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'Ask BTB' Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Despite his best attempts, Jerry Jones will never be just another face in the crowd.  I wonder if he'll make a BTB profile so he can ask us about the Cowboys?
Despite his best attempts, Jerry Jones will never be just another face in the crowd. I wonder if he'll make a BTB profile so he can ask us about the Cowboys?

[Ed. Note - Dave] Thanks to KD for kicking this series off. I'm sure it will be fodder for much conversation. And the extent that KD went to on the answers, especially looking up a lot of that CBA crap, should be commended. Kudos KD. I jumped in with a couple of answers, but all credit goes to KD. [End Note]

We're kicking off the inaugural edition of Ask BTB, where we field questions from our members and site lurkers in the interest of keeping all of us better informed. I'm excited to bring this new series for several reasons. One, I love to give my opinions and two, I love the BTB community. You guys constantly challenge us to think outside the box and be unique in our coverage. I'll be pulling in our esteemed panel of experts whenever possible, and as this evolves I envision being able to provide you with panel discussions on some of the hotter topics. As this is the first edition, I will set some ground rules.

I know some readers are meat and potatoes only. By that I mean, you don't want anything but pure football news, straight-up and straight-forward. When we are covering news subjects and events, you will definitely get that, unequivocally. But here with Ask BTB (and with the community exercises as I'm sure you noted), I'm going to be taken a bit more lighthearted approach. Serious questions will get serious answers, obviously, but we will also keep the mood pretty upbeat.

I will try my best to respond to everyone's submitted question, even if it doesn't make it into the column. That might be a bit of a pipe dream, as I was highly impressed and surprised at the number of submissions we received after the announcement post. I shouldn't be shocked, as you guys love to talk football. Keep the questions coming as always, we appreciate all that YOU do for the BTB community.

Our first question comes from scotscowboysfan:

My questions are as follows,when does the (lockout) legal process begin? How does this affect our Cowboys going forward?

Follow the jump for the response and a few more questions.

My man Davie! Thanks for being the first to submit a question.

As you may be aware, the legal process really begins April 6th, when the 8th US District Court will begin listening to the arguments from each side. There is talk that Judge David Doty will not hear the case, and currently that is correct. However, once April 6th hits, either side can try and relate their current case to a previous ruling, which the players are probably going to do. Once that is done, the case could go back to Doty's docket.

The crux of the argument is that the players feel that the NFL operates as a monopoly and restricts their rights to market their services to the highest bidder. The ruling could do anything from forcing the league to keep games scheduled under the uncapped year or back to the negotiation table. The court case could proceed while the games are being played, so a resolution to get the games back (what the fans want) could coincide with a ruling that changes the landscape of professional football moving forward.

The Cowboys are affected just like every other team. They are not allowed to have any interaction with the players. Fortunately, we've seen the reports that Dallas did a good job getting the defensive players familiar with the system of new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Tony Romo is completely healthy, and has said he will host workouts for players. The extent of which isn't known, and a comparison to the work other teams are putting in is a variable as well. The issue of when free agency can begin impacts all teams equally, as normal off season strategies go out the window if free agency won't start until after the draft. Where as teams would formally draft to plug holes not filled with veterans, the reverse will now be the protocol.

One important note. The last time that there was a work stoppage (1987), the team that was most renown for staying together during the stoppage and going all out? The Washington Redskins. They ended up winning the SuperBowl that year. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.


From Fergie3108:

Hi guys,
First, I'd like to start off by saying thank you for running my favorite blog on the internet! BtB has become my go-to site for Cowboys news and info. Now on to my question. I'd just like to know which new coach will have the larger impact on our 'Boys this year: Jimmy Robinson with the Wide Receivers or Mike Woicik as the Strength and Conditioning coach? While Robinson works more directly with the offense, Woicik will be taking care of the conditioning of the entire team. In my opinion, both were great hires and will contribute greatly to this team. Thanks!

And we thank you for coming to us first! To answer this question, you have to have a perspective on what each of the new additions is trying to fix. Robinson has the elite physical specimen to work with in Dez Bryant, and will most likely be judged based on Bryant's development. Dez has all of the physical tools necessary to be the most dynamic threat in the game, IMO. Robinson will have to teach him how to use those skills and how to work to route tree properly. Dez is so strong he will rarely be impeded at the line, but can his hand-fighting technique be maximized to the point where corners play off as a rule? Also, is there anything to Kevin Ogletree, can Robinson get slot receiver production out of him?

Woicik on the other hand, has an entire team to be responsible for. We have to get stronger and in better condition so we don't fold down the stretch. For the last several years we've seen the defense unable to hold teams at the end of games. That has led directly to losses. The mental preparation that goes into training hard translates into the mental fortitude to push through exhaustion on game days. Let's be honest, no one has ever accused the Cowboys of being a mentally strong team. Witness all of the obnoxious concentration penalties we suffer from.

In general, Robinson can make a big impact, but offensive production isn't really the Cowboys problem. So with that mindset, I think Woicik makes a bigger impact, but yes, both are great hires.

[Dave] - I'm with you on this one KD. We should all be excited about the hire of Jimmy Robinson. The guys had nothing but success wherever he's gone. Borrowing from his Wikipedia page, here's a list of some of the talent he's coached. Andre Rison, Michael Haynes and Mike Pritchard in Atlanta; Marvin Harrison in Indy; Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard for the Giants; Joe Horn with the Saints, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings for the Pack. Everywhere he's gone in the NFL, his receivers have had big-time success. Great hire.

But, I think the Cowboys receivers would have success without Robinson and with some other coach. Maybe not as much success, but they would still put up numbers. Mike Woicik will hopefully bring a physicality back to the Cowboys, and a conditioning that will be on par with any in the league. The guy has worked with six Super Bowl winning squads, for two different organizations. That's more than coincidence. He didn't come in when they were already great teams, he helped to build-up those teams. I know it's a position on the coaching staff we don't often discuss, but with a guy who has done the job Woicik has with previous teams, maybe it's time we start. I think he can have a major impact on the Cowboys. [End]


From 4everblue&silver:
First of all I would like to say thank you to BTB for allowing a format for questions to be submitted and discussed as a community. 1) Is the revenue figure of 9 billion dollars a gross or net revenue? 2) Is the 9 billion dollar revenue a result of all income sources (ie; Ticket prices, TV revenue and merchandise)?

4ever, thank you for being a part of the movement! First, the $9 billion being bandied about is the total (gross) revenue that is being dissected. Total revenue was defined in the last CBA under Article XXIV. I could copy/paste the section, but it's more than a couple pages long.

Total Revenue CBA truncated definition: "TR" means the aggregate revenues received... from all sources... derived from... the performance of players in NFL football games.

OK, so what does that mean? Regular season, preseason, postseason gate receipts (net income). Proceeds of Copyright Royalty Tribunal and other broadcasting rights. Concession, parking, PSLs, naming rights, local sponsorship agreements, net consolidated revenue of several NFL entities, stadium lease revenue (when the teams own the stadium and allow other events), etc. etc. What's not included? Money gained by trading a player (cash considerations), revenues from stadium events the team invested in (think the Pacquiao fights), money that would have been collected from marketing spots but used to promote the NFL, complimentary ticket giveaways.

From JimB60:
I wonder what it is that the Prima Donna Players do not understand about economics. For them to be able to pursue a career and display their God given talents, there has to be Teams and these Teams have to be owned by Someone. The Someones are probably the Owners who have the financial abilities to pay for stadiums, advertisements, gear, and employees. The employees are everyone that receives compensation from the Owners, mainly the players.     The players have a finite period of time to be able physically, to perform as prime athletes. The salaries that they receive, in my opinion, is fair compensation for their services. If they would put money away for life after their careers are finished, the worry of a CBA wouldn't be an issue. They don't have the tasks of providing state of the art facilities, insurance, payroll, and etc. The NFPLA needs to ditch D. Smith, shut up whining, and play ball.   15 YARD PENALTY FOR UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT.

Was there a question in there? Just kidding! I think you struck the nail on the head, Jim. Not with your stance, but with this statement: "The salaries that they receive, in my opinion, is fair compensation for their services." That is what I think a lot of people get wrong in this argument. You can be pro-player, or pro-owner, to each his own. I just like the facts to be known.

The argument over whether or not you think the players receive fair compensation isn't relevant to this discussion. The owners are asking the players to save them from themselves. No one forces the owners to sign these enormous contracts. No one forced the owners to sign the last version of the CBA that allocated the percentage of revenue to salary costs. If the league can survive on the next 1500 best players, than why would the owners agree to the contracts in the first place?

The NFL negotiated a bargaining agreement with a union, and has now backed out of the agreement. I don't see how fair compensation trumps those facts in some fans minds. Are you really telling me that you would want an outsider telling you to shut up and take it if your boss came to you and said "I'm capping your income ceiling and you won't be able to come to work or get paid until you agree to the limitation."

The players are whining? I haven't seen that. I've seen players saying 'we want to play under the conditions both sides agreed to a few short years ago. If you want to change the agreement, show us why it needs to be changed.'

I could easily counter with a rant, I think the owners should shut up whining, and make these billions.

[Dave] - I think you can tell that this issue definitely ruffles the feathers of our man KD! The owners may not have to build those stadiums and sign those enormous contracts, but to stay competitive in many respects, they do need to do that. We're spoiled by Jerry Jones, he always opens his wallet for the Cowboys, other owners aren't as generous. They are on a tighter budget, and their fans generally hate them for that. They want their owner to keep up with the Joneses, but economics may not let them. So while they don't have to do some of the things associated with spending the money, there is enormous pressure to do so.

In the end though, the owners did sign the previous CBA - albeit to avoid then exactly what is happening now - and they opted out of the agreement. That could possibly have been worked around, if they would have opened the books to the players. Let's face it, the NFL is unlike most industries. The players have a lot more clout than you or I do at our jobs, they simply can't be replaced and have the industry keep going or grow. So the owners need to provide the financial data if they are going to roll-back or limit the compensation due. [End]

Thanks for taking the time to submit your questions. If we didn't get to ones you've asked, it's only out of a shortness of time and they could still be used in future mailbags. Keep the submissions coming! email KDP10FOR10@GMAIL.COM.

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