Many of us live and die with news on what’s going on with the Cowboys. And, unfortunately as Americas’ team, many stories that are pure conjecture, or slanted against the Cowboys, get much more attention than they deserve and a lot more national attention than if it were any of the other thirty one teams in the NFL.
Salary cap woes? The news that the Cowboys were over the cap by around $20 million was big news and definitely overblown. This happens at the start of every season it seems, and it is eliminated by re-working player contracts every time it does. Yet, every year there is much handwringing as the events of years before are simply forgotten or ignored. The stories raise alarms over what expensive players will have to be cut, etc. And I might add that it’s an issue being faced by many other NFL teams, not just the Cowboys as one might think based on the coverage.
Who will call the plays on offense? A minor detail on how the team chooses to do things that became a big national story. Who cares who is actually calling the plays? That’s not really the issue. Offensive efficiency is the issue. It’s better clock management at the end of the first half and the game. It’s more productivity in the red zone. It’s less penalties by the offensive line along with deciding when to run and when to pass. So, whether Jason Garrett or Bill Callahan call the plays, the issue really is whether coaches are working together to come up with the best plan and sticking with it. And it’s making sure the clock is not an issue. The clock issues can be just as easily resolved by Garrett continuing to call plays and Callahan being responsible for the clock.
Can the Cowboys successfully transition to the 4-3 defense and is Monte Kiffin too old to succeed? Many stories have been written on these questions supporting both sides of the issue. But for some reason it’s not national news that the Philadelphia Eagles are switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense. Does their current roster support this move? No one cares I guess, because it’s sure not getting the ink that the Cowboys plans have gotten. For what it’s worth, I think the Cowboys will excel in the 4-3 and I think they are better suited for it than the 3-4.
So, on the issue of Kiffin’s age, he is not the first and won’t be the last defensive coordinator in his seventies still coaching in the NFL. Yet his age seems to be a bigger issue than that of Dick LeBeau, the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers that is well into his seventies. Besides that, I look at the combination of Kiffin and former head coach and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Marinelli will have a major influence on this defense and will be ready to step in at a moments’ notice to run the defense. You don’t read about that much though do you?
Who should be the Cowboys first draft pick? Once again there are many opinions on this and past draft failures by the Cowboys gets a lot of attention. But what you don’t read about is that the Cowboys have been pretty successful in the draft the past few years, not to mention their success with finding and signing good players that weren’t drafted. As they have done the last few years, the Cowboys just need to pick the best player available when it’s their turn. Even if they ended up with a player that doesn’t fit a position of need, they can always trade the odd man out at that particular position. The great thing though about this years’ draft is that there are a lot of players available that fit the Cowboys positions of need.
Can the Cowboys win it all with Jerry Jones as the GM? Well, they did before. Of course I don’t live in a vacuum, so I realize the Jimmy Johnson gets most of the credit for what happened during that era. But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys can’t win it all again with Jerry as the GM. From what I have seen, Jerry has learned from his mistakes. We are seeing him listen to the scouting department and the coaches on draft selections. That’s why they have been more successful in the draft the past few years. We are seeing Jerry delegate more as Stephen Jones becomes more involved in managing the team and that appears to be a good thing.
If you are a big Cowboys fan, keep reading everything written about them. Just be sure to take it with a grain of salt.