Friday, January 9, 2009

"Beat Brown's Caption" Contest

I'm going to periodically put a picture up with a wacky quote. Use the comment section to beat the quote with something funnier



NO! NOT MY CHEEZBURGER!

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - Front Office

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense Monday. Defense Tuesday. Special Teams Wednesday. Coaches Yesterday. Front Office today.


Front Office

The review

When you say the words "front office" in reference to the Dallas Cowboys, you're talking about one man. Jerral "Jerry" Jones. He of the facelifts. He of the gravely voice. He of the bad grammar. He of the rootin', tootin', good God almighty I'm crazy. Jerry had an, um, interesting year this year. He brought in Pacman. He made the trade for Roy Williams. He vehemently supported Wade Phillips to the point of telling the media to basically go fuck themselves. Jerry stocked his cabinet with nothing but brand names and organics. The most expensive and impressive of ingredients to attempt to make something as simple as hamburgers, and it blew up in his face.

What to do

I love the premise that the Dallas Cowboys's owner should fire the GM, and until he does that they'll never succeed. I don't know if you can say Jerry isn't a "football guy" anymore as he's been heavily invovled for 20 years now. However, his mentality is seemingly all wrong. He thinks that by putting a bunch of names together, he can win. Ask Al Davis how well that works. Jerry needs to step back and listen to this coaches and scouts as to what this team needs. He's going to have to open his wallet for either cap penalties or key free agents.

Bright spots: Kicking Rowdy's ass off the sidelines during games

Low lights: Pacman Jones (notice a trend?)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why we can no longer talk about bowl vs. playoff

The last time Big and I attempted to discuss the bowl vs. playoff topic, this is a picture of what happened.



I don't think we need that to happen again...



...OR DO WE!?!?!?!?!

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - The Coaches

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense Monday. Defense Tuesday. Special Teams yesterday. Coaches today. Front Office on Friday.


Offense

The review

Jason Garrett, Ray Sherman, John Garrett, Skip Peete, Wade Wilson, Hudson Houck, and Wesley Phillips. Gentleman, you were given the keys to a Ferrari, and you drove it like a god damned Kia. This offense was supposed to be the most deadly, high scoring and defense rattling assemblage of talent ever. Turns out, they pretty much sputtered and did nothing from top to bottom. Motivation. Control. Adjustments. Leadership. All things that this offensive coaching staff lacked

What to do

Jerry said he's keeping everyone. He's already paying Garrett out the ass. That being said, he's praying that Denver or Detroit hire Jason Garrett. Jerry Jones (and the collective Cowboy fan base) immeidately began to salivate when Mike Shanahan became available. I guarantee you, if Shanahan isn't here as OC in 2009, he'll "take a year off" and be here in 2010 as the head coach.


Defense

The review

Brian Stewart, Todd Grantham, Dave Campo, Reggie Herring, Dat Nguyen, Brett Maxie. Not exactly names that scare offensive coaching staffs in the league. HOwever, let's not kid ourselves, Wade Phillips was the man pulling the strings half way through the season when this defense became a force.

What to do

I'm not sure what can be done from a coaching standpoint, as the defense seems to be the most stable part of the team. They've already given Brian Stewart a disconnected headset and let Wade call the plays. Short of demoting Wade to DC, I don't see what else they're going to do.


Special Teams

The review

There's a reason that Bruce Reed got fired. His special teams unit sucked terribly this season. That's really all there is to say about that.

What to do

They've hired Joe DeCamillis from Jacksonville. Joe had his special teams have the best opponent field position in the league, so I guess that says something for him. I said they'd hire Coach Joe. I was right about the name, wrong about which Joe.


Overall

The review

Well, if you're talking about overall coaching, you're talking about the head coach, which means you're talking of he of the marshmellow, Wade Phillips. I happen to like Wade Phillips. I think he's a coach who works well with players and works well with Jerry. You saw what he did with defense, and he's the type to rely on his OC to handle the offense. That just happened to lead to some disasterous results. I'm fine with Wade remaining in charge, but this team will need someone who has the fire to get people in check behind Wade. That's not Jason Garrett or Brian Stewart.

Bright spots: Dave Campo

Low Lights: Jason Garrett, Ray Sherman, Brian Stewart, Bruce Reed

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Public Service Announcement


That guy...

If you ever see me with a voluntary mohawk, I give you full permission to punch me in the face and kidneys repeatedly until I'm spitting and pissing blood at the same time.

Thank you.

I think I might have found the reason

Update: Just so we're clear here, I'm only referring to the football programs at schools.

If you've paid any attention to this blog in the past few months (or if you've known Big and I and have paid attention for the past 10 years), then you know nothing will result in a full blown hell-in-a-cell death match like the playoff versus bowl argument.

No matter what argument either guy uses, a baby gets aborted.

Wait a second.

Yeah, I'm going to stick with that.

Anyway, I think I've realized what the big difference is, and it's a pretty classic scenario: the storied program (aka "Big School") versus the non-storied program (aka "Small School").



Big's a North Texas alumnus. He knows that his school, since entering Division I-A football, was never going to contend for a title. So, in an effort to not lose interest, Big has adopted two other programs to follow closer than others: Texas A&M and Notre Dame. The former has several of his family as alumni, the second is the whole Catholic connection.

What does this mean?

Big doesn't live and die with any school. If his school's doesn't make it (or has a 1-10 record), he doesn't really care one way or the other. That's not to say he doesn't actively root for his school, matter of fact, he's the third biggest North Texas fan and supporter I know. But, if North Texas has a bad year, big deal. Now, if North Texas makes ANY bowl game, it's a big deal. Win or lose, it's a HUGE deal because it's a bowl game.

See? The bowl system offers the non-storied programs a chance to shine on a national stage when, otherwise, they would never get a chance. It's a chance for the students and alumni to have one giant party in a city that isn't homecoming.

It's different for me.



I'm a Texas alumnus. There is one and only one school that I follow. Since I was in elementary school, I've been a Texas fan, and that has only gotten stronger over the years.

What does that mean?

I do live and die with my school. When my school loses, my week is pretty much ruined. I won't go out. I won't answer my phone. I'm usually put on fight watch for a few days afterwards because I don't want to hear it. I have such heated hatred for my rival school that I've uttered the words "I'm going to eff the Sooner out of you" to an ex-girlfriend (true story). There is no other game that matters to me besides the national championship. I don't care about the other bowls. I don't care about the BCS. I want one game, and one game only, the National Championship.

The bowl system doesn't give me that. Matter of fact, it takes away the right I have to even see my team have a fair chance to play. You can say "the regular season is a playoff". No, it's not or else why have a regular season at all? With a playoff, I know that a) my team has earned a legit chance to play for the national championhip via the regular season and b) if my team loses, then at least it was during an honest-to-God shot and run at the the title, not because of polls or computers.

I think that's the elemental difference here. You could get rid of every other bowl on the planet because it doesn't mean a rat's ass to me as long as my team has a chance to play for the title. Big wants the bowls because it gives his team(s) a chance to have the limelight and play for some kind of recognition.

It's not that one system is better than the other or one idea is better than the other. It's a question of having to cater to the few (12-16 storied program schools) or the masses (the other 110 D-1A schools who have a right to the limelight).

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - Special Teams

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense Monday. Defense yesterday. Special Teams on today. Coaches on Thursday. Front Office on Friday.


Kicker

The review

Nick Folk is a solid field goal kicker. I don't think anyone is going to argue that. He's seemingly come through when the Cowboys needed him, and he has been able to nail home kicks at crucial (and useless) points in games. That being said, he can't kickoff to save his life. I think the Cowboys were one of the worst in opponent starting field position simply because opponents averages 21 or so yards on kick returns, and they'd catch it on the 9 or 10 yard line. Folk didn't kick one touchback all season. Shit.

What to do?

In Jerry's mind, kickers are a dime a dozen. I wouldn't be surprised if you see a new kicker in town either a) to outright take the job from Folk or b) just to be the placekicker on kickoffs.


Punter

The review

The Cowboys have one of the best punters in the league in Matt McBriar. Only problem was, he broke his foot in the Arizona game on the jailbreak punt block that, for lack of a better point, ended the season. In stepped Sam Polescu. Polescu was a serviceable punter, but given the way the offense played this year, the Cowboys HAD to play the field position game and defense to win...Polescu wasn't good enough for this team. Period.

What to do?

Pray that McBriar's foot heals properly and he can get back to form. That's pretty much all one can hope for.


Kick coverage

The review

If there was anything that was more maddening to watch than Tony Romo's seemingly Marinovich like season, was the Cowboys special teams attempt to cover kicks. It's very rare that fans are afraid every time the other team's returned gets the ball, but that was the case this year. Bobby Carpenter, Tashard Choice, Trey Battle? Kind of makes you wonder what Bill Bates is up to these days. Yes, Keith Davis returned from his stint in Miami, but he got injured and was't able to be the special teams captain and stud he normally is.

What to do?

Well, they fired Bruce Reed, so they're on the right track. Remember, special teams is filled with your second and third teamers, so special team is ALL about coaching. Look for the return of Coach Joe...and I'm not kidding when I type that.


Kick returns

The review

Things were abuzz all offseason in this role. Felix Jones and Pacman Jones. The Jones Boys. Hey! Pacman caught 8 balls at once! Did you see that?? What happened? Felix Jones goes on IR, Pacman Jones gets suspended. Patrick Crayton and Isaiah Stanbeck returne to the field as the kick returner. Well, bully for you Cowboys, bully for you. We can all agree the Pacman experiment was a bad one. We can also agree that Felix Jones is a gamebreaker when he's healthy.

What to do?

Hope Felix Jones has the stamina to make it all season. Install Patrick Crayton as a permanent kick returner and give up on Isaiah Stanbeck or go draft a new speedy kid to be that guy. What's Woody Dantzler up to these days?


Overall

The review

This was one of, if not the, weakest element of the Cowboys this season and it was pretty painful to watch. McBriar's injury, Jones's injury and the inepititude of coverage all contributed to opponents having great field position when the Cowboys needed to play that field position game all year long.

Bright spots: Trey Battle

Low lights: Injuries, Pacman Jones

Guest Post - Bizzle's solution for the BCS Shit-storm

Again, we always welcome it when readers submit posts. Even when it goes against what I think is right. Here is J-Bizzle's thoughts about how a playoff system should go down for college football. Enjoy, and discuss in the comments.

So Herbstreit and the entire state of Texas are pissed that OU is in the big game instead of UT. Brown has a plan for a playoff, but Big doesn’t want to leave the Hokies out of it because those crazies down in Blacksburg won their shitty ACC Title. That’s right, Mom and Dad are fighting again. What are we to do? Don’t worry, kids, ‘cause Bizzle’s gonna make it all better. I got it.....timeshareeee. [random TMNT reference, and if you don’t know what that acronym means, yes, you deserve to die and I hope you burn in hell!] Wait, no, it’s a playoff system.

Including the Independents, there are currently 12 Division 1-A NCAA Conferences. This makes for essentially 12 conference champions. Penn State wins the Big 10 by virtue of having a better record than Ohio State. But we’ll deal with that and the Big 12 in a minute.

Each conference champion is automatically in the playoffs.

ACC – Virginia Tech (9-4)
Big 12 – Oklahoma (12-1)
Big East – Cincinnati (11-2)
Big 10 – Penn State (11-1)
Conference USA – Tulsa (10-3)
1-A Indy’s – Navy (8-5)
MAC – Ball State (12-1)
MWC – Utah (12-0)
PAC 10 – USC (11-1)
Sun Belt – Troy (8-5)
SEC – Florida (12-1)
WAC – Boise State (12-0)

But what about conferences without a technical champion? Or conferences with more than one team with only one loss and to make it worse it’s 3 teams and they all lost to each other?!....Never fear. There are 4 teams left who can still get in. These would be the top 4 teams who are left after you take the conference champions out of the (BCS) rankings. In this year’s case they would be:

Texas (12-1)
Alabama (12-1)
Texas Tech (12-1)
Ohio State (10-2)

Games start a week or two after the last regular season games. There are 8, 4 and 2 games each week with two weeks allowed before the championship (or not, I really don’t care that much). Now you have the current top 10 teams in the country (according to the BCS) making it into the playoffs, and 6 potential cinderellas (yeah right). Brown gets his playoffs, Big gets VaTech and Cincy into the dance and Bear even gets to see his beloved Buckeyes. Everybody wins! Except for Badlander. No Huskers this year, buddy.

Round 1 Brackets (based on rankings):

(1) Florida vs. (16) Troy (2) Oklahoma vs. (15) Navy (I think Tulsa is ranked higher than Navy. If not, then switch it in your mind jackass.)
(8) Texas Tech vs. (9) Boise State (7) Utah vs. (10) Ohio State
(3) Texas vs. (14) Tulsa (4) Alabama vs. (13) Ball State
(6) Penn State vs. (11) Cincinnati (5) USC vs. (12) Virginia Tech

I see a couple blow-outs for sure, but I also see some potential upsets, too. Anyway, so there’s a total of 15 bowl games right there. And, from a corporate standpoint, you keep the traditional bowls (Sugar, Cotton, Peach [Chick-fil-a], Rose, etc.) although there might not be the traditional conferences facing off in them and you could still have plenty of other bowl games so conferences like the PAC 10 don’t have to go from 5 teams in the postseason to just 1 and we all have something to watch every day from Christmas to New years. Aaaaand, from a pro football standpoint, in all likelihood you are getting the players who are most likely to go into the NFL used to a longer (potentially 17 games) season.

Arguments? And no bullshit about kids missing Christmas because that’s a shitty point!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - The Defense

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense yesterday. Defense today. Special Teams on Wednesday. Coaches on Thursday. Front Office on Friday.


Defensive Line

The review

I'd say the defensive line was solid, albeit soft at times this year. The goal of the defensive line in a 3-4 defense is to a) stop the run and b) plug the "big" gaps so the linebackers have rush lanes. If your line manages to put on a rush, it's icing on the cake. Spears and Canty were "meh" on the ends, and didn't really do anything to merit a hug. However, Jay Ratliff was a beast all year long in the middle. For an "undersized" nose in a 3-4, Ratliff was positively measty all year long.

What to do?

Re-stock the cupboard. Canty, Spears and Johnson's contracts are all up this year. In my opinion, Canty is the only one who might deserve a new contract. Look for some stockpiling to go down during the draft.


Linebackers

The review

If you had to pick an overall brightspot this season, wouldn't you pick these guys? Ware, Thomas, James and Ellis were exactly what you needed them to be this season. Ware and Ellis put the heat on the quarterback, with Ware leading the league with 20 sacks. James and Thomas were the heart of a run stop game (granted, a run defense that got really tired and blown up at the end of th year). Rookie, Anthony Spencer, did what rookies should do and was able to contribute. Kevin Burnett was the stud in the nickel packages in coverage.

What to do?

Zach Thomas is old and isn't coming back. Burnett and Carpenter's contracts are up this year. If you're going to sign either, it's gonna be Burnett. James is pointed to as the leader of this team, and as you can tell, he's not got the control you want to see. I'm dead serious when I say that Jerry needs to throw a pile of money at Ray Lewis. That gives you leadership, an awesome gap filler for Thomas and a man that will stab the next Cowboy who goes against the team.


Secondary

The review

Inuries. Injuries. Injuries. Williams. Watkins. Newman. Jones. All of them were injured (or suspended) for a big chunk of time. However, Dave Campo's unit was still able to do a pretty decent job as a MASH unit. Anthony Henry continues to be the underrated star in the secondary and plays wherever he's needed. Rookie brightspot, Orlando Scandrick did very well filling in for injured cornerbacks, as did first rounder, Mike Jenkins. Once Newman got healthy, he reminded everyone why he was a top 10 pick and is one of the best in the game.

What to do?

Here's where things get tricky. Do you commit to Roy Williams as your strong safety and believe he's got enough support from Ken Hamlin? Roy ain't what he was and Hamlin is no Woody. Pacman isn't coming back because he didn't contribute a damn thing. Do you go with Newman, Henry, Scandrick and Jenkins as your core? Don't be surprised if the Cowboys move to get a ball hawk strong safety and replenish the corner reserves.


Overall

The review

Let's be honest, without the defense, this team wouldn't have won 9 games, it would be more like 6 or 7. Once Wade took over the play calling and gave Brian Stewart Maurice Carthon's old headset, you saw new life get breathed into the crew. Yes, it was the defense that gave up the big plays at the end of the last few games. However, with the offense doing nothing and the defense on the field for a majority of the game, you can only bend so much till you break.

Bright spots: Jay Ratliff, Orlando Scandrick, Terrance Newman, DeMarcus Ware

Low lights: Adam Jones, Bobby Carpenter

Monday, January 5, 2009

What would you rather see?

A) Whoever wins on Thursday is declared the national champion and Texas, Utah and USC are left with their dick in their hands because "that's the system and, hey, Notre Dame won the Hawaii Bowl, so it's a good system!"

OR

B) The semifinals of a playoff where Texas vs USC and Utah vs Florida/Oklahoma with the winners playing for a real national championship

Use the comments and share your thoughts.

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - The Offense

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense today. Defense tomorrow. Special Teams on Wednesday. Coaches on Thursday. Front Office on Friday.



Quarterbacks

The review

Tony Romo, Brad Johnson, Brooks Bollinger. Jeez, that just hurts to type, let alone read. I think we know, given Johnson and Bollinger's performance for 3 games, this team needs a solid backup QB. Johnson's old as dirt and Bollinger is, well, Brooks Bollinger. As for Romo? I'd definitely say the honeymoon is over. I'm not out on Romo yet, as I still think he's a young guy and can learn to become a better leader and quarterback. His biggest problem? He's a douchebag. The guy has gone from an "aw shucks" dork who loved football and Guitar Hero to a complete douchebag that you really would rather not hang out with.

What to do?

Romo has to have surgery, as in his head needs to be removed from his own ass. He has to prove to his team, his coaches and his fans that he is dedicated to football and leading the Cowboys. Romo can't be Tom Brady until he's achieved what Brady has. Look for Dallas to draft a quarterback early to put heat on Romo.



Running Backs

The review

I really don't think you can complain too much about the Cowboy running corps. The biggest issue that they had to face was the injury bug. However, when you look at Barber, Jones and Choice, you've got to be somewhat excited going into next season with our own version of "Earth, Wind and Fire".

What to do?

Get healthy and get on the same page. Follow the Giants and see how they've setup Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw. These three guys need to follow Barber's lead and they need to work together to deliver a three punch combo that reduces the need for Romo to do anything "jedi-ish".



Receivers

The review

Oh boy. What do you say about these guys that hasn't already been beaten to death in the media? You've got a constant soap opera all season with Owens. You've now got whispers that the whiny snitch is Jason Witten. The huge (now Jason Kidd-esque) trade for Roy Williams. The injuries to your field stretchers in Austin and Hurd. The perpetual shit fest of Crayton. Guh, not exactly the 49ers of the 80's. This group underachieved this season, period. You can blame the quarterbacks, sure, but if Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are good enough to get open and catch passes, so should the Cowboy corps.

What to do?

I really don't think this team can afford to get rid of Owens. Williams (much to my chagrin) has shown he is not a legit number one guy, and the others are still not good enough to step up. Owens has to be there, simply to be a reliable number one. Send the receivers and Witten to some kind of Kumbaya camp this spring and share the love. This is going to be a job for the coaches.



Offensive Line

The review

It was really tough to figure out what happened to this offensive line this year. Last year, they were one of the most dominant forces in the league, and made the offfense click. Anyone who watches football can tell you that without an offensive line, you've got nothing. Was it the loss of wonder Jew, Kyle Kozier? Maybe. Has no one on the line have anything to play for since they've all got their contracts? Maybe. Something isn't adding up on this offensive line, and I'm not well versed enough in the ways of offensive line-ery to answer that.

What to do?

With the loss of Kozier, and the apparent ineptitude of Proctor and the other cat they brought in, the depth of the line is the issue here. Look for Dallas to bring in better backups and look for the coaching staff to attempt to reinvigorate this group that starts the offense.



Overall

The review

All in all, the offense this year was pretty ugly. Things happened on a prayer and it was sink or swim with no middle ground to be found.

Bright Spots: Tashard Choice, Felix Jones

Low Lights: Brad Johnson, Roy Williams, Cory Proctor