Caution: Jerry flavored Kool-Aid being served up in Dallas
By Brad Austin
The Cowboys snagged Brodney Pool during the first week of free agency like he was a commodity. No doubt Rob Ryan was the ringleader on this move having previously coached him in Cleveland, along with the guidance of Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson. If the intention was to fill the starting role Abe Elam vacated, I’m not sold on this addition bringing the secondary any closer to a solid upgrade on the back end. Pool was considered a recent disappointment in a similar defensive system the last two years for the New York Jets. He only re-gained his starting spot for the last part of 2011 due to injury. And this questionable production came with playing between the elite cornerback tandem of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie; which allows the safety more room for error and to take greater chances with less risk. Rex Ryan and the Jets staff openly stated they received much less than expected from the addition of Pool in 2010. Being a defensive guru, I’d have to assume this is a solid assessment from the other Ryan twin.
I’m not firmly concluding Brodney Pool is unfit to start, that remains to be seen. Maybe he will regain his old form once reunited in Dallas with the coaches who developed him in Cleveland. However with recent performance typically the best indicator, I’d have to say this position is still a large concern. Especially since the 2011 Cowboys pass defense was the overwhelming Achilles heel. With a pass rush recording 42 sacks which ranked 8th in the NFL, I’d have to say the secondary had more major leaks than just Terence Newman.
- Moves Needed to Become a Contender:
Sure Pool will still compete for a starting safety spot in camp. However, I’d also draft a talented safety in the first three rounds of the draft to add to the mix. Barry Church is also in the fray, yet I’m not sure how high his ceiling at the position is just yet. Between Pool, Church, and a high draft pick, Dallas should field a capable strong safety to pair with Gerald Sensabaugh and sure up the pass defense.
All in all, Dallas still has the ability to become a formidable contender in 2012 with more moves and additions to the starting lineup. The troublesome part is Jerry Jones continues to speak like many of these starting roles have already been adequately filled in free agency. As usual that’s just not the case if the playoffs are the goal. At the very least four starters are still needed to make Dallas a real contender and they are not on the current roster. If Dallas does not address these spots it will be more of the same come January…a ghost town at Cowboys Stadium. Be careful not to drink the community Kool-Aid and agree with Jones that Dallas is already half way home.
The brightside is if Dallas finds capable players to fill the remaining starting spots mentioned above, the moves they have already made in free agency provide excellent depth beyond these guys. The type of depth Cowboys fans haven’t enjoyed in many years. Add in a few more backup pieces to go with the starters in the form of a pass rusher, a solid blocking tight end, and a 4th cornerback and the Boys are all set to make a vicious run at a division title and into the playoffs. Yes, that’s asking a lot between now and September, but it’s the best path back to glory. Now if that batch of new Cowboys Kool-Aid is served up before Week 1, I’ll be the first in line to savor a full glass and proudly display my blue-stained lips with a smile.
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