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Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: A Herculean Task

Another Wednesday has rolled around, so it's once again time for the weekly foray into the FanPost forest. In the last seven days, BTBers have rolled out a formidable array of F-Posts; the vast majority of these tend to focus upon a topic that is, at present, near and dear to Cowboys fans: what can be done to improve a team that has a lot of apparent holes on its roster? With so many holes, you can imagine all the possible solutions: enough to make Ol' Rabble's graying head spin. One thing I found out this week is that its hard to write posts when one's head is spinning...

Before we get to some of my favorite sets of solutions for what ails out beloved 'Boys, I want to recognize a couple of guys whose FPs offer some important groundwork for the posts to come. The first of these is our resident football ringer, Birddog26 (you may remember his San Antonio training camp reports late last summer). 'Dog is a scout private defensive back coach (did I get that right, BD?), who understands the nuances of scouting. In his post, he shares these with us, his fellow Cowboys fans. As we head into Free Agency and the NFL Draft, we'll hear a lot of scouting lingo. Wanna get clearer on what the Mike Mayocks of the world are talking about? Read Birddog26's fine post. Now.

I think one of the guys we all wish would read 'Dog's post is Jerry Jones, the scouting wannabe who has made a bit of a spectacle of himself this week at the Senior Bowl. First, he held court with local reporters for about 25 minutes and, amidst the almost endless series of hesitations, mid-sentence corrections and non-sequiturs that is his rhetorical style, seemed to suggest that he'd rather have Eli Manning than Tony Romo (he didn't, clear-headed commentators soon affirmed). Then, in an interview on NFL Network, he opined on last year's draft haul. This time around, he actually offered some good info--if his speechification might be parsed. Thankfully, one of our A-list members, Rohpuri, has done just that. He accomplishes the amazing feat of making Jones's rambling read intelligibly. For that, he earns my deepest respect.

Read about this week's top FanPosts after the jump...

All of this week's honored posts follow a similar format: they use material from a non-football field as a platform to discuss the Cowboys' offseason. Frankly, I'm a sucker for this kind of thinking and writing; thankfully, all three posts were superb, so there was a convenient correlation between quality posts and my own predilections. Who are these creative posters? Let's start with this week's honorable mentions:

First up is TheCowboyWay, who authors a terrific post in which he compares player acquisition to building an investment portfolio. Under previous regimes, TCW posits, Dallas "focused too much on the long term, and we were missing out on too many short term 'liquid' opportunities, and our overall 'portfolio' suffered." I don't think he's advocating that the Cowboys immediately sign a bunch of free agents who can play immediately, but that they need to avoid a key mistake from the recent past: they cannot continue to sign declining veterans to big dollar contracts. There's a lot more there; go here to soak it all in. Nice work, TCW!

Next up is a real favorite of mine, Blue Eyed Devil. This time around, he dips into BTB's past to craft a fascinating read. Specifically, he recalls a term first introduced to BTB vernacular by O.C.C., in the weeks leading up to the 2010 season. Since then, I have referred to this in my last two season prediction posts--and Devil has himself turned to this useful term. The theory's central idea is that an organization or operation is only as strong as its weakest link (on the space shuttle Challenger, this was the famed O-ring). BED offers a historical survey of recent O-rings (Alan Ball; the interior of the O-line) and offers the following--and highly compelling--conclusion:

In this era of the NFL the game is about having consistency and depth across the 22 starting positions so that teams cannot find an O-ring to take great advantage of. With talent parity driven by the salary cap and NFL draft a team can't assemble massively more talent that the other 31 in the league. It can't have pro-bowlers at every position. A team that tries to collect the most top-end talent it can will leave itself highly vulnerable in other areas, O-rings. Instead, what a team must do is build its team around sufficiency. It must use its draft picks and money wisely to create a consistency of talent across the field so that no opponent can find an easy mis-match to exploit.

Consider the AFC's representative in the upcoming Super Bowl, the Patriots. One of their draft strategies is to trade down or into the following draft. This not only allows them to acquire more picks, but gives them far more second and third rounders than any other team. What does this accomplish? It optimizes their opportunities to avoid the problematic imbalance and vulnerability to which Devil refers in the above quote. Nice work, BED!

And on to this week's winning FanPost. Please join me in applauding the fine effort of White Wolf, who gives us a superb rumination on the current task (or set of tasks) facing the Cowboys' braintrust. From Wolf's perspective, there is a lot of work to do--so much, in fact, that he compares the job to the Twelve Labors of Hercules (not familiar with these? here's some info on them). After briefly presenting the mythological background, WW enumerates the twelve roster tasks that must be accomplished in the coming months, offers a drafting strategy that best responds to this set of needs (trade down), and then looks at the twelve draft picks, free agents or promotions-from-within that fulfill all twelve labors.

In his fifth labor, Hercules was tasked with cleaning out the Augean stables, which contained and over 1,000 divine cattle (who produced a LOT of cowpies) and had not been cleaned in over 30 years. Hmmm...sounds a lot like what Garrett has to do at Valley Ranch. Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash out the filth; lets hope Garrett has a similar trick up his sleeve.

Everyone: please give Wolf and all of this week's honorees some much-deserved love in the comments section.

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