Archive for September, 2011

Week 3 NFL Picks

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I'm looking for some good picks...


This for entertainment purposes only. Take my advice at your own risk as this writer does not have a great track record picking NFL games against the spread.

Last Week 6-9-1

5-star 0-1


Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 vs. San Francisco 49ers: It’s throwback week in Cincinnati as two of the Bengals finest were arrested on drug charges and running back Cedric Benson was suspended for 3 games (Benson is currently appealing the suspension and will play Sunday). The Bengals have an advantage with the early start time and long travel for the 49ers.

New England Patriots -8.5 at Buffalo Bills: Unless the Pats are giving more than 10, they look like a good pick so far. The Bills are better than expected, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to see things he hasn’t seen before on Sunday.

*****New Orleans Saints -4 vs. Houston Texans: The Texans have started fast again and appear poised to run away with the AFC South title. But they haven’t played a team like the Saints yet this year and the Texans’ pass defense was an epic failure last year. They should be better, but the Saints should win by at least a touchdown.

New York Giants +8.5 at Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are going to be overvalued all season long if Vick is able to play. The Giants are banged-up, but have had this game on their minds since last year’s punt return debacle in Jersey. This game should be a one score game.

Miami Dolphins +2 at Cleveland Browns: The Dolphins still can’t win at home. It’s now or never time for Tony Sparano as the vultures are circling in South Florida. Here’s thinking that the Dolphins will rally around the embattled coach and start this season’s road schedule with a win.

Denver Broncos +7 at Tennessee Titans: This pick is purely a play on the Titans surprise last week against the Ravens. This spread wouldn’t have been more than 3 if the Titans lost. It would have been tough to see the Titans as being able to win by more than a touchdown against the Broncos only a week ago. The experienced John Fox will keep his Broncos close enough in this one.

Detroit Lions -3 at Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings will be picked on until they prove that they don’t stink. Simple as that. The Lions could blow them out, but a touchdown victory gets the job done.

Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5 at Carolina Panthers: Battle of the expansion class of 1995. Also there’s a battle between two rookie quarterbacks. The easy pick would be the dynamically impressive Cam Newton with the better offensive weapons around him. But the Jaguars only needs to keep this game close and will grind the clock with their typical plodding attack. Gabbert won’t be asked to do anything extraordinary. Jack Del Rio is another experienced coach, like John Fox, who should defy the wise guys in Vegas this week.

Kansas City Chiefs +14.5 at San Diego Chargers: This is a purely Norv pick. It’s still in Norv’s early season window where his Chargers’ teams do the most inexplicable things. While the Chargers shouldn’t lose, covering more than two touchdowns should be a reach for them, even against the hapless Chiefs.

Oakland Raiders +3 vs. New York Jets: This feels like a slugfest type of game that could go to overtime. The Raiders strength is the running game which means they shouldn’t be attacking the Jets strong pass defense very often. In a game projected to go OT, take the field goal and remember that this game isn’t over until Heidi comes on the TV.

Baltimore Ravens -4.5 at St. Louis Rams: The thinking here is that the Ravens will bounce back with a vengeance against the mediocre Rams. The Rams proved to be a very undisciplined team on Monday night at Snoopy Stadium and the Ravens make teams like this pay in a big way for mistakes.

Atlanta Falcons -1.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Falcons were impressive in their comeback against the Eagles last week and should continue their high quality play this week. The Falcons are a very well-coached team that should be able to take advantage of the young Bucs’ inevitable mistakes. As long as the Bucs don’t have the ball with a chance to win late, the Falcons should cover.

Seattle Seahawks +3.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Hold your nose and pick a team.

Chicago Bears +4 vs. Green Bay Packers: This should be a tremendous game. The Packers defense has, um, struggled against the pass so far this season. The real pick is the over 45 1/2 in this one as these two teams could score into the high 60’s. Look for a big game out of Matt Forte(because he’s not on my fantasy team) and a little redemption for Jay Cutler.

Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 at Indianapolis Colts: The Colts look awful, don’t they? Until the Colts show any life, they won’t be picked.

Washington Redskins +5.5 at Dallas Cowboys: The Redskins probably won’t win, but they don’t need to with the points. This should be one of the most entertaining games between these two teams in a few years as both appear to be on the upswing again. After a horrific week leading up to the 49ers game, Tony Romo spent the last week as the injured hero. He’ll likely play, but expect to see Jon Kitna for a series or two when the Redskins rough up Romo. The Cowboys should win, but not by the touchdown they need.


Texas, Oklahoma, and the ACC Will Not Trigger Four 16-Team Super Conferences

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Only the Irish can trigger monumental realignment


There are a lot of unimaginative people out there who have prophesied about the day when four 16-team super conferences will rule the college landscape. This writer is here to tell you to not believe the hype. There will not be a super conference consolidation Armageddon.

Sure, the ACC is going in the direction of forming a 16-team conference and the Pac-12 is on the verge of becoming the Pac-16. But where is the other “super” expansion going to come from? Each of these conferences actually has an academic mandate as well. The Big Ten, for instance, seeks state universities with high academic standards. That means they won’t be in the market for just any school. Sure, Notre Dame will always have that open invite, but the Big Ten won’t be inviting Louisville or Cincinnati to the party anytime soon.

In fact, the pool of potential Big Ten acquisitions has really shrunk with the Big East defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as both were previously mentioned and, possibly, considered for the Big Ten. Also, if UConn and Rutgers follow those schools to the ACC, then the Big Ten is extremely limited in their ability to expand eastward. Without a potential New York City market school, the Big Ten would be forced to look west.

But what schools would fill the Big Ten’s profile in the West? Possibly Missouri and Kansas. But Kansas would probably require that Kansas State join them as a package deal. That certainly would be a no-go as the Kansas City market isn’t that big to begin with. Remember, the biggest motivation for the Big Ten to expand to 16 would be to add more lucrative television markets. Kansas and Kansas State only bring Kansas City and that is shared with Missouri. As a result, the Big Ten will likely remain at 12 schools, unless they add Missouri and are able to convince Notre Dame to join.

The SEC will be at 13 schools when Texas A&M officially joins the conference. The SEC has already indicated that adding a 14th school will be on the agenda once A&M joins. But the ACC just increased the departure fees for its member schools to $20M and, with a round 16, are probably safe from being raided.

Like the Big Ten, the SEC wants to focus on the large, flagship state universities and land grant schools. Unless Kentucky wants Louisville to join and the SEC makes an exception there, the Cardinals are probably left out of that potential expansion as well. West Virginia is the more likely Big East school to join the SEC, especially if they aren’t included in the ACC expansion. Missouri would be another potential candidate if the SEC wants to continue their western expansion. But for the SEC to get to 16, they would have to take a regional public school, like Louisville or South and Central Florida, or continue to expand west and bring on the Kansas schools with Missouri. See how crazy these scenarios are getting?

What is probably going to happen is that the SEC will find a 14th school to give them two 7 school divisions. The Big Ten will remain at 12 schools for the foreseeable future. The ACC will add two more Big East schools to complete their expansion at 16. The Pac-16 will be formed with Texas and Oklahoma bringing their in-state rivals, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. That leaves the remnants of the Big East and Big 12 to join in either a loose confederation where the two conference champions meet for a BCS bid or the remaining Big East football schools leave for the Big 12. The latter is the more probable outcome.

That would leave a new Big 12 with Baylor, TCU, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. They would probably look to add three more schools to return to the 12-school alignment and qualify for a conference championship game. BYU, Houston, SMU, Memphis, and Central Florida would have to be the leading candidates for the three spots. Long shot possibilities would include Air Force, UTEP, New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV, Wyoming, and Boise State in the West and new FBS school, Massachusetts, and Temple in the East. Those two eastern schools both play in NFL stadiums and would bring exposure in two major metropolitan markets.

If the Big East loses their football schools, that won’t be that bad. The Big East will remain a viable and highly competitive basketball conference nationally, like they were for the first ten years of the league. With Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, Marquette, DePaul and Notre Dame, they would have five schools that competed in last season’s men’s basketball tournament. With eight schools, they could easily expand by one or two and play a full round-robin schedule that is more conducive to college basketball.

Two schools that would have to be on the newly configured Big East’s list would be Xavier and Dayton from the Atlantic 10. Both are private schools and can help bridge the geographical gap between the East Coast and the Chicago region schools. That would leave the Big East as a very formidable hoops league.

While all of the realignment speculation is exciting, there probably won’t be as much as anticipated due to the factors that were laid out.

Week 2 NFL Picks

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Here's hoping these picks are better than Jimmy would have made

This for entertainment purposes only. Take my advice at your own risk as this writer does not have a great track record picking NFL games against the spread.

Chicago Bears +6.5 at New Orleans Saints: There are a few reasons for this pick. First, the Bears already look like they might be winning ugly again. They forced three turnovers last week against the Falcons with a fumble returned by Brian Urlacher for a touchdown. Second, Jay Cutler played well against a decent Falcons defense and the Saints defense doesn’t appear to be ready to stop any passing games yet either. Finally, the Bears are trying to work the karma angle. Julius Peppers reportedly rented a private plane to transport the Bears defense to attend the funeral of Brian Urlacher’s mother in New Mexico. If that doesn’t bring good karma, what will?

Kansas City Chiefs +8 at Detroit Lions: Great matchup. Uh, right. The game could be really ugly, or really ugly. If this one’s close, like I expect, then the scoring should be low and the Chiefs should cover a slugfest. Otherwise the Lions could blow them out like the Bills did last week. I’m looking for a little bit of a correction this week for the 2010 AFC West champs.

New York Jets +9.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Let’s assume that Luke McCown is going to have a world of problems against Rex Ryan’s defense and expect Ryan to load up to stop MJD. The Jets have plenty of offensive weapons to score enough to cover this one. Look for a Blaine Gabbert sighting in the late third quarter.

Oakland Raiders +3.5 at Buffalo Bills: The Raiders shouldn’t hand this one to the Bills like the Chiefs did last week. While the line looks to be begging action on the Raiders, the ability for the Raiders to cover even losing by a field goal is too good to pass up. The Bills had difficulty stopping the run last week until the Chiefs gave up on it. Rest assured, the Raiders won’t stop running on Sunday. Take the points.

Washington Redskins -3.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals: The Redskins were a lot better than most expected last week against the Giants. If you thought Cam Newton looked good last week, wait until Rex Grossman lights up that weak Cardinals’ secondary. Grossman could get off to a similar start to that great one he had in 2006 with the Bears when he looked like the league MVP in the middle of October. Typically, very good to great coaches take their teams from mediocre to playoff-level in the second year. While the Redskins didn’t look like that on paper coming into the season, it’s possible that they can make a run with their relatively weak schedule.

Baltimore Ravens -6 at Tennessee Titans: That line doesn’t look right, does it? This looks like another trap that I’m walking into, but since this is just for fun, I don’t care. The Titans are in the Andrew Luck chase and shouldn’t fall behind in that pursuit this week.

Seattle Seahawks +14 at Pittsburgh Steelers: The figuring on this pick is that the Seahawks should be covering for at least an hour. Also, Pete Carroll should have his boys “jacked up” for this one. That’s the real reason for this pick.

*****Green Bay Packers -10 at Carolina Panthers: (editors note: Beware of my 5-star special) This is the week that Cam Newton comes down to earth. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, you just know that Newton is “eating the cheese” this week after his extraordinary debut. But this is the Super Bowl champs, not the Cardinals. That’s Charles Woodson who just picked you off, Cam. Welcome to the big leagues. Oh, and the Panthers defense will have problems keeping Aaron Rodgers and company under 40.

Minnesota Vikings -2.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Yuck. Not only would I not want to bet this game if I still did so, I wouldn’t even want to watch this if this was the only game on. Hold your nose and hope that Donovan McNabb can get over 100 yards of passing on the season.

Indianapolis Colts +2 vs. Cleveland Browns: Sorry, Vikes and Bucs, I take it back. THIS is the game I don’t want to watch. Kerry Collins will be a lot better this week and the Colts will not go winless without Peyton Manning.

Dallas Cowboys -3 at San Francisco 49ers: There are three reasons why the Cowboys are the pick. First, Jason Garrett has changed the culture around this team and should have them focused and playing well on Sunday. Second, Jerry Jones completely took the pressure off of Tony Romo’s 4th quarter collapse by calling his performance, “maybe the best one he’s had as a Cowboy.” Seriously. Third, the 49ers aren’t very good and aren’t playing the Seahawks this week.

Miami Dolphins +3 vs. Houston Texans: There are two reasons for this pick. First, never take into account how bad a loss is when a team plays the Patriots and Tom Brady is on. Second, never take a Gary Kubiak coached team seriously in back-to-back weeks.

New England Patriots -7 vs. San Diego Chargers: This pick is as simple as Bill Belichick versus Norv Turner. Oh, did I also say that the Hoodie and Tommy Locks have that “On a Mission” look? It could be 2007 redux in Foxboro this season.

Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 at Denver Broncos: The Bengals aren’t that good, but the Broncos shouldn’t be laying over a field goal to the CU-Buffs. Look for Andy Dalton to make a few nice plays and keep the mistakes to a minimum for the Bengals as they keep it close enough to possibly pull out in the end.

Atlanta Falcons +2.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles: The future Super Bowl champs come to the ATL on Sunday. The Eagles ARE going to win the Super Bowl, right? Hold up a minute. Not this week. Everybody is down on Matt Ryan (not here) and talking about how they are in Mike Vick’s house on Sunday night. The Falcons are a very good, professional team that typically plays mistake free ball. Expect to see a crisper performance in the Georgia Dome by the home team and a close, hard fought win with a big game from Ryan.

New York Giants -6 vs. St. Louis Rams: The schizophrenic Tom Coughlin Giants typically start well and end poorly. Last week they got blitzed in DC. Expect the Giants to turn it around after a tough week at practice to beat the Rams without Stephen Jackson.

Categories: Pro Football Tags: , ,

Miami Dolphins 2011 Kickoff Checklist for Success

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment


The Dolphins come into this season as the third wheel of the AFC East. Both the Patriots and Jets are AFC title contenders and the Dolphins are trying to work their way into the conversation. The offseason was a bit tumultuous as the owner started to channel his inner Steinbrenner. On one hand, going 1-7 at home, that kind of reaction would be understandable. But you can’t go halfway in the NFL. If you’re going to move in a different direction with a coach, backtracking isn’t an option. The Dolphins ability, both the coaches and players, to deal with that dynamic is the storyline to this season.



Tony Sparano is the perfect coach to deal his unprofessional, meddling owner

  • Sparano has earned the reputation as a no-nonsense type of coach and it’s helped him gain the respect and admiration of most players and coaches around him. He’s going to need that to fully have the attention and support of his team going into this season. Owner Stephen Ross did give him a 2-year extension, but only after flirting with every big name coach available. Things might be good right now, but what happens if they start 0-2 or, gasp, 0-4? Sparano is tough and has been through a lot as a Parcells assistant, but will the players taste the blood in the water and quit or undermine the coach? Only Brandon Marshall knows.


This needs to be the seasons where Reggie Bush finally puts it all together

  • Bush arrives in Miami with a checkered past since winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. He’s been asked to return the trophy and on the field, he’s rarely stayed healthy enough to play up to his potential. When he has, he’s been a dynamic pass receiver who demands attention from opposition defenses from the beginning of the week when the game plans are put in.
  • He’s never going to be a top runner, but his receiving skills are unique and his ability makes him the best third down back in the league when healthy. The Dolphins will need Bush to complete at least 14 games to have the desired effect on their team this season. He’s a potential 1,000 yard receiver out of the backfield. Along with a pass catching tight end, a great receiving back can do wonders for a quarterback’s development. A healthy Bush will help Chad Henne reach his potential.


Chad Henne has to take the next step to being a reliable NFL quarterback

  • Competition is good, but teams rarely become contenders with a quarterback controversy. For the Dolphins to take the next step and become a contender, Henne must entrench himself as the quarterback of the present and future in Miami. With the addition of Reggie Bush, Henne has two elite targets now with Bush and Marshall. If the Dolphins can develop a steady running game to give the offense needed balance, Henne should be able to navigate the offense well enough to be a top 10-12 offense. That’s what the Dolphins need to win at least 10 games and put them into the playoff hunt.


Season Outlook

The Dolphins are in a tough spot. There are three playoff spots that they can grab, but they have to beat out the Patriots, Jets, Ravens, or Steelers and the rest of the AFC to get one. That’s not easy especially since the Dolphins don’t appear to be Super Bowl contenders and those other teams do. With that in mind, they need to hope for some slippage by one of those teams and to find a way to get to 10 wins. That’s not going to be easy, but a solid 10 win season to go along with the development of Henne into a reliable starting quarterback will set the Dolphins up for an optimistic offseason.

New England Patriots 2011 Kickoff Checklist for Success

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment


The Patriots don’t ever seem to slow down. They were supposed to be rebuilding last season and just won 14 games. But by losing to the Jets in the playoffs, they were exposed as a good but not great team. This year they added a pair of veterans, Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. Both had worn out their welcome with their previous teams, Haynesworth especially. Both will be asked to play a lesser role than they’re typically used to playing and their ability to accept and thrive in those roles could make the difference in the Patriots returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in four seasons.



Keep Tom Brady healthy

  • Every season that Tom Brady has played (i.e. not 2008) the Patriots have won the AFC East, except 2002. While it’s obvious that they need him healthy the one time they lost him they lost 5 more games than the previous season. Not many teams would have that kind of drop off without their quarterback. But Brady also needs to keep the nagging injuries to a minimum as his constant shoulder problems seem to get worse as it gets deeper into the season. One of these days, he’ll end up hurting his shoulder enough where he can’t play.


Albert Haynesworth needs to be a major factor in a part-time role

  • There have been a number of veteran defenders who have played a major role on championship teams while in a part-time role. Haynesworth will most likely play on first and second downs with an emphasis on stopping the run. In his Titans prime, he was a three down player who stopped the run and harassed the quarterback. He’ll get limited opportunities on third down this season. But his role will be similar to Richard Seymour’s role at defensive end. Occupy as many blockers as possible and help the defense shore up a legitimate weakness in run defense. The Pats and Bill Belichick are really counting on him, which might prove to be too much of a risk.


Find somebody or a combination of players to consistently pressure the quarterback

  • The Pats pass rush is similar to the rush defense. The Pats are generally mediocre with flashes of what might be with some of the young players. Belichick picked up two veterans to take a shot at pressuring the quarterback. Shaun Ellis comes over from the Jets and will platoon with Haynesworth, mostly spelling him on passing downs. Also, Andre Carter joins the club from Washington. Carter is intriguing as he has a similar body type and skills as former Patriots situational rusher Willie McGinest. If Carter can provide anything like McGinest provided, the Pats will be in better shape. Also, one of the outside backers needs to step up and provide close to double digit sacks. Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham, come on down.


Season Outlook

The Patriots are going to advance as far as their defense gets better. The hallmark of the Belichick era during the Super Bowl seasons has been the resiliency of the defense. It was their ability to bend, but not break and come up with the game changing play in the clutch that ensured those three championships. This unit needs to step up and play that way. Whether it’s a young front seven player who finds a way to consistently pressure the quarterback or a corner consistently making those Ty Law type of backbreaking picks, this unit needs to be much better than average if they are to beat the Jets in the AFC East and get by the Ravens, Steelers, and Chargers in the AFC playoffs. The sky is the limit for this team, but they could also end up like the past two seasons.

New York Jets 2011 Kickoff Checklist for Success

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment


This could finally be the year that the Jets break through and make the Super Bowl. They’ve lost in the AFC championship game in back-to-back seasons after winning a pair of road playoffs games. Winning the AFC East would lighten the load that would be required to win the conference championship. Mark Sanchez has grown into a top flight pressure quarterback and should be poised to take the next step in his development this season. If he does so, he could be on the verge of joining legendary Jets QB Joe Namath in the bright lights of Times Square.



Mark Sanchez is ready to assume the role of a NFL great quarterback

  • Sanchez proved to be a clutch quarterback, rallying the Jets to late wins over the Lions, Browns, and Texans in consecutive weeks. He’s won two road games in the playoffs in each of his two seasons. Last year, he beat both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in those games. What most people forget is that he’s only in his third season and 24 years old. With the addition of 6’5 Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason to go along with Santanio Holmes, he’s got some pretty good targets to find in the end zone. The Jets will need him to take the next step if they are to finish ahead of the Pats in the AFC East and avoid the Wild Card round.


Revis Island and the Jets dominating pass defense should return to normal

  • The Jets defense, specifically the pass defense struggled for most of the season last year and a lot of that was due to Darrelle Revis’ holdout and subsequent hamstring injury. There weren’t any distractions like that this year and a healthy secondary and the improvement of second year nickel corner Kyle Wilson will go a long way to re-establishing the Jets dominance against the pass. The improvement in the secondary will also help the defensive front get more pressure and sacks on the quarterback with better downfield coverage.


The Jets players are determined to make Rex Ryan look like Nostradamus

  • Well, at least they should be. There isn’t a coach in the league that publicly backs his players as vociferously as Rex Ryan. He’s again predicting a Super finish to the season and one of these years he might get it right. With Sanchez presumably entering his prime and a bunch of solid veterans playing at the other skill positions, the offense should be very good. The defense should be better if Revis is on the field for the whole season just because he’s that great. It’s incredible how much their defense and any defense with a dominant corner relies on that player to take away half of the field and the opposition’s best receiver. A healthy Revis does that and there will be a much better performance this year because he’s healthy.


Season Outlook

The Jets are going to be heading to the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Whether they get the bye week or not will most likely be determined in their two head-to-head matchups with the Patriots. Winning two straight road games is incredibly difficult in the playoffs. Winning three is virtually impossible. The Jets have to find a way to sneak by the Pats in the standings so they won’t have to go on the road again. If they do that, there’s no reason to believe that the Jets can’t end up in the Super Bowl. A matchup with the Packers would be unbelievable.

Dallas Cowboys 2011 Kickoff Checklist for Success

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment


The Jason Garrett era officially begins in Dallas as the redheaded Ivy League alum takes over the reins of America’s Team. The impact has been immediate in Big D. With Garrett’s input, the Cowboys have cut ties with the lackadaisical, uncommitted, out-of-shape underperformers that used to litter the Cowboys roster. Garrett has brought a new energy that the Cowboys hope can translate into this enigmatic team finally reaching their potential and making a playoff run for the first time in 16 years. It won’t be easy, due to depth and experience issues along the offensive line and in the secondary, but it’s tough to count out a team with the offensive skill players the Cowboys have.



The Garrett Effect

  • Garrett took over a 1-7 team last season and guided them to 5-3 in the second half. They played with more enthusiasm and better attention to detail. That carried over into the preseason this year and should be evident during the season. Garrett is very demanding and has conjured up comparisons to being a smiling, nicer version of Jimmy Johnson. An indication of that was the immediate cutting of Leonard Davis after the lockout, the hard-line contract renegotiation with Andre Gurode, and the eventual cutting of experienced and cheap guard Montrae Holland a week before the opener. Holland was cut because he was fat and out of shape and couldn’t practice. He probably would have made the team last year under a different coach. The entire team has been an undisciplined bunch, but that should change with Garrett.


The unpredictable Rob Ryan defense will have some big games (and a few lousy ones)

  • Gone is the Wade Phillips 3-4 defense and in comes Rob Ryan. Ryan will try to utilize new toy Demarcus Ware, lining him up in different spots to try and gain a competitive edge. Others will also be used in a manner to create mismatches designed to cause big plays. This should work most of the time, but nobody has accused the Cowboys secondary of being anything but questionable. While the Cowboys defense will be better overall with an increase in big plays, there will be a fair share of negative plays from blown coverages.


The newer, younger, more motivated offensive line will become strength

  • Garrett has received some critiques for going into this season with such an inexperienced offensive line. Gone are the underachieving Leonard Davis, gimpy Mark Columbo, overweight and increasingly ineffective Andre Gurode and the Garrett statement cut, Montrae Holland. It’s clear that in watching film of last year’s team during the lockout that the Cowboys were looking for any reason to go younger and fitter along the offensive line. Only Kyle Kosier and Doug Free return and Kosier moves from left to right guard. Free was solid at left tackle in his first starting job, top 10 pick Tyron Smith appears to be a future star at right tackle, and the Cowboys picked up a couple of later draft picks that could pan out into something with David Arkin and Bill Nagy. This will be an interesting experiment that could pay off big.


Season Outlook

There isn’t a more enigmatic group in the league than the Cowboys. This team could go 5-11 or 11-5. It’s going to be that unpredictable of a season. But they are so thin in depth almost everywhere that hanging their hopes on good health might be a long shot. But with Romo, Jones, Austin, Bryant, and Witten, the Cowboys can match their skill players against any team in the league. If the line holds up and the defense doesn’t get destroyed, this should be a good season. Trying to be a little optimistic, if they can stay healthy, the Cowboys SHOULD be a 10-win team. If that happens, there will finally be some optimism for the future as the Cowboys look to finally have a head coach who is has a strong personality, but is willing to step back and give the owner credit when things go well and take the heat when they don’t. Jerry Jones might have finally found his life partner, um, head coach.