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We Will Be Back

I am a very analytical ‘stats’ kind of fan.  I like to learn from the past to predict where we may go in the future, so please bear with me as I ramble on in my blogs.  I ended my last blog wanting to talk about the offensive line and the defensive secondary – and that I will.

2010 will mark 15 years since the Cowboys last hoisted the Lombardi trophy.  Let’s analyze then and now:

Then:

1995 produced four Pro Bowl offensive linemen (arguably it could have been five).  Names like Erik Williams, Larry Allen, Ray Donaldson, Nate Newton, and Mark Tuinei should bring a smile to any die-hard Dallas fan!  1995 also produced a line that gave up only 14 sacks for the entire season for a drop-back, pocket passer that would only scramble if there was a single, female country singer within his view (yes, I will give credit where credit is due to the slant route and to Emmitt).

Now:

2009 produced two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, Gurode and Davis; however, this line allowed 34 sacks for a scrambling quarterback that could give Houdini a run for his money.  Yet, this line produced 4.8 yards-per-carry for arguably one of the best three-headed running attacks in the league.  Hmm?

Then:

Arguably one of the best shut-down cornerbacks of all time basically cut the field in half (Deion Sanders) allowing Larry Brown, Darren Woodson, and Brock Marion to flourish; with Woodson having a Pro Bowl year.

Now:

2009 produced two Pro Bowl corners in Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins; but the safety positions remain in question.

So my first question – with names like Kosier, Gurode (Pro Bowl ’09), Davis (Pro Bowl ’09), Free, Colombo, Barron (who by all accounts is just another Flozell), and 7th round pick Young, can they keep Romo healthy enough (and calm enough in the pocket) to hit our targets?  We know they can run block, but can they protect the QB?

My second question – do you feel that the defensive line and the linebacker core are strong enough (which by all indications they are) to be left alone, or will they end up, more times than not, leaving Newman and/or Jenkins alone in space as they keep a safety in the box?  What are their names?  Ball, Church, Hamlin, McCray, Owusu-Ansah, and Sensabaugh.  You be the coach, what lineup do you go with?

In this writer’s opinion, the offensive line (particularly the left tackle) and the safety positions will determine the fate of this upcoming season.

SS Sensabaugh A Favorite Of Campo

Since this off-season began I was predicting my home town player Gerald Sensabaugh to join my other home town player Jason Witten in Dallas my friends were saying theres no way Gerald would be a Dallas Cowboy. I debated and argued all the way until that faithful day when the Cowboys signed him. I though my arguments were over but no everywhere I looked it seemed like every Cowboys fan I talked to was doubting what Gerald could do, so I just said wait and see.

Now according to dallascowboys.com writer Mickey Spagnola Sensabaugh is one of Secondary Coach Dave Campo’s favorites. Here is what Mickey’s article said.

You might say for the majority of his years with the Cowboys, Dave Campo, first secondary coach, then defensive coordinator and then head coach before returning as secondary coach in 2008, was spoiled at the safety position. During his previous 14 seasons, he mostly had the likes of Ray Horton, James Washington, Thomas Everett, Darren Woodson, Brock Marion and George Teague back there. He even enjoyed a rather nice rookie season out of Roy Williams.

So last season probably was a little bit of a shellshock for Camps, who returned for a 15th season. Heck, even over his three years as head coach, when Woodson remained healthy, he had Woodson and Teague back there. Injuries and performance made last year somewhat of a crap shoot.

That’s why I said to him, with the addition of Gerald Sensabaugh and all the young guys brought in, this might be the best the safety position has looked since, well, Woodson was playing.

He laughed, saying it was funny I’d bring up Woodson, “because when I got to Jacksonville (2005) I remember saying Sensabaugh (a rookie then) had the kind of burst Woodson had. Now I’m not saying he’s Woodson.”

Of course not, and he’s probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter. But Campo was trying to make a point about Sensabaugh’s ability to cover, not only from the deep safety spot, but also going inside to the weak linebacker spot on the nickel, where Woodson spoiled the Cowboys his entire career with an ability to cover even receivers in the slot.