Talent On Cowboys Is Limited, So Is The 'Fire'

First and foremost, about the 49ers – Giants game and something I wrote last week: 

‘…after I watched Alex Smith’s play against the New Orleans Saints, I might be done laughing.  It’s like the Wizard of Oz (in this case, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) gave the Cowardly Lion (yes, Alex Smith) the courage he’d been missing the last 6 years.  A first round QB with confidence and courage befitting the first over all pick and a hard hitting (they punctured Romo’s lung) aggressive Defense and we better all watch out for Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers!’

Boy, was I wrong! - Not about the 49ers D, but the same old Alex Smith came back with a vengeance!  In the Giants case, I was right about what happens when a team gets on a roll Much to my annoyance, Eli Manning (not Alex Smith) played.. well.. with courage and confidence befitting the first over all pick Now the insult to injury of watching Eli play in his second Superbowl before Tony Romo plays in one. 

Now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about the Cowboys again.

The talent on the Dallas Cowboys is limited.  We know this.  But after stabbing myself in the eye… I mean watching Sunday’s Championship games, I also realized – same as last week – that we don’t have many players that have that ‘fire’ that intensity that seems so necessary to play at such a high level.

Let me address the talent first:

After the ‘core’ players – Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Sean Lee – who do we have?  DeMarco Murray?, Dan Bailey?, Mike Jenkins?, Marcus Spears?, Felix Jones?, Laurent Robinson?, Miles Austin?, Doug Free?  Out of these seven, I’ll give you DeMarco Murray, Dan Bailey and a toss up between Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin.  By the numbers, that makes 7 players with sure talent and potentially 3 more – that’s 10.  Now, out of 53 players is less than 20% of the entire Dallas Cowboys roster.  Even worse, only 3 are defensive players, that’s about 1.5% .  Can that be right?  Less than 20% of the Cowboys roster has sure talent and 1.5% of the Cowboys roster has sure defensive talent.  This doesn’t mean we don’t need some of the other 53 players.  For instance, Victor Butler and Sean Lissemore are decent back ups, while Barry Church and Danny McCray are great special teamers and may eventually crack the starting line up… and that’s my point about the talent with these Cowboys.  It seems that every year we have undrafted free agents beating out drafted players and veterans for roster spots.  What does that say about the talent that we drafted? What does that say about the talent that was on the team last year?  Maybe our scouting dept sucks, maybe our position coaches suck too! For sure, something sucks.  That, or my math is way off.

Now about the fire:

In these Championship games, I saw many players, on each team, clenching their fists and yelling and shouting with emotion and intensity.  From Tom Brady to Ray Lewis and from Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis to even Eli Manning (yea, I know), not to mention many who’s names I forgot already.  All this ‘fire’ in these players got me thinking, Do I see this when the Cowboys play?  Well, in some players I do, but not near as many as I’m seeing in these games.  That could very well be the difference.  One of the biggest reasons these four teams were playing while the Dallas Cowboys were doing what I was doing,  sitting on the couch and watching.

So who’s got that ‘fire’ on our Cowboys?  Not every core player, but a few of them.  Jay Ratliff would be the player that stands out the most.  He cries when we lose, shakes his fists and shouts when he wins.  Easily the most intense player on this team.  Besides Jay, on defense, maybe Keith Brooking (and he may not return).  After those two, the ‘fire’ gets harder to see.  On offense, I’d say Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, with Tony Romo just a notch below them.  You all are welcome to give me examples of others on this Cowboys team that have some intensity, maybe I’m forgetting somebody, but I don’t think so.  We’ve had other players that had the fire,  Marc Colombo and Marion Barber III are two that come to mind.  Barber’s was so intense, his fire spread to the rest of the team, but it seemed the fire went out about a year before he did.

Jason Garrett talks about bringing in the right kind of guys.  I hope that includes guys that have that ‘fire’, but I won’t hold my breath.


-I was pleasantly surprised, and a little vindicated, by comments made by Danny White, Trent Dilfer and especially Steve Young and Roger Staubach recently.  The gist of their comments were that Tony Romo is one of the best QB’s in the league, and that he probably would be experiencing more success with a better team around him, particularly the defense.

-I always call Eli Manning and Tony Romo a push, and I still do.  But I have to say that Eli is impressing me.

-When Dallas didn’t make the playoffs, I chose the Saints to go all the way. Then when that didn’t pan out, I said the Ravens and the 49ers would meet in the Superbowl.  You see how that turned out.  What I (and you should) take from this is: Whoever I pick, put your money on the other guy.

-How do I feel about Eli Manning playing for his second Lombardi Trophy, while Romo has yet to play for his first?

-This will be the 4th Superbowl win for either the Giants or the Patriots.  That would put them one behind the Cowboys in Lombardi Trophies.  Just the motivation we need, right?

-I’m encouraged that we have named Callahan Offensive Coordinator, even though it was probably more for contract hierarchy purposes.  Too bad we couldn’t land Sparano, though I heard we could have but that he wanted to call plays.

-Ok, for your consideration,  this week we are going to pretend to trade Jay Ratliff.  I will leave it open to your comments  what we should get for Jay in draft picks and or players.

Artie Cappello

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Tags: AFC Championship Game Alex Smith Baltimore Ravens Cowboys Dallas Dallas Cowboys Danny White Jason Garrett Jason Witten Jay Ratliff Keith Brooking New England Patriots New York Giants NFC Championship Game Roger Staubach San Francisco 49ers Steve Young Tony Romo Trent Dilfer

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