One quarter into the 2012 NFL season it’s time to take another look at the Dallas Cowboys Stock Report. The purpose of this is to update you on the performance of your Dallas Cowboys Stock Portfolio. We will identify and inform you of the Bulls (good stocks on the upswing) and Bears (bad stocks on the downswing). Also to be reviewed on this report are the buy/sell recommendations, the hottest IPO (Rookie and first year stocks), stock to hold, and Blue Chip stocks. After tracking recent trends on the Dallas Cowboy’s Stock Exchange (DCSE), these stocks have stood out after week 4 of the 2012 NFL season:
The Bulls (Hot Stocks Rising in Value)
Sean Lee: Sean Lee is a true leader of industry. He ranked #1 as the NFL’s leading tackler entering week 5. He obviously lost the #1 spot while on the bye week but he should have no problem reclaiming that top spot later in the season. The Sean Lee Corporation specializes in run stopping but has a diverse enough business model to enable some opportunistic pass defense. He is reliable and fundamentally strong in all areas of his game. This is a stock built to last and is an excellent long term investment.
Sean Lissemore: Liss is the second Sean to make the Bull list today. He has been given more opportunities and has taken advantage of them. He is versatile, playing DT in addition to his better-suited DE position. This gave the Cowboys the ability to rest Josh Brent more often since Ratliff has been out all year so far. Ratliff is expected back next week but do not expect it to impact the number of snaps Sean receives. He has proven he deserves the playing time. Sean doesn’t have a sack yet but he is regularly applying pressure and after week 4 ranked third in the league in tackles by a Defensive lineman. That’s especially impressive considering he is rotating positions in a 3-4 defense.
What has this Bull Report taught us? The Dallas Cowboys clearly need to draft more Seans.
The Bears (Cold Stocks Falling in Value)
The Offensive Line: The Offensive Line Industry continues to crash. The Offense has been on the Bear Report since the preseason. Despite recent praise from the coaching staff, their performance has gotten worse. They rank 26 in run blocking while their pass blocking is inflated by Tony Romo’s escapability. Pre-snap penalties are nothing less than irresponsible business management and need to be completely eliminated.
Doug Free has lacked confidence and is a complete liability. He is just entering his athletic prime but appears to be slower than ever before. His false starts are common and his technique is undisciplined. It appears the main issues with Free revolve around his mental make-up. He has the ability it’s just up to him and leadership to get him back on track. Mackensy Bernadeau, Ryan Cook, and Nate Livings are also poor performers often allowing a pass-rush to storm up the middle.
The running game is also suffering. According to Football Outsiders, DeMarco Murray averages only 2.97 yards in the middle gaps and 2.87 to Doug Free’s right tackle side. Tyron Smith (second youngest man in the NFL) is still learning the position but manages to provide Murray 4.94 yards to his left tackle side. Tyron provides the only glimmer of hope on this line. Investors do not see the return of Phil Costa as a “game changer”. A possible boost could be a return of Montrae “the Dutchman” Holland and/or another free agent acquisition. It better happen soon because this complete collapse of the offensive line market is leading to problems in other markets. Tony Romo stocks are plummeting, Murray stock is just trying to tread water, and the Receiving Corp…Well…
Receiving Corps: This is the first time, two entire industries are listed on the Bear Report. The Offensive Line industry and the Wide Receiver industry are both in the red. This group has sky-high potential but is greatly underachieving. Some blame can be considered a residual effect of the poor pass protection but the individuals on the Receiving Corp hold equal blame.
Miles Austin is rarely covered by the defenses number one corner but he still disappears for long periods of time. This could potentially be the biggest mismatch on the field and he has yet to take advantage of it. Dez Bryant is still having problems recognizing the defense and making adjustments to his routes. Dez needs to recognize what Tony recognizes or Tony will lose faith in throwing to him. Dez is typically occupying the defenses top corner but given his superior athleticism and ball skills, he should have no problem beating anyone to the ball. Dez is a huge disappointment thus far and owners are selling his stock fast while they can still get something for it. Kevin Ogletree hasn’t done much since week 1 and no other receiver has even flashed. The tight ends contributed nothing until last week when Witten decided to start “catching” the ball but he will need to continue this performance to impact his value.
Analysts aren’t sure if the receiving corps will ever do anything besides tease investors. If the Offensive line doesn’t improve we may never find out.
Stock to Hold
Tony Romo: Another up and down start to the year for Tony Romo. Much like the Receiving Corp, much of the blame for his performance rests with the Offensive Line industry. It doesn’t take long before an often-hit quarterback starts speeding up his internal clock and dumping the ball before he makes his read. That seems to be happening here. Romo can carry this team to victory but it’s clear he can’t do it every game. The rest of the offense needs to carry their own weight or this is just a 6-10 type team. Investors in Romo stock paid a hefty price and have yet to see returns. Smart money says to hold on and wait to make a decision until more data is collected.
Hottest IPO (Initial Public Offering aka: Rookie/First Year Stock)
Bruce Carter: For the second time this year, Bruce Carter is the hottest IPO. Disclaimer: While Bruce Carter is technically in his 2nd season, the stock analysts viewed last year as a red-shirt year, with 2012 as his first year on the market. Bruce had reasonably high expectations going into the year and he has already exceeded them. It was expected he would be splitting time evenly with veteran Dan Conner. As the season progressed it was clear Bruce was going to be seeing a larger portion than expected. He is younger, stronger, and faster and as his knowledge grows so does his game. It’s ridiculously early to say but Bruce Carter and Sean Lee will soon be Pro Bowlers and be considered one of the best inside linebacking duos in the league. The Dallas Cowboys Inside Linebacker market is primed to explode with profits.
John Phillips: Phillips has had a very limited role so far this season but look for it to increase. In his rare opportunities he has done an adequate job pass and run blocking and has been a reliable target in the passing game. With unexpected trouble coming from the edges this year (Doug Free allowing so much pressure), the TE position is growing in importance. TE is a versatile position used for run blocking, pass blocking, and receiving. Many passing plays use a TE as chip blocker before they begin their pass route. The chip blocks slows the pass rush and allows an offensive tackle to get better position to continue the block. When struggling in the past at the tackle position, Witten has been asked to do this. With Tyron Smith learning on the blind side, and Doug Free struggling on the right side, it would be beneficial to do this more often on both sides with the two TE’s.
Bringing in an extra TE will come at a cost. The offense will need to sacrifice one WR or one RB. As stated earlier, the biggest mismatch on offense is the #2 WR so it would be foolish to remove him from the field. The FB position has yet to make much of an impact and should see a reduction in playing time. Therefore it is safe to assume a shift in the common 21 position group(2 RB’s, 1 TE, 2WR’s) to a 12 position group (1RB, 2TE’s, 2WR’s). Phillips has shown versatility to play H-back, spit out wide, and use motion, which only adds to his possible playing time. His stock is currently in the cellar so it has nowhere to go but up.
Lawrence Vickers: He came to the team with much fanfare but has yet to make his presence felt on the field. Sure he’s made a play here and there but they have been rare and have not seemed to increase DeMarco Murray’s production much at all. The main problem has been the unexpected problems on the right side of the offensive line. Doug Free was supposed to have it locked down but his earnings have bombed this first quarter. Instead of Vickers just running straight ahead and blocking downhill, he’s been forced to split his attention to the edges too. This is not fair to ask of him. As mentioned above, expect to see more 12 personnel packages on the field which means less playing time for Lawrence Vickers.
Blue Chip Stocks
The Blue Chip stocks are stocks who are at the absolute top of their field in performance and earnings. These are stocks you can invest in, depend on, and retire with. They are the reliable moneymakers that can solidify an investor portfolio. Last year the Dallas Cowboys Stock exchange recognized two player stocks who have qualified for this Blue Chip status, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware. Since Jason Witten’s preseason spleen injury and slow recovery, he unfortunately lost his Blue Chip Status leaving Ware as the sole Dallas Cowboy Blue Chipper.