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FORWARD PROGRESS: Weapons Of A Different Breed

Forward Progress

Training camp is finally here! Rejoice Cowboys fans! Another beginning will soon be upon us, and this is the first step along the lengthy journey of the season. You win in December and in playoff games and in Superbowls by preparing both physically and mentally here in late July and August. I didn’t get a chance to hear much of the “State of the Cowboys” address by Owner Jones and Coach Wade, but let’s be honest, I don’t think I missed a whole lot other than some cliche’s and some hopeful optimism, not that there is anything wrong with that. I must admit that it is hard to be so close, yet so far away from real football. In a way, I am going to have to fight through a lot of the things that are going to be brought up and mused upon over the course of the next 3 or 4 weeks. You know, the usual suspects: Can Romo win in December? How will the offense perform without Terrell Owens? Can Wade get his players to stay motivated? Blah, blah, blah! I understand that the media has a job to do, but I am just not interested in the same ole, same ole.

Some of the things that I am looking forward to finding out over the course of training camp will be how the new additions to the defense are going to fit in, who will win the number two spot at wide receiver and maybe, just maybe, get a glimpse at how Jason Garrett plans to manage all of his unique weapons.

Ah yes, Mr. Garrett and his weapons. I can’t think of a Cowboys team in the past with a more unique set of offensive weapons than this 2009 outfit. It will be a challenge and a delicate balance to efficiently use all of the running backs and tight ends, as well as develop the chemistry and timing between Romo and Roy Williams and the rest of the receivers. I am excited to see what Garrett can do with this group. I still have confidence in Garrett, I think he did have some challenges and obstacles dealing with Owens last year and in the end I believe that it affected his play calling and game planning. That is just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

I think that the best thing for Garrett, Romo and the entire franchise would be to have the heart and soul and identity of this team actually be the running game. If you are able to establish the run week in and week out, then it makes everything else so much easier. You can control time of possession, and gain valuable field position by churning out those first downs. Honestly, if we are unable to establish THIS team’s running game than there will have to be major changes in many areas next off-season. The extremely well compensated offensive line, led by Leonard Davis, are just flat out going to have to open some holes and then let the three headed monster do it’s thing. We have 3 backs who could arguably be starters for almost 20 other NFL teams at least. There are other great backs in the league, but I can’t think of any teams who would turn down Marion Barber or Felix Jones, and very few who would not like to have a guy like Tashard Choice somewhere in the mix. All that being said, there are no excuses to not dominate in the running game this year.

Once we soften up the line of scrimmage, we can open up our can of beans and rice! We should be able to carve up the middle of the field as well as any team in the league with our dynamic tight ends. We have the top tight end in all of football in Jason Witten, who also will contribute to the running game with his solid blocking, and then the young, explosive Marty B as his sidekick. This will be one of the most exciting things to watch this year for me. It’s not exactly rocket science here. When it’s third down and six, look for Beans and Rice.

And then, when it’s time to really put it on them, as my boy Nate the Cowboy Ninja would say, just dial 9-11. Romo to Roy Williams, and don’t forget Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. This is where the majority of the big gains will and should come from and if the running game is established and the middle of the field has been softened up by the tight ends, it will be easy pickings for an accurate passer like Romo.

Man, just looking at all of the options gets me really excited, we have the weapons. It’s time to optimize them and, bottom line, that’s on the shoulders’ of the coordinator.

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD

Forward Progress: An Opinion is Worth A Thousand Words

Hello to all. It’s me TD, and I would just like to take a brief moment to say hello again and welcome to my weekly column: Forward Progress. I will be sharing my thoughts and opinions with all of you, every Thursday, over the course of the roller coaster that is the NFL season. I will never claim to be all-knowing as this is just a place to speak my humble opinions and I hope that you all will correct me when you believe I am wrong and share your opinions on my opinions. Of course, I would like to thank Lone Star Struck for this amazing forum that all of us Cowboys fans should be thankful for. It continues to be an honor to be a part of the great team here at LSS!

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 It’s funny that I mentioned opinions in my small introduction above, because that is exactly one of the things that I want to discuss. With training camp looming like a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness that is the off-season, I am reminded of all things good….and bad about football season. The good, well that’s easy, it’s optimism, it’s excitement, it’s the sharing of Sundays with family and friends, and the thrill of victory when our Dallas Cowboys pull it out in the end. The bad, well, it’s pretty simple…..the fair weather fans, the unwarranted ripping and criticizing of the players and coaches after a poor performance, and yes, the actual sadness of defeat when the good guys do lose.

There is no other sport as popular as football, at least here in the United States, and with all of that comes the wide range of things that come along with that kind of passion, you just learn to accept it I guess. I try my very hardest to not be a fair weather fan, but I do get really upset when we lose just like everyone else. I will rip someone for poor effort or quitting, but not for making mistakes. I just want to be clear that I am not saying anyone is a better fan than anyone else, because that is usually what people say as a defense if you criticize them for criticizing the Cowboys, if that makes sense.

I am just humbly sitting here in my living room, wondering how long will the honeymoon last, and how long until MySpace and Facebook and the chat rooms are calling for Romo to be cut and Wade to be fired? It’s just an amazing dynamic to witness over the course of the season. It’s going to be interesting, as the NFL did us no favors, and we will have to be ready to go as a team from the time we break camp, or we could be looking at a tough start to the season and we could see many seats available on the bandwagon, as people jump off as fast as they can. I am confident we will weather the early quarter of the season, and hopefully the worst case scenario will be a 2-2 start. Either way, I will be right here, riding shotgun on the Dallas Cowboys bandwagon. I hope the majority of Cowboys fans will do the same, and not let the small percentage of the negative fans ruin our spirit and/or take away our hope.

Another thing I was thinking about was playmakers. Who in your opinion is the Cowboys top playmaker? The one guy that is going to be there week in and week out, making big time plays when the team needs them the most? A dynamic, dominating player that makes the other teams gameplan around him?

To me, it is simple, there is no other player on our team like that other than DeMarcus Ware. He is a superstar that requires constant double and even triple teams at times to stop him, or should I say try and stop him, as he still led the NFL in sacks last year, and was robbed of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award by the anti-Cowboys media.

Yes, Romo is the QB and he touches the ball on every snap, and is an incredible playmaker, but let’s face it: Tony has to prove some things this year, he has to hold on to the football better, cut down on turnovers, and be consistent over the entire 16 game schedule to take his place among the “elite” quarterbacks. I believe he will do those things, and Felix Jones will get some chatter as a top playmaker with his big play ability and speed, but as of today….RIGHT NOW, DeMarcus is the team’s top playmaker.

Taking a quick glance around the NFC East and you see it is not a division filled with big play ability, you have a few speed guys like DeSean Jackson of the Eagles, and Santana Moss of the Redskins seems to always have his best games against the Cowboys, but mostly it is a division built around defense, grinding running games and above average quarterback play. That is why I don’t understand why people think that we are going to be so ineffective without “the player who will go unnamed” at the WR position. I have nothing against the guy, but you can win this division without the original 81, and you can also NOT win it with him.

Quick Hits:

  • Micheal Vick is reportedly hoping to speak with Commisioner Roger Goodell about a partial re-instatment allowing him to participate in a teams training camp while awaiting a final decision from the league, similar to what Pac Man had last year for the Cowboys. I just can’t see an NFL team giving him a shot. I may be completely wrong but I just don’t see any team wanting to go through the media scrutiny and the criticism from the public, just to have him in their camp. I Guess we’ll see.
  • Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is undergoing training to become a massage therapist, according to the New York Times. Basically more well known for his off-the-field pot smoking antics than his football prowess on the field, Williams is looking towards his post-football career in holistic healing and medicine. He said he plans to play football for two more years and then retire. I was always a huge Ricky fan, and I give him credit for getting his life back in order. I hope he finds happiness in his career choice and stays healthy to finish out his career.
  • Former Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman has signed a one year deal with the upstart UFL’s Las Vegas franchise. He becomes the league’s marquee player, which is not saying much. The UFL’s inaugural season will last six games and end on Thanksgiving weekend. I am predicting that the UFL’s second season will be…..never.

Keepin’ the Faith

NAME THIS QB:

  • Led the NFL in touchdown passes over the past 2 seasons with 62.
  • Led the NFL in 4th quarter passing efficiency in 2008.
  • 2nd in NFL history with a 300 yard passing game every 2.44 starts.
  • 27-12 career record as a starter (.692 winning percentage).

Yep, you guessed it. Your Dallas Cowboys’ own Tony Romo. Your prize for the correct answer?? A n
ewwwwwwww car!! Well, not really, but it seems as if there should be some type of award given for anyone to have optimism or solid faith in Tony. I know that is probably unfair, because there are many, many fans who still are in Romo’s corner, unwavering in their faith to #9. I am one of those fans.

I guess the only point of this short piece is not to start a war of words or to crucify those with their own opinions, but to try and poke a few holes in the Romo is a celebrity quarterback who can’t play and is not a competitor or a leader conspiracy that seems to abound these days. It’s easy to jump on the pile right now, especially with our last memories being from that terrible TEAM effort in Philly (I shudder just to think of it).

The bottom line: there are teams in the NFL trotting out such spares as Kyle Orton, JaMarcus Russell, Tarvaris Jackson and J.T. O’ Sullivan, etc. We should be thanking the NFL gods everyday for blessing us with a talent like Romo. Do I need to even go through the tried and  true list of Cowboys QB’s after Aikman and before Romo? I didn’t think so.

Okay, he is 0-2 in the playoffs and has struggled at times in December. There, I admitted that he is not perfect and has room to improve. Sounds alot like me in my job, and my life for that matter. 

Let’s all just take a deep breath, try and forget the past (because we certainly can’t change it) and take time to be thankful that we have a winning team, a competitve team led by one of the top 5 starting QB’s in the league. We need to make some changes, Romo included, but this team is not far away…….

Trust me.

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD

 

P.S. For the interview that I watched and was inspired by this evening, click on the following link:

http://cbs11tv.com/cowboys/Tony.Romo.Dallas.2.930061.html