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Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: Explaining Air Garrett

Late last week, one of our members, Birddog26, penned a quick FanPost in which he gave a shout-out to all the other folks on BTB who have been churning our great FanPost material, telling them to "keep it up and step it up." To my mind, this post couldn't have come at a more opportune time. In the last two weeks since I last doled out FanPost of the Week awards, we have been inundated with a bevy of superb FPs, so much so that it makes me wonder whether we need to go back to bestowing FPOTW honors once weekly. In a word, guys, your contributions in the past fortnight have been awesome.

And I'm not just talking quantity here. The quality of posts has my head spinning: how the heck am I, your intrepid FanPost judge, supposed to distinguish one of these efforts when almost every FanPost I read was terrific, with the great majority displaying an intelligent take, some juicy analysis or a bit of statistical derring-do? The task was so daunting that I nearly ran and hid. You'll be pleased to know that, after summoning heretofore unknown reserves of courage, I have read every word, made some excruciatingly difficult decisions, polished up a few "Rabbies," and am ready to recognize some FanPost greatness.

This week, we go with the standard two honorees and one winner (albeit with a twist). Before we begin, however, I must mention some of the posters who ended up on the short list; almost every one of these would have received big-time recognition in a week less saturated by straight-up excellence. As always, ChiaCrack was a major contributor; this week, he gifted us with two original "Crack Hits" pieces, bringing the total to 16. Also, I'd like to give some love to a FanPost virgin, tmacie86, who gave us a great first effort, offering 11 reasons the Cowboys will go 11-5 or better. As birddog says, "keep it up and step it up," son.

More FPOTW goodness after the jump...

On to this week's awards. One of the FanPost storylines this week has to be the way Pineywoods has absolutely blown up the Interwebs. In the past two weeks, Piney has authored no fewer than eight high-quality FPs (that's eight, people!). There were all terrific: smart, well-reasoned, and engaging. Picking a favorite form among them is like choosing a favorite child, but three did stand out. I was drawn to his ruminations on the Cowboys leadership, on the 4th (Jason Garrett=Patton) and the 5th (Jerry Jones should=FDR), as well as a shrewd set of speculations about what to expect once the lockout ends. One of these got me all fired up:

I suspect this team is going to get mean. I don't think they are going to talk about it much, but I think the play on the field is going to be nastier than we have seen from the 'boys in a while. This will be a confluence of the anger felt by the players over last season, the hunger to prove themselves, Garrett's concept of the Cowboy Way, and Ryan's approach to defense.

For the rest, and to read Piney's recent work, go here (warning: you may need to call in sick from work to get through all of them!). My favorite quip of his: lockout=zombie apocalypse. Sure feels like it.

Piney's recommendation for this week's FPOTW award is a much-loved entry (at the time of writing, it had tallied a staggering 282 comments and 15 recs): 5Blings epic heart-warmer, "Putting the Worst Behind Them." In it, he tells the story of a little girl and her family who persevered through some real hardship and came out the other end hardier and closer together. How does this pertain to the Cowboys? I'll let Blings explain:

Garrett needs to force these young men, through the creation of a new kind of Cowboys culture, to work harder than they have ever worked and to endure some pain together. Just like the little girl's family learned to endure hardship together and in the same way the 90's Cowboys learned to make individual sacrifices for the good of the team, I won't care about the outcomes of games as much if I know the team is leaving it on the field every Sunday because they have the right approach. For me, that's the first step towards greatness.

Hold on for a minute while I dry my eyes. Its, erm...cough...allergies. Yeah, that's it.

Now that I've regained my composure, I'm ready to announce this week's Big Kahuna. Before I do, I'd like to point out two recurring themes running through recent FanPosts: a conversation about Tashard Choice--"why don't they start him?"--and another about the the roots of Jason Garrett's offense in the Don Coryell's Chargers system. To my mind, the strongest contribution to both of these threads was made by CotySaxman. After Chris Miller's FP wondering why the nearsighted Cowboys's brass don't start Choice, Coty offered a compelling set of reasons why TC's been relegated to the bench. The stats he presents confirmed what I had suspected: Choice has some holes in his game that don't mesh well with JG's offensive philosophy.

As I mentioned, we've seen several terrific FPs on "Air Garrett" in the past week. IamIronman!! led off with a superb comparison post, replete with fancy schematic images. This laid the groundwork for a follow-up post by Chia, who dropped some solid historical knowledge, tracing out the lineage from Coryell to Garrett. Both of these were topped by Coty's addition, a veritable coaching clinic on the nuances of Garrett's scheme. He breaks down what kind of athletes Garrett looks for at each position, and shares some helpful graphics that show different route combinations. Coty knows his football; I learned something from each of his posts--which doesn't happen every day!

As a kid growing up in San Diego, I saw Coryell's offenses close-up, first at San Diego State and then with the Chargers. With the stable of receivers and multi-purpose backs the Cowboys have acquired (not to mention, their all-world tight end), the Cowboys personnel is starting to resemble that of those great San DIego teams. Lets just hope our defense is better!

I'm gonna sweep aside the nostalgia for a moment to congratulate Coty on his first "Rabbie." As you accept the award, allow me to echo birddog's sage advice: "keep it up and step it up." A nation of Cowboys fans needs you, man.

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