By Brad Adams
"We need to strike and we need to strike soon". These are the words that came out of Jerry Jones' mouth today on NFL Network. Jerry was referring to the several players, on the Dallas Cowboys, that are in their prime.
I've never been a big fan of Jerry Jones, but I couldn't agree more with him here. I'm glad he is finally realizing that there is not much success left in this team. This football team has at most, five quality years left.
But Jerry isn't just talking, he's walking as well. Jones, this off-season, finally addressed some needs that he had long ignored. He cut underachievers like Terrance Newman, and brought in quality free agents like, Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool, Dan Conner, and Lawrence Vickers. It's great to see that defense finally get some attention.
But Jerry didn't stop there. He traded up and got a huge upgrade in the secondary, by drafting Morris Claiborne at number six overall. I would have never thought Jerry would have traded up and selected Claiborne. I honestly thought when I saw the Cowboys trade up, that they were selecting Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State. The fact that Jerry didn't do that surprised me. I was stunned to see that instead of going for a flashy name, that he drafted the player that we most needed.
I'm not sure what's gotten into Jerry, but Cowboy fans have to love it right now. Maybe the decline in the Cowboys' record is getting to him. Since Romo took the helm, Every season has been a winning one, except for last year finishing 8-8, and the year before finishing 6-10. I think Jerry is finally seeing that the foundation of this team is aging.
I believe Jerry saying what he said is a good thing. It didn't sound like the whole "I'm not worried" spiel he gave us this past year. There is finally a sense of urgency in Dallas. The lackadaisical feeling seems to be fading away. The only question that remains, is will it translate on the field? We will see.
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By Brad Adams
On the show this past week, Cam and I were very harsh on the cornerback from LSU. Now due to my job, it is hard for me to see many college football games. I hate it, but you have to make some money while you're in college. So all I really saw of Claiborne, was the couple of highlights, and low lights, that they showed during the draft. So I stand before you on this blog and say: I was wrong. I was wrong about Morris Claiborne. We both were.
This afternoon after class, I went and watched the film. This kid can flat out play. He's a ball hawk. With him being a former wide receiver, if he gets a break on the ball, he's going to pick it. He has quick feet, and is definitely does not shy away from contact. But just because I was wrong, doesn't mean I'm not nervous about some things.
I saw on film, that he has a habit of over pursuing and getting sucked inside. There were more than a few times where I saw this occur. The good thing about that though, is that it is coach-able. Let's see if Jerome Henderson and Rob Ryan can get him to break that habit.
Due to my ignorance, I gave the Claiborne pick a C+ grade on the show. After going back and studying the film, I'd definitely have to raise that to an A. Morris Claiborne looks to greatly improve this secondary, and I for one am excited to see him on the field this year.
By Brad Adams
This schedule from a glance looks extremely tough. But if you look at it game by game and break it down, it doesn't seem as daunting.
The Cowboys open up against the Giants in the Meadowlands. This game I believe will set the tone for the remainder of the season. It's going to be a tough one. The next three games are against Seattle, Tampa, and Chicago. Jay Cutler will be back for the Bears, but I think the Cowboys could easily be 3-1 after 4 games in.
Here is where it gets a little rough. After the very early bye week, the Boys' will be at Baltimore. That's not going to be an easy game to win. They still have one of the best defenses in the game. Romo and company better be ready to play on October 14th. After that it's at the Panthers, where Cam Newton is doing something special down there in Carolina. I don't believe the Cowboys will lose that game, but it's still not a game to overlook. Then it's on to the Giants at home, followed by at the Falcons and Eagles. If the Eagles look like they did at the end of the year last year, the Cowboys very well could lose that game. I don't see the Cowboys being any worse than 6-3 at this point in the schedule.
Heading into Thanksgiving, the schedule seems to hit a bit of a soft spot. This is where they must take advantage. They host the Browns, Redskins, and Eagles. Three home games in a row. The Cowboys have to go 3-0 in that span. No way they should lose to Colt McCoy and the Browns, or even RG3 (or Luck) and the 'Skins. Just shouldn't happen. But with the Cowboys, you never know. The Eagles game takes place in December, which is not been a good month for the Cowboys. I still think they win that game.
The rest of December is sort of mixed bag. They go to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Andy Dalton had this team looking sharp last year. So like the Panthers game, it's not one to be overlooked. The Cowboys then face the Steelers and Saints at home. Steelers will be tough to beat as always. With the Saints, who's to know how they will handle their adversity. By this time in the season we will know. If the Saint's are the kind of team I think they are, they will rally around each other and be a team to be reckoned with. They seem to handle adversity well.
The season wraps up with a trip to the Capitol, to face the Redskins. No way they lose to the Redskins this year. RG3 (or Luck) alone won't be enough to make this Redskin team all that good. Games against Washington are always close, but I see the 'Boys sweeping them this year again.
I know predicting how teams will finish in April is rather foolish, due to a lot of events in the off-season still left to occur. But, just for fun I'll give a prediction, that I'm sure I'll revise later. As of now, I see the Cowboys finishing now worse than 10-6.
Week One: Wednesday, Sept. 5th - Cowboys @ Giants
Week Two: Sunday, Sept. 16th - Cowboys @ Seahawks
Week Three: Sunday, Sept. 23rd – Bucs @ Cowboys
Week Four: Monday, Oct. 1st. – Bears @ Cowboys
Week Five: Bye Week
Week Six: Sunday Oct. 14th - Cowboys @ Ravens
Week Seven: Sunday, Oct. 21st – Cowboys @ Panthers
Week Eight: Sunday, Oct. 28th – Giants @ Cowboys
Week Nine: Sunday night, Nov. 4th – Cowboys @ Falcons
Week Ten: Sunday, Nov. 11th – Cowboys @ Eagles
Week Eleven: Sunday, Nov. 18th - Browns @ Cowboys
Week Twelve: Thursday, Nov. 22nd – Redskins @ Cowboys
Week Thirteen: Sunday night, Dec. 2nd – Eagles @ Cowboys
Week Fourteen: Sunday, Dec. 9th – Cowboys @ Bengals
Week Fifteen: Sunday, Dec. 16th – Steelers @ Cowboys
Week Sixteen: Sunday, Dec. 23rd – Saints @ Cowboys
Week Seventeen: Sunday, Dec. 30th – Cowboys @ Redskins
With everyone's mock drafts out, it seems most people have the Cowboys taking Dre Kirkpatrick at fourteen. But is that the right choice? The Cowboys did sign Brandon Carr, and people are forgetting about Michael Jenkins. Michael Jenkins has been injury prone, but with him entering a contract year, you better believe he is coming to play this year. So with Carr on one side and Jenkins on the other, that's not a bad combination. But whoever is back there in the secondary isn't going to matter without a good pass rush, which is something the Cowboys lack right now.
Aside from Demarcus Ware, there just isn't anyone getting pressure on the quarterback. Jay Ratliff is a great defensive tackle, but he gets double teamed quite a bit since there isn't anyone else besides Ware to generate pressure. They need help. That's why I think in the first round, they should go for a pass rusher. There are a good amount of them in this years draft. The first one that comes to mind is Courtney Upshaw from Alabama. At 6'2" 245 pounds, Upshaw is a very explosive pass rusher, but his run stopping ability is probably the best part of his game. He flows to the ball very well, and has experience in the 3-4 defense. Upshaw should still be around at fourteen, as a lot of mock drafts have him going later in the round.
This is definitley the man they have to draft. They can upgrade the secondary more in later rounds. No need to go after Kirkpatrick or Janoris Jenkins, both of which have character problems. They don't need that here in Dallas. Get Upshaw and improve that pass rush. An average secondary can look like a great one with a great pass rush. Just look at the Giants. The Cowboys aren't far off from a Super Bowl run. Yes I'm serious. Just improve the defense and everything will fall into place.
By Brad Adams
Yes I know. He has one playoff win in his whole career. I get that, but there is one thing that has always bothered me about that statement. I know quarterbacks get all the blame and that it comes with the job, but why is everything Romo's fault? Romo doesn't have one playoff win in his career, the Dallas Cowboys do. See the one thing people don't seem to understand is that football is a team sport, and last time I checked, Romo isn't the team. Romo didn't allow Tom Brady to drive down the field and score the game winning touchdown. Romo didn't block for the field goal team down in Arizona. To be honest if the Cowboys didn't have Romo, this team would have been a lot worse than 8-8. Romo had the best season of his career this year, yet the Cowboys are still mediocre. Romo's stat-line this year: 31 TD, 10 INT, 4184 yards, and a QB rating of 102.5, which was the best of his career. He accomplished this with a below average offensive line. Romo was sacked 36 times this year. That was tied for 6th in the league this past year. There were many times this year where the ball was snapped and Romo was already having to flee the pocket. It just makes the numbers that he put up even more incredible. Romo is not a part of the problem he is a part of the solution. With the emergence of DeMarco Murray, Romo has definitely been better taking care of the ball, which had been a huge knock on him. So lay off the man. He's played great this year and all the pieces are almost in place. Romo and the Cowboys could very well make a run next year. And remember one very important thing: Stats measure an individual. Playoff wins and rings measure a TEAM.