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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.

Three Phrases of the Game

To be a champion caliber team you must be consistent in all phrases of the game. We all know about Dallas’s offense, Tony Romo with all his weapons, Barber and Jones’s running attack behind our fantastic offensive line. The defense is getting more respect and recognition as they improve every week (not counting the Lions game.) Phrase three is Special teams. I don’t feel like our kick return team gets the credit they deserve.

Miles Austin in his second year makes you sit on the edge of your seat every time he gets the ball. His long return is sixty yards. I just know he is going to break one all the way. Austin is averaging twenty-six yards on eighteen returns.

Tyson Thompson shows he is a talent with his return ability also. Tyson’s average is a little lower than Austin’s at twenty-three.six, but his long return is seventy-two yards.

I look forward to seeing rookie Isaiah Stanback come back from his injury. I have to agree with the Cowboy staff that Stanback is exciting to watch. His long kick return is thirty-five yards but he has only had three returns with a average of twenty-six yards.

Between these three and more recently Miles Austin, the Cowboys have had good field position on most possessions. Of course, it would be a dream come true if we only had punt returns meaning our defense didn’t allow a score! WOW!

With Patrick Crayton and Terence  Newman returning punts, we haven’t had stunning returns but, they average twelve yards per return that equals our opponents. Even though we haven’t returned a punt or kick return for a score with all the talent we have on special teams it will come. They are saving it for the playoffs!

Although special teams need to improve in some areas they show improvement each week just as the offense and defense.

What I respect about the 2007 Cowboys is the way coach Phillips has blended all three phases to work together as a team. The media and fans shine the light on certain players but, they know that it takes every player in the locker room to win and that is why we are the NFC East Champs!

 Contributed by Raina Middleton