As the new dawn of a new season approaches, the 2008 Boys are thankfully faced with very few question marks. There is the ongoing Terry Glenn fiasco, which I don’t really understand, because if TG really wants to be on this team, then what is 700 grand to a multimillionare (the difference between his salary and his injury settlement)? And that is ONLY if he does get hurt. TD to Terry: sign the dang paper! The receiving corps is the standard question mark thrown about in the media, and understandably so, but I have enjoyed watching the development of Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd, and I think they are going to be consistent enough to offset any double coverage on TO. I also remind everyone not to forget that Jason Witten is the true number 2 receiver (number one if you go by receptions).
That being said, the other big question mark is the secondary. It has a little bit of a new twist this year in that we actually have a surplus of DB’s for the 4 to 5 spots back there. The candidates are highly paid and highly controversial. A rundown and a personal, unprofessional scouting report:
The Godfather: Roy Williams – 7th year – Oklahoma. The often criticized Roy has gone from the most popular Cowboy to the most maligned. Whether it is due to weight gain, lost confidence or even putting his faith and religion over football (as some have suggested), Roy has lost a big step and is very vulnerable to tattoed tight ends and deep bombs over the middle.
The Natural: Terence Newman – 6th year – Kansas State. T-New became another member of the secondary to cash in on a huge contract and bonus. The interception totals won’t make your heart flutter (16 for his career) but he is a true shutdown corner with speed. A team leader and well respected across the league. Will start every game as long as he is healthy for the next 5 to 7 years.
The Beast: Anthony Henry – 8th year - South Florida. Henry is a big, physical corner who is solid in the run game and the pass game. Injury prone in his first 2 years here, but when he is on the field, he has shown to be a playmaker with a knack for the football. He was given a huge deal in free agency and has shown to be worth the investment to this point. He needs to stay healthy and not get frustrated by any possible positional changes to continue to live up to the deal.
Mr. Consistent: Ken Hamlin – 6th year – Arkansas. Hamlin was left on the trash heap for any team to have prior to last season. The Cowboys signed him to a one year deal and he turned that into a Pro Bowl season and a brand spankin new 6 year, 39 million dollar deal. He will anchor the secondary and play more of a hybrid free safety/strong safety role in the Phillips 3-4 this year.
The Wild Card: Adam “Pac-Man” Jones – 3rd year – West Virginia. Oh, everyone knows the story, but as the 6th overall pick in the 2005 draft, no one questions the talent. If he can stay focused on football and stay away from the strip clubs and Hennessey, the Cowboys will have arguably the best group of cornerbacks in the entire NFL. Stay tuned.
The Rook: Mike Jenkins – 1st year – South Florida. Jenkins will be paid as a late first round pick that he was so the staff will likely look to get him on the field. He was a big part of a great season for the South Florida Bulls who rose as high as Number 2 in the nation last year. Projected as a higher pick than he was and Cowboys traded up to get him. Great speed and agility. Bright future in the league, but still a rookie and will most likely not be left on an island against any seasoned NFL receivers.
So now that we know the pieces to the puzzle, we should look at the puzzle itself. There has been great conjecture from the media and the fans alike that Roy will be cut in a salary cap move. I am not going to sit here and say that it absolutely will not happen, I just see it as very unlikely. Primarily due to depth and injury concerns. Ask yourself one simple question, would you rather have too many or not enough? The base defense will most likely have Hamlin (FS), Williams (SS), and Henry and Newman. Simple enough, no breaking news there. The questions begin when you factor in how well Pacma…oops, Adam Jones performs in camp and if/when he is reinstated, and of course injuries as well as matchups. I would suggest, in my humble opinon, we get Henry some reps at free safety during camp and when we play a team like Cleveland with a prolific passing attack for example, have Henry back at free safety and bring in Adam Jones and Mike Jenkins in at corner and nickel back, respectively. When we play a team like Philadelphia or San Francisco, teams with a west coast offense and not much of a deep passing game, keep Roy in there with his physical presence and intimidation factor, and put Jones in at the nickel in passing situations. That is as long as Jones doesn’t beat out Henry for the starting cornerback job…..whew. I am tired after all that. The bottom line is Jerry Jones has paid all of the DB’s alot of money and they will be a huge part of our ultimate success. To whom much is given, much is expected.
All I know is that I personally would rather have too much than not enough!
It should be a great season…..camp kicks off tomorrow and then the first practice is on Friday.