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Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: What Are We Rooting For, Exactly?

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A festive fan cheers for the Cowboys to beat the Giants--or is it for them to secure an optimal draft position?
A festive fan cheers for the Cowboys to beat the Giants--or is it for them to secure an optimal draft position?

In the last two or three weeks, my presence on this here blog has been a bit diminished. In part this is due to my job (I'm a prof, and swamped at the end of semesters), but I still should be able to find the time to squeeze out a few thoughts every now and again, especially considering that my beloved 'Boys have been in the midst of a playoff race for upwards of a month. Yet I haven't done so--and only recently discovered why: there's not much new to say. Somewhere around Thanksgiving, as the Cowboys struggled to beat Miami and then lost to Arizona and New York in consecutive weeks, it became clear to me what this team was and no end result--neither five straight losses to end the season nor an improbably playoff run--were likely to change my fundamental opinion:

Your 2011 Dallas Cowboys: an uneven team with middling talent, in year one of a three-year rebuilding program.

I hesitated to share this and be the onion in a petunia patch, the negative Nellie amidst excited playoff talk. So, as my momma told me, I didn't say anything at all. Now, here we are, with one week to go in the regular season and, for all intents and purposes, the playoffs have commenced. Because of this, I'd expect the FanPost pages would be blowing up with boasts, predictions, direful warnings and astute analysis. In short, the only topic of discussion would be the upcoming "pre-playoff" game at the New Meadowlands.

But there has been a strange dearth of such postings. Instead, the Fanpost pages have been filled largely with admissions of the Cowboys mediocrity, suggestions that they tank the final game in order to secure a better draft slot, and looks forward to positions to target and players Dallas might draft with that improved position. Could it be that Cowboys Nation is feeling the same way that Ol' Rabble is--that we've figured out what this team is, and are ready to move on to year two of the rebuilding program? This week's FPs certainly suggests this to be the case...

Before we get to this week's top FanPosts, I want to point out that there have been a couple of notable examples of Giants week FanBoasting; Rummob's passionate puffed-chest narrative was followed--and perhaps even exceeded--by bloodyhanded's excellent anti-Giants jeremiad. Need to get hyped before the game? Read both of these efforts...you'll wanna run bareheaded through a brick wall.

Back to documenting our collective malaise after the break...

On Christmas morning, BTBer Moontayle left as little something under our trees: a declaration that this team is mediocre and an important reminder that we all knew this going in to the season. Moon offers a succinct, informed review of Dallas' needs and an assessment of Jason Garrett, focusing on his development as a head coach. All of this is good stuff; what I found particularly persuasive were his conclusions, which I feel compelled to quote in full:

In conclusion, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys are exactly what people thought they were going to be. Average. Even if they make the playoffs next week, I can't express confidence that they have what it takes to make it past the divisional round. I just can't. This is a team that needs at least one more draft and free agency to solidify things going forward. More realistically they need two. 2013 is when I think Jason Garrett is going to hit his stride as a head coach and when all the pieces will fall into place. Four years (if you count the last half of 2010, which I do). That's when Sean Peyton put it together and won it all. That's when Mike McCarthy put it together and won it all. If 2011 is the year we hoped for more, and didn't get it, then 2013 is the year of the Cowboys.

I couldn't agree more, nor could i have said it any better myself, Moon. And, as a long-view guy, I appreciate the perspective. Great stuff!

Perhaps because of where the Cowboys are--i.e., rebuilding--many fans find their loyalties divided at present. Cowboys fans face an existential question: is it better to get into the tournament, even if the chances of upending a Green Bay or New Orleans are slim or to obtain the best draft position possible in order to hasten the rebuilding process? I'm not sure where I align myself along this continuum, a position that is shared with Requiem, one of the BTB members whom I most respect. On Tuesday, he offered a FPost that wondered aloud where our rooting interests should lie. Because he's such a reasoned thinker, Req considers both sides of the above-articulated dilemma, suggesting that we should 1) root for the Cowboys and 2) root for the teams that, with wins, give Dallas the best possible draft position. I don't suppose that, like Deion Sanders, we can have both, Req?

Taking a page from Req's book, Lissyyyyy makes a case for option #2. He focuses on cornerback, noting that most top NFL corners are drafted in round one (since 2007, first-round corners have an 81% "hit rate") and that, the higher in the round a team drafts a corner, the higher the chances of success. Thus, he concludes, if Dallas wants to fix its secondary, they need to lose and lose quickly: "If you want the Cowboys to win another Superbowl then you better hope for a Cowboys loss Sunday night." An interesting and controversial take--which is sure to be rewarded by the likes of me!

One reader found Lissyyyyy's plan of action more controversial than interesting. A dude who always offers a fresh perspective, Omar Little, cuts right to the chase, with a post titled "Why Lissyyyyy is wrong." Omar offers an impassioned yet well-reasoned argument against tanking in general and against the Giants in particular. He offers four talking points: 1) "you don't lose to the dirty stinking Giants. Ever."; 2) A team that finished last the year before cannot afford to waste a golden opportunity to establish a winning culture; 3) If they get into the tournament Dallas has a shot at pulling off a "Giants circa 2007" playoff run; 4) the upcoming draft board is devoid of elite talent, and thus the drop-off between, say picks 13 and 20 should be negligible. I'm inclined to agree with points 1 and 2, and to reserve judgment on the last two. Either way, Mr. Little has given us some great stuff...

...and continues to do so. Omar, you see, is also the author of this week's winning post, a superb analysis of college players who we should expect to be available when the Cowboys find themselves on the clock. For each player, he takes a look at the state of the position on the current Cowboys roster, shares some biographical tidbits, and then--most impressively--embeds a series of highlight videos for your delectation.He concludes by saying that he probably be most excited to see 'Bama's Courtney Upshaw or West Virginia's Bruce Irvin become Cowboys. As a guy who has been beating the pass-rush drum for some time now, I'd be inclined to agree--and to add South Carolina's Melvin Ingram to the mix.

Overall, there is a LOT of terrific information here, and I think he nails the guys who we'll be talking about in March and early April as possibilities for the Cowboys. My advice? Bookmark his post, as we'll be returning to it later. In the meantime, put down what you're doing and give Omar and the rest of this week's top posters some richly-deserved love.

Have a happy New Year, all--and go Cowboys!!!

In early January: 2011's FanPoster(s) of the Year.