QUICK OUT: Random Thoughts
By Todd Toombs
No real theme this week – just a couple of random observations for fans of both the Cowboys – still America’s Team no matter what any poll says – and the NFL.
Down to 4 teams now in the chase for the Lombardi Trophy – could anyone have imagined that neither the Saints nor the Packers would be in the NFC Championship game? The Giants are like a bad dream happening all over again – did we hit a wormhole and go back to 2007-2008? Like last time, they seem to be getting healthy and peaking at just the right time. They didn’t get the Packers best effort by any means, but they beat the team that just about everyone already had penciled in for Indianapolis. “Greg”, the resident Giants fan in my office can barely contain himself. Time to work from home…
Although it disappoints me greatly that the Cowboys are nowhere involved, the Saints -49ers game last weekend was maybe the best game I”ve ever watched. Before Drew Brees and the Saints could even start celebrating their last score, Alex Smith (no, that’s not a typo) drives the 49ers the length of the field with only 2:09 remaining and scores the go-ahead touchdown with 9 seconds left. Alex Smith – the same guy most 49er fans wanted to run out of town as recently as this last off season after 6 pretty awful seasons (albeit surrounded by some awful teams). That goes to show you that if you give Romo that kind of supporting cast, he could take us a long way. Does anyone think Alex Smith is a better QB than Romo? I don’t.
Continuing with the 49er-Saints game, I’ve never seen a defense come out and hit people harder than the 49ers did in the first quarter of that game. You could literally feel the hits through the TV. Both Jimmy Graham and Pierre Thomas were put out of the game early on (although Graham came back – Thomas was out cold before he hit the ground). If only Rob Ryan could get our defense to play with that much passion and intensity!
I’m predicting a Patriots – 49ers Super Bowl in Indianapolis (or maybe I’m hoping for that). The Giants however are like killer zombies that
just won’t die. Aren’t you supposed to shoot them in the head or something? Please, Jim Harbaugh, have your team as ready to play this Sunday as they were last week and kill the Giants’ season once and for all. I spent a lot of years hating the stupid 49ers (if I have to see “The Catch” one more time I will get physically ill) but the wounds the Giants have inflicted on our Cowboys are much fresher. And, I can’t stand the idea of watching Coughlin’s ferret-face expression during the Super Bowl or listen to the endless comparisons between Eli and Peyton (my personal favorite is still Cooper).
Looking ahead to the NFL draft in April (since that is all Cowboys fans have to look forward to at this point), our pick at #14 in the first round scares me. It’s right in that “dead zone” that isn’t the guaranteed starter a top-ten pick typically gets you and has big bust potential with Jerry’s “brain trust” doing the picking. Nick Eatman, staff writer for DallasCowboys.com did an analysis several weeks back of the 14th pick in the last 10 drafts. It’s not terribly encouraging although we’d all love to see them get the next Revis or even a Malcolm Jenkins.
2011 – Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis
2010 – Earl Thomas, S, Seattle
2009 – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, New Orleans
2008 – Chris Williams, OT, Chicago
2007 – Darelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
2006 – Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Philadelphia
2005 – Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina
2004 – Tommie Harris, DT, Chicago
2003 – Michael Haynes, DE, Chicago
2002 – Jeremy Shockey, TE, New York Giants
Let me put my hindsight glasses on for a minute. The 2008 draft for the Dallas Cowboys is almost a case-study for what not to do and is a big reason for fans to be very concerned about this team’s ability to draft their way back to dominance. For those that may have forgotten, the Cowboys owned the 22nd and 25th overall picks in the first round. The Cowboys biggest need was running back. Darren McFadden was the first RB taken by Oakland at #5, Jonathan Stewart was selected by the Carolina Panthers at #13 and up stepped the Cowboys at #22. They surprised more than a few people by taking Felix Jones out of Arkansas (Jerry Jones’ alumnus). The very next pick (#23) as
most people will remember was Rashard Mendenhall by the Steelers. The 24th pick was Chris Johnson (yes, THAT Chris Johnson) by the Titans. I like Felix and he’s had flashes of brilliance, but with his history of injuries, there is little doubt that letting him go to the Steelers or Titans might have been the right move. Let’s compare stats – Felix Jones (48 games, 2,326 yards, 8 TDs), Rashard Mendenhall (51 games, 3,367 yards, 29 TDs) and Chris Johnson (63 games, 5,645 yards, 38 TDs). For those not so good at math, that’s 15 more games (almost a complete season), over twice the yards, and over 4 times the number of TDs. Ouch! Even with CJ’s contract dispute and holdout, that was a horrible miss (by all those teams that let CJ slide down to the Titans). Jerry would have paid him and avoided all that.
To complete the narrative, the Cowboys selected Mike Jenkins with the 25th pick, the 4th CB taken that year behind McKelvin (Buffalo), Rogers-Cromartie (Arizona, now Philly), and Talib (Tampa Bay). The next 2 cornerbacks taken were Antoine Cason by San Diego at #27 and Brandon Flowers by Kansas City at #35 (2nd round). Cason with 44 passes defended, 10 interceptions, and playing in all 16 games all 4 years would clearly have been a better choice than the up-and-down Jenkins (40 passes defended, 8 interceptions – only 1 in 2010 and 1 in 2011 – and missed 2 games in ’08 and 4 games in ’11). Flowers for that matter playing in 60 games with 70 passes defended and 13 interceptions over that same time frame would have been better than both of them. Ah, what might have been…
Lastly, news late Tueday that projected 1st round pick Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama was arrested in Florida on marijuana possession charges. Somewhat doubtful that he would have fallen all the way to the 14th pick before this, but now that seems somewhat more likely. Could be good news for the Cowboys if Jerry is willing to take a chance on him and it proves to be a one-time bad decision and not a pattern of off-field problems. Reports are that he was with another former Alabama player who actually purchased the drugs. The marijuana was reportedly found on the passenger side floorboard of the car Kirkpatrick was riding in and not on his person. He was not in trouble in 3 years at Alabama so it sounds like “wrong place, wrong time” to me.
Have a great weekend everyone! Go 49ers! Please!!!!
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