Friday, December 31, 2010

Cowboys Tweet-bag!

Let's answer some tweets as we head into Game 16 with very little yet to learn about the 2010 Dallas Cowboys:

#1 - Tweet from @joncapezzuto:

"Based on current records, how would a win (or loss) this weekend change the Cowboy's first round draft position next year?"

This is the one that I have been asked by everyone. Where are we in the draft? Ah, the joys of 5-10!

Anyway, here is the situation for the Cowboys. They currently stand at #7, and although this kind of talk is usually ridiculed by someone like me, allow me to tell the truth; Nothing would be worse than the Cowboys winning on Sunday! It would surely knock the Cowboys out of #7, perhaps all the way out of the Top 10. Given the lack of "Blue Chips" at the top of the 1st Round, I would definitely say that this is no time to pull off the biggest upset of your season. Trouble is, the Eagles won't be pulling out all of the stops either, so I don't know what to expect.

Here is how the 1st Round looks right now:

1. Carolina, locked in, 2-13
2. Denver, 4-11, H - San Diego
3. Cincinnati, 4-11, A - Balt
4. Buffalo, 4-11, A - NYJ
5. Arizona, 5-10, A - SF
6. San Francisco, 5-10, H - Arz
7. Dallas, 5-10, A - Phil
8. Houston, 5-10, H - Jack
9. Detroit, 5-10, H - Minn
10. Cleveland, 5-10, H - Pitt

As you can see, great news at #5 and #6 as Arizona and San Francisco play eachother. Someone has to win! Otherwise, very few candidates for wins on this list above Dallas. So, I would be shocked if they get any higher than #6. But, #6 is a reasonable spot to be in this draft. You just want to hope that 2 QBs go before you pick, so the odds of Nick Fairley or Patrick Patterson sliding down to you improve.

#2 - Tweet from @blackhat4444

"what kind of draft pick could we get for mbIII and could Columbo be an effective guard now that he has lost a step or two?

Unless I misunderstood this tweet, I believe Blackhat4444 wants to know what sort of pick Marion Barber would bring back. I don't believe they could get any pick back for Barber. He will get a chance to play next year, but not for his contract he presently has. According to my numbers, he is on the books for: 2011: $4.25 million, 2012: $5.75 million, 2013: $6.25 million, 2014: $7 million. Nobody is trading a sack of footballs for that deal.

As for moving Colombo, after seeing the Cowboys attempt to move a CB to Safety this year, I hesitate to think too optimistically about their ability to have a guy play a position he has not played in a very long time (if ever). I realize replacing Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo in one offseason is asking a bit much, but I think that is what the Cowboys need to consider. One thought on that front that I might have is that I think the Cowboys are comfortable with Doug Free at Right or Left Tackle, so if they find either one in the draft in the Top 2 picks (6 and 38?) they have one tackle who is good enough and versatile enough that they don't have to worry too much on that front.

#3 - Tweet from @flact75

"my question, do cowboys use high pick to trade for more picks?"

Well, sir, my first instinct is yes. Any chance you have to collect more picks seems like the smart play when you are a team with many needs. I think the Cowboys could use secondary (2) help, defensive line help (2), and offensive line help (2). So, when you have that many needs, you try to spread your eggs out to a few baskets.

However, we have a few mitigating circumstances. Assuming the CBA is what it is, we have seen very few teams with high picks able to trade down because nobody wants the insane top-of-the-draft deals that we have seen in the last several seasons. These guaranteed money deals are the last thing that teams want, and it shows.

Now, to another big reason - the Cowboys don't seem very good at trading down. I will never forget the 2004 trade down when the Cowboys had their arms folded with deep satisfaction because Buffalo wanted JP Losman and the Cowboys could trade back from #20 to #42 and pick up an additional #1 (Marcus Spears). Well, they passed on Steven Jackson and grabbed Julius Jones. At the time, they thought the group of RBs in that range (Jackson, Jones, Tatum Bell, Chris Perry, and Kevin Jones) were "all the same". Trouble is, they weren't all the same and Jackson was the 1st to go and clearly the best. Also, Spears never played like a 1st Round pick, and the trade ended up failed.

Then, in 2009, they did it again - although not as painfully - another trade down with Buffalo. This time, Buffalo offered picks #75 and #110 to the Cowboys for #51. The Cowboys wanted WR or OL, and when Max Unger was drafted at #49, the Cowboys wanted to drop out and get more picks. Well, Buffalo took a Guard at #51 with that very pick - Andy Levitre, and he has started every single game since he was picked. A few picks later, Minnesota took Phil Loadholt, New England took Sebastian Vollmer, and the Giants grabbed William Beatty - all 3 are tackles who could start here.

Meanwhile, with #75 the Cowboys took Robert Brewster and with #110 they grabbed Victor Butler.

They just aren't very good with the trade downs.

#4 - Tweet from @Jphillips4

"should the cowboys stay in a 3-4 scheme?"

You know, this is a very good conversation and one that I suppose will depend on who the coach of this thing is. Scheme is something you don't want to jerk around too much in this league, and when you start to fill your roster with guys who are good in the 3-4, you better make sure you no longer believe it is viable before you shut it down.

I am as concerned as anyone about the way the 3-4 has looked for the most part for the last several years. Last year things fell into place, but for the most part, the 3-4 has been plenty of DeMarcus Ware success, and otherwise, it just doesn't seem to showcase the skills of many of the other defenders. Not enough pressure on the QB from the other flank, not enough takeaways. No DEs have separated themselves from the pack, and the middle LBs (Aydele, Thomas, Brooking) always look exposed.

I guess it comes down to the coaching decision. 3-4 is a nice concept, and many teams in the NFL use it very well. But, in Dallas, I can't say I am married to it. I guess I would ask 2 questions: 1) could Ware be as successful in the 4-3? and 2) how can I get the most out of Jay Ratliff? DE in the 3-4? DT in the 4-3? I need him to be special, not pretty good.

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