, the effect will be nil); and waxes eloquent about dropped balls and cover corners. As I've mentioned in the past, it would be easy to make this weekly column Thick's personal parking spot.

But I want to bring your attention to the wide scope of intelligent and engaged FPs adorning our site. As it did last week, FPOTW is featuring a first-time poster. I'd like to introduce you all to yimyammer, who loses his FanPost cherry with a fascinating post on metagame. Metagame is a concept derived from poker playing; Yim offers the following boiled-down definition: making a slightly unprofitable play in order to maximize profits on future plays. After introducing the term, Yim immediately pursues a football application. While metagame can be used as an in-game, on-the-field strategy, Yim argues, it can be most usefully applied as an organizational philosophy.

To substantiate this, Yim looks at two instances wherein a head coach cut a player in order to send a message to his team: Bill Belichick's cutting of Lawyer Milloy at the beginning of the 2002 season and Jimmy Johnson's axing of Curvin Richards as the 1992 'Boys were gearing up for their Super Bowl run. In both instances, the cutting of a talented player (Milloy was, of course, a much better player than Richards) told the remaining players that their roster spots weren't secure, that team mattered more than raw talent, etc.

Yim suggests that such messages were sorely needed by this current iteration of the Cowboys (the roster had been constructed without metagame being a consideration, Yim opines) and that the firing of Wade Phillips might be the opening salvo in a metagame-inspired overhaul of the current Cowboys roster. Go here for the rest of the post--if for no other reason than the opportunity to read a section from the gospel of Saint Jimmy (the cutting of Curvin). Jason Garrett joined the Cowboys in 1993, Johnson's final year. In that time, he managed to soak up some of the master psychologist's teachings. Let's hope that one of them was Jimmy's shrewd understanding of the intricacies of metagame.

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