One of my favorite books as a child was Dr. Seuss' If I Ran the Circus. In it, a boy named Morris McGurk fantasizes about turning an old lot dotted with tin cans and other debris into the world's most amazing circus, aptly named the Circus McGurkus, replete with peculiar animals (a Foon, for example) and other bizarre attractions. Why do I bring this up now? Well, it seems that our favorite offseason sport is to play a similar and equally fantastic game: If I Ran the Cowboys. Indeed, BTB has been blowing up of late with posts outlining draft strategies, free agent targets, and talent acquisition plans that are a combinations of the two.
Some of these are strange and wholly untenable, an NFL Circus McGurkis, if you will. Others were conceived in the clear light of day, and present substantive, realistic and thoughtful strategies for turning the abandoned lot that was the Cowboys 2011 season into something magnificent. This week's salute to our top FanPosters attempts to collect all of these under one tent--a FanPosting bigtop--for your pleasure, amusement and edification. Sooooo..ladies and gentlemen, step right this way; through this door lie Ol' Rabble's bi-weekly collection of FPs from around the globe. No pushing; there's room for everyone...
Before the marquee acts hit the stage, I'd like to acquaint you with some BTBers who, like Morris McGurk, have a clear vision for running the Valley Ranch Circus (insert as many Jerry Jones jokes here as you see fit). AustonianAggie (talk about schizophrenia!) opines that Dallas needs to focus on the O-line if they're gonna catch the Giants; ChiaCrack pronounces Melvin Ingram the cure to the Cowboys pass rush woes; Michael IceBone Sisemore (handle of the year candidate) maintains that his Cowboys need to get more dog in them (or is it Dogg?). VAFan and Conn Cowboy offer free agent wishlists; CowboysFan4Life and PhillipKDick present offseason blueprints for success. I urge you to read all of these; there's a lot of fine thinking in each and every one of them.
The show begins after the jump...
Our opening act comes straight from the Midwest--from Purdue University, to be exact. Yes, ladies and germs, I'm referring to that run-stoppin' renegade, Anthony Spencer. Number 93 has been a hot offseason topic; immediately after week 17's final gun put a merciful end to the 2011 campaign, BTBers began to call for Anthony's head on a platter. After looking at what's available through free agency and the draft, however, a second view has begun to emerge: it might be more difficult to upgrade the position that initially anticipated.
DCBlueStar, perhaps inspired by Kegbearer's terrific post on Spencer, asked "Is he really that bad?," and concluded that "Spencer is better than fans give him credit for, and LOLB is not a position that needs to be immediately addressed." DCBS's take was further substantiated by a guy whose work is now solidly on my list of required reading: ScarletO. S.O. gathers a lot of important material (citing many of my favorite sources: Keg as well as Bryan Broaddus, Bob Sturm and "the Football Show") supporting his assertion that Spencer could be made much better by upgrading the guy(s) he plays next to. I have to admit I began the offseason on the anti-Anthony bandwagon; thanks to all this clearheaded thinking, I have come around. Now, I'd be happy to re-sign him at the right price. Anybody who can convince stubborn Ol' Rabble of anything gets big props. Congrats, fellas!
If you'll direct your attention upward, you'll see one of our posters performing a high-wire act. Look more closely, and you'll see that its our reigning FanPoster of the Year, Chia Crack, performing such spectacular feats of acrobatic derring-do. He's working without a net; its terrifying, yet you can't look away, because he might go ker-splat. Why? Look at his subject: Chia takes on the difficult proposition that is Janoris Jenkins. Like Scarlet O, the estimable Crack gathers some good evidence, which strongly suggests that Dallas is targeting cornerbacks in the draft, and then speculates upon the likelihood that they might pick the ex-Florida Gator with the 14th pick. What makes this so dangerous is that we've been down this road before with terrifying results (anybody care to recall Dwayne Goodrich or Derek Ross?). The Cowboys seem to have cured themselves of their propensity to draft talented knuckleheads. Might they go back to the well at a position of need? Hard to imagine...and hard not to. That's why Chia's working without a net. Nice work, bro--on this and on all the top-shelf draft knowledge you've been churning out recently.
And, now for the big finale. Please focus your attention on the center ring, where this week's headliner can be found, under the white-hot spotlight of FanPost greatness. Actually, we've already seen him earlier in the show--but a man this talented merits more than one appearance. Yes, one and all, its the Columbus Crusher, the man who always dots the "i" in Ohio, none other than ScarletO. His winning post, a look at Dallas' defensive back play in 2011, presents a combination of superb analysis, statistical acumen and graphic excellence (with a tip of the cap to O.C.C., who, as always helped with the technical aspects). I don't want to give too much away, but do feel responsible, largely for thematic reasons, to share the "If I Ran the Cowboys" aspect of Scarlet's post. Extrapolating from his evidence, he concludes:
Drafting an average cornerback to take the place of Newman would actually be a significant upgrade over Terence’s level of performance over the final seven games of the season. From Elam’s grades, it is also easy to surmise that a new safety will be starting in 2012.
I know, not earth-shattering conclusions. Then again, as Jason Garrett is always quick to remind us, this isn't about final product; its about process. And Scarlet's detailed process makes him a FanPost RKG. Have any doubts? Go here, and read.
Okay, all, the show is over. As you make you way to the exits, please join me in a rousing ovation for this week's top acts. Wanna job under Rabble's bigtop? Start cranking out FanPosts!