Friday, August 5, 2011

A Preseason Look at the 2011 Dallas Cowboys

Article first published as A Preseason Look at the 2011 Dallas Cowboys on Blogcritics.

Fans of the Dallas Cowboys annoy a lot of folks.  I'm not sure of all the reasons, but some of the things I've heard over the years are complaints about arroganceJerry Jones, and a garden variety of other things, some of which are quite entertaining.

I am a fan, and I have been since the Cowboys first came to town in 1960, hopefully without the annoyance.   

This year, I'm going into the season with the same level of enthusiasm I've had for several other years. Like going on a blind date, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Dallas has never been short of local bashers in the media when the subject is the Cowboys.  During my commute every day, I tune in to local ESPN radio, and I've made some observations about this year's complaints.  

Tony Romo 

Many fans believe this is the "fish or cut bait"* year for the Dallas QB.  When he first relieved Drew Bledsoe in 2006, under head coach Bill Parcells, Romo was viewed as the second coming of Troy AikmanTony Romo picture.  The biggest criticism of Romo over the past few years has been his lack of leadership.  Some optimistic local pundits cite as evidence of a different Romo this year his offseason role in getting the team together for practices during the lockout.  I don't buy the validity of this argument.  It was a role thrust upon him by circumstances, not by an innate and effective leadership style.  It's still wait-and-see.

The Offensive Line

The O-Line of the Cowboys allowed 31 sacks in 2010, and locally, they drew the ire of the "chicken-fried nation"* for the loss of Romo for the season early in the year.  They successfully signed two of their best linemen, Doug Free and Kyle Kosier.  Salary cap issues were the more publicized reasons for letting go of Leonard Davis and Mark Colombo, but certainly their performances on the field made them more expendable than perhaps others.  The line will have a better season than they did last year, barring injury.

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