THUNDERING BLURB » dallas cowboys http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Shock And Awe: The Winners and Losers for Day 1 of the 2009 NFL Draft http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/shock-and-awe-the-winners-and-losers-for-day-1-of-the-2009-nfl-draft/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/shock-and-awe-the-winners-and-losers-for-day-1-of-the-2009-nfl-draft/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2009 04:36:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=431 It’s a little bit folly to try and really declare winners and losers for a draft that isn’t even finished, much less a day old. Players haven’t even stepped on a NFL field yet, and some may not pay off for several years to come, forget this season.

Still, by the end of Saturday, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to examine some teams who have ended up looking smart and others….

Well, not so much.

So with the realization in mind that we still don’t know everything – here are the teams who made our jaws drop, though not always for good reasons.

The Shock

Oakland Raiders
Maybe Al Davis and his Raiders will prove us all wrong, but right now their draft can be summed up in an exchange I saw between Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times (where the Raiders once resided) and Raiders beat writer Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (which is close to Oakland i suppose).

Farmer: Why were the Raiders reaching like that in the second?

Jones: They reach because that’s what they do.

They weren’t going to go offensive tackle, despite the need, because that’s not really the Raiders way.

And I knew they weren’t going to grab Crabtree, whether or not he was the best wide receiver on the board at the time. Crabtree’s lack of timed 40 speed made it impossible because Davis is crazy for speed like the bird in that cereal commercial is coo-coo for cocoa puffs.

But I never thought he would bypass Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, who had the speed and a more developed game. I’m a little nonplussed.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish Heyward-Bey a failed career and he will probably turn out ok. But picking him up at 7, when they could have traded back and picked him later?

That’s just not achieving maximum value.

Worse, the team manages to follow it up with an even bigger reach in choosing Ohio Safety Michael Mitchell, a guy most people didn’t even have ranked in their drafts much less the second round.

Mitchell also may develop into a solid player, but right now he looks like a workout warrior and a huge reach as the third safety off the board behind Patrick Chung of Oregon and Louis Delmas of Western Michigan.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a player. It’s another to waste a pick five rounds early.

The Raiders have five picks on Sunday, two in the fourth round. They can recover, given the tremendous value still on the board, but if they keep picking like this, they might as well throw darts at a list on the wall.

Dallas Cowboys
How can I say it’s a bad draft when they didn’t draft anyone?

Bad enough the Cowboys didn’t have a pick for the first round due to last year’s wheeling and dealing, but they then traded out of the second.

Meanwhile, value continued to tumble by them in the form of solid safeties, wide receivers and defensive ends.

Maybe it’s not bad in the sense the Raiders draft was on Saturday but it’s shocking to watch the usually wheeling Cowboys nuetered and missing out on the value on the board.

Cleveland Browns
The Browns made a big move back when the Jets traded for the fifth pick and Mark Sanchez (more on that in a minute) and were poised to grab some great value all day long.

Instead, they kept moving backwards accumulating more and more picks. And when they did spend them, it’s questionable whether they took the best value on the board.

I can’t argue with the selection of Alex Mack. The center from Cal is a versatile lineman who can work at almost any position along the line. And Brian Robiskie is a polished, fast receiver who runs a solid route tree and will contribute early, especially if Braylon Edwards is traded on day two.

But the Browns can’t rush the passer and need a linebacker or top flight defensive lineman.

I say need because while Mack is a great center, USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga as well as Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitus were on the board still.

Maualuga was in fact still on the board when Robiskie was picked. While offensive line and wide receiver were needs, the pass rush was a bigger one and with several very good linebackers on the board, the Browns chose to fill less important needs.

They also bypassed shoring up their need at cornerback by letting Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith sneak away as well.

And as much as I think Hawaii defensive end/linebacker convert David Veikune will be a good upside pick, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was a luxury, especially behind the Robiskie pick.

Massaquoi may become a good possession receiver down the road, but they could have grabbed a corner, safety or even replace Winslow at tight end.

For a team with so many holes who is rebuilding, it seems like they filled few of them with four picks in the first two rounds.

The Browns have four more picks on Sunday – one in the fourth and three in the six. Lots of defensive talent remains on the board and I hope they can recover from a lackluster day one.

The Awe

New York Jets
Jet Nation is a tad split over the selection of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, especially given the talent that slid out of the first round and through the second. But when you look at the price they paid, it’s more than reasonable for a possible franchise quarterback.

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff and safety Abram Elam were players who in all likelihood would get cut before camp or in Ratliff’s case, clearly hadn’t impressed the new regime all that much.

Aside from that, adding the second rounder to a swap that spanned twelve spots between first rounders is a marginal price to pay.

The Jets have put themselves in a position where they cannot make many mistakes on day two though. They have four more picks on Sunday spread across four of the five rounds.

As I said with the Browns, there are many value picks to be had but the Jets have to be conservative to a great extent. They already rolled their dice once and that’s as much as they can risk.

Detroit Lions
I will openly admit – and it’s a shock to nobody who has read my work the last few months – that I do not agree with the Stafford pick. It’s not an awful pick – just not one I believe had to happen this year.

Yet, Stafford could develop into a nice franchise quarterback and he is far from awful. While I may not agree with the strategy to rebuild the franchise, it’s a solid pick.

On the surface, Brandon Pettigrew at 20 made me wince as well. But, like Stafford, Pettigrew is considered the top at his position and on top of it, he’s a tremendous blocker.

He’s no offensive tackle but he will be able to stay in and protect Stafford. A pick that is more shrewd than i gave it credit for at first. As Stafford and the oline get better, Pettigrew can release and become more of a pass catching tight end.

Finally, hard hitting cornerback Louis Delmas. Again, top at his position. And Delmas is the type of hard nosed player who could help give this defense a personality – something it greatly lacks.

The Lions are looking to become more physical on the defensive side of the ball and Delmas will bring that in spades. They also need some help in the secondary and this fills that hole.

Three picks. Three players arguably at the top of their class. They may not have filled all their needs but the ones they did fill were given top talent.

With five picks on day two, including the first in round three and another later the same round, the Lions stand to pick up some very good value. They could easily pull someone like Jarron Gilbert or Michael Johnson to help fill the defensive line hole, pick up the top guard on the board in Duke Robinson or even a decent tackle like South Carolina’s Jamon Meredith.

New England Patriots
The rich get richer. And richer. And richer.

How the organization ended up with the same amount of picks they started with, but also an embarrassment of riches in players is beyond me, but that’s how they end up being the great team they are every year.

Four picks in the second and every one a value.

Patrick Chung, second best safety in the class brings some thump to the secondary and will make receivers pay dearly.

Defensive tackle Ron Brace got overlooked a bit with BJ raji getting the love at Boston College, but will stuff the run as good as anyone in the draft class and is likely to take over for Vince Wilfork at the nose tackle.

Darius Butler, one of the top corners in the draft, probably won’t start this coming season but will take over in the aging secondary within the next year or two.

And while Sebastian Vollmer is a project for the offensive line, he will develop into a nice right tackle and used to play tight end, so he has the versatility to move around for trick plays if need be.

And, oh by the way – they have seven more picks. By the end of the draft they may have multiple picks for next years draft as well.

Before I let you go, dear reader, here are a few teams I am on the fence about. Tomorrow could be pivotal for them.

San Francisco 49ers: One pick, but what value. But you better build on Crabtree use your remaining six picks wisely.

Houston Texans: Methodically took care of two key needs with picks of USC LB Clay Matthews and DE Connor Barwin. Six more picks to shore up the corners and get a back to compliment Steve Slaton.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Almost made the Awe list, but as much as I loved watching them grab two very good offensive tackles in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, passing on Crabtree and Maclin and then a host of good defensive line prospects makes me wonder if last season’s Oline injury woes didn’t get in their head too much.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did you really need to leap up and pay the price you did to move a few spots? Especially since nobody in front of you was likely to grab your choice of Josh Freeman? Six picks on day two and like the Jets you’d beter make them count. Unlike the Jets though, your new franchise quarterback is a far bigger project and has more question marks.

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Three Up, Three Down – TO released by Cowboys http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/three-up-three-down-to-released-by-cowboys/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/three-up-three-down-to-released-by-cowboys/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2009 07:10:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=411 Well folks, by the time you East Coasters awaken, we’ll know for sure, but it looks like Terrell Owens has finished wearing out his welcome in Dallas and he will have been officially released.

The news broke during a conversation I was having with Jared Faree and Raymond Summerland on What’s Your Fantasy show and I said it then – TO was NOT the only problem here, but was the biggest target.

How bad was that locker-room that the Cowboys just cut a huge weapon (leaving them with Roy Williams who has failed multiple times to do before)? That they will eat tremendous cap money? That they will just flat out look foolish?

Where will TO land? The Ravens wanted him once. Braylon Edwards is rumored to be trade bait and expendible though TO isn’t Mangini’s type. That’s off the top of my head. Someone will take their chances. TO was incredibly productive during his Cowboy career. He will land somewhere, likely when someone gets hurt in OTAs or Training Camp. He will be good for a year or so and then maybe ride off into the sunset.

The Cowboys are a mess. They are talking about Felix Jones taking more carries from Barber and returning him to the role he had with Julius Jones. Their WR core is a fat question mark. Trading Anthony Henry away for a second string QB. The coaching is suspect.

What is next for the Cowboys? We’ll have to see if the impact amounts to a relaxation of the clubhouse or if it’s going to cause more chaos.

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MAYHEM IN THE NFL – Free Agency continues http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/02/mayhem-in-the-nfl-free-agency-continues/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/02/mayhem-in-the-nfl-free-agency-continues/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:35:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=404 So I spent a chunk of the day away from the computer for family stuff and what happens? Trades. Misinformation. Chaos. Love it.

Let’s go over some of the bigger points.

  • Rumors abounded yesterday that there was more to the Mike Vrabel to Kansas City than appeared at first blush. Well, those were on target. Matt Cassel will be accompanying him west. Earlier this off-season, I franchised tagged Tony Gonzalez in a Dynasty league and man am I happy about that now. Cassel should make Tony G, Dwayne Bowe and the rest of the offense very happy. Now the Chiefs desperately need to shore the Oline up and you can bank on an OT going with their 1st round pick.
  • By the way, rumors are also swirling that Denver QB Jay Cutler is on the trading block due to three way trades that Detroit and Tampa Bay tried to swing to get Cutler and have Cassel go to Denver. When I want to know what is going on in Denver I check with Cecil Lammey over at Footballguys and Denver’s 104.1 the Fan. He texted me that the Broncos DID NOT try to trade Cutler. Lammey says the were not shopping Cutler at all. Now do I think they listened to the trade offers that came their way? Sure, why wouldn’t they? But I can’t imagine for a hot second they would replace Cutler – who is proven – with Cassel who is nowhere NEAR as proven. Cassel can play – but why trade for him when you have Cutler. It’s a mess but again – Cecil says Denver is NOT looking to shop Jay Cutler. I know ESPN is saying otherwise, but frankly it sounds like story creating to me. Between Lammey, Shefter and the Donkeys themselves, I will take their takes over an often inconsistent ESPN.
  • Where in the world is TJ Houshmandzedah? Heading into Sunday (aka day 3) Housh is still without a home, having visited Seattle and Minny and reportedly heading to Tampa Sunday. Certainly the market isn’t what he was hoping for. Ditto Derrick Ward who may end up in Denver, especially if the JJ Arrington signing there really does fall through.
  • Detroit and Dallas revisited their trading ways from the season, swapping Jon Kitna for Anthony Henry. With some questions about Romo’s inconsistencies and a few injuries, Kitna is good insurance. Henry can play well but isn’t fantastic. Still, a new place for him will probably be a good thing.

For a complete list of who has signed where thus far, check out NFLDraftbible.com.

I’ll be back throughout the day tomorrow. Thanks again to Cecil Lammey for responding at a ridonkulously late hour so I could do this post.

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Barber Limited, Witten and TO not speaking http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/12/barber-limited-witten-and-to-not-speaking/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/12/barber-limited-witten-and-to-not-speaking/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2008 17:13:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=370 ESPN aka TO-blow-up-central is reporting that Marion Barber will probably only play a limited role tonight. Which is a fat load of no help, really. He expects maybe a half out of Barber though if Barber plays, I think they’ll run him into the ground. How he’ll hold up is anyone’s guess and hopefully you have other options.

Meanwhile after TO and Witten reportedly almost came to blows Friday, they are now not speaking to each other.

I am telling you, this is a huge worry for me. Sure, you don’t have to like each other to succeed but it really seems that this locker-room is on the verge of meltdown and that could hurt the production. Maybe it won’t, maybe it will. But it has to be a concern.

And you’d have to assume that if they miss the playoffs – heads will roll….

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Marion Barber OUT? http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/12/marion-barber-out/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/12/marion-barber-out/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2008 21:33:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=350 ESPN.com is reporting that Marion Barber is out tomorrow – don’t plug Choice in against a terribly tough run defense for him to have to play well against.

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Thanksgiving Day Games – SEA@DAL http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-day-games-seadal/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-day-games-seadal/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2008 06:10:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=327 Second helpings on the breakdowns go along with second helpings on the games as Seattle travels to Dallas for a helping of whupp-ass. Sorry – can’t help but think this is game two or two in terms of lopsided matchups.

Of course, you can catch the up to date, latest info version on the Fantasy Sports Channel at BlogtalkRadio.com at 7:30amPST/10:30amEST tomorrow. Also you can read the Titan/Lion breakdown by scrollign down the page or clicking HERE.

Here is the breakdown for the Seahawks and Cowboys as of Wednesday night.

SEAHAWKS

Matt Hasselbeck
Hasselbeck is a guy who is looking banged up and assaulted still and it’s been a long season for him. Dallas is not a great secondary but Hasselbeck is still a bit rusty, overthrowing some receivers or just flat out throwing to spots where there were none to begin with. You know it takes a few weeks to get a QB back to form after a long lay-off. Hass is definitely still struggling with that, and you begin to wonder if he will emerge again this season. I highly doubt he will today so avoid him.

Julius Jones
Jones was announced as the starter Wednesday but what does that mean? Not much as he may start the game but not be the chief back. Jones seems to be slipping and doesn’t seem to have any fantasy value at this point. He has fallen out of favor and is not someone to be in your lineup.

Maurice Morris
Morris is a pretty good back and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He may be getting on in years, but he certainly has enough in the tank to be a flex for you the rest of this one. Is he a good play this year? Well, the Cowboys do occasionally allow big plays. However he’s a bit risky for my blood, as the Cowboys have shut down Gore in week 12 and contained Clinton Portis the week before. He might put up some points but I wouldn’t count on it.

Bobby Engram
In a PPR league, Hass-to-Engram used to be money in the bank. Now, like in so many banks, there seems to be some sort of crisis. Engram is not getting the targets he has in the past and while he might turn that around, it’s hard to bet on it at this point and I would try to avoid him this week.

Deion Branch
Hasn’t done enough to warrant being on this list, but thought I would remind you he a) can’t stay healthy and b) has never lived up the hype.Shouldn’t be near your lineup.

John Carlson
Carlson has been up and down of late and isn’t always getting the yards to make him a reliable start. Yes, he got a TD last weekend but I am nervous about tying my TE position to anyone Hass might be throwing to.

COWBOYS
Tony Romo
He’s back! Coming off of a 341/3 TD drubbing of the 49rs, Romo looks like a good bet to repeat the performance on Thanksgiving against a 31st ranked pass defense which has allowed 16 TDs to only 5 INTs. Romo is a lock start this week and probably will end up as one of the top QBs come Monday morning.

Marion Barber
Against the 22nd rush defense, giving up 122 ypg and 10 TDs this season, Barber should have a very good day. Will they spell him with Tashard Choice a little? Probably. But not enough to hurt his value. They will use Marion the Barbarian early and often and he is a great Turkey Day start for your team.

Terrell Owens
While I do not expect a 7 catch 213 yard performance every week, he will probably get back to steady performance. Not only will Seattle get blown up on the ground, but the secondary is vulnerable and while he will drop some passes and have some down games, this shouldn’t be one of them.

Roy Williams
A marginal start, Williams is getting more involved in the pass game as he learns and becomes more comfortable with the playbook, studs (Romo and Witten) around him get healthy and other WRs do not. With Austin gone and Crayton – well, Crayton, Williams will get chances. Just probably not enough for anything more than a #4 Wr performance most weeks. He’s a tad risky for me on Thanksgiving as well, but as a #4 with 3 upside, he might fill the bill.

Jason Witten
Witten is still hampered by that rib injury and it isn’t helping his fantasy prospects that rookie Martellus Bennet has gotten two TDs in two weeks. Often that’s the extent of his targets, but those are TDs once belonging to Witten. I think he gets off the snyde here and resumes his place as one of the better TEs in Fantasy.

So there you have it – grab your Cowboy hats and hop on your horses – the Cowboys should ride to great fantasy points on Thanksgiving! The Seahawks…. well, there’s always next week.

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Late News Note – Witten with cracked rib http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/late-news-note-witten-with-cracked-rib/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/late-news-note-witten-with-cracked-rib/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2008 16:33:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=261 Hey folks – of course saw this RIGHT after the show.

From Rotoworld:

The Dallas Morning News reports that Jason Witten has been diagnosed with a broken rib, but wants to play through the injury Sunday against the Giants.

Witten doesn’t miss games, so he’ll play but let’s see how he practices before we get too excited. He’s one of the – if not THE – top TEs in Fantasy so this is one to watch close.

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Dallas Now Flush with Roy Williamses but short a Pac Man http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/dallas-now-flush-with-roy-williamses-but-short-a-pac-man/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/dallas-now-flush-with-roy-williamses-but-short-a-pac-man/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2008 21:49:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=244 Howdy

Sorry this is a later article than expected – of course I was out on an errand when this got announced. Better late than never…..

From Adam Shefter (and just about every other news outlet now) the Cowboys have acquired Roy Williams from the Lions for a first, third, and sixth-round draft pick.

Frankly, Dallas wildly overpaid. I think Williams can be a great wide receiver and agree he may be a guy they can look to to take over for TO when Owens rides off into the sunset. But those are a lot of picks for a guy who has not lived up to expectations consistently. One might argue at all.

Williams might be happier when Tony Romo comes back from his injury but for now he is stuck with Brad Johnson. Johnson can throw the ball well so Williams will have the opportunity for some long receptions but we can’t go crazy. Even when Romo comes back, he’s #3 in the pecking order behond Owens and Witten. But I will say I have NEVER believed in Patrick Crayton as a realistic #2 option. Williams can be more consistent than Crayton and for now that’s all the Cowboys need.

Overall, this is good (though overly expensive) for the Dallas offense, an uptick in Williams’ fantasy value (from about 0 to 5 out of 10 but still) and a slight ding in TO and Witten’s value as they will lose some targets. Honestly though Williams is a more credible threat than Crayton in my opinion, so maybe Owens will see less double teams. Crayton just became a footnote so go ahead and drop him like he’s on fire.

I can’t help but wonder what Owens’ reaction will be. I mean, he was already complaining about his involvement. Now he has to share with another guy – who frankly has mouthed off on the same subject before.

I feel implosions coming.

Oh, and as to the second news item? The NFL has suspended Cowboys CB Adam Jones indefinitely for violating the personal conduct policy. Jones will miss at least four games. Yeah, didn’t see that one coming way back when the trade happened did you?

If he keeps his nose clean and stops fighting his own bodyguards, he might be able to come back based on a re-evaluation around week 11. But the ‘Boys may have to figure out a solution before then and his antics off the field and mediocre play on it could mean he gets shown the door.

I wish I had a sound bite from the old Pac-Man game of him getting eaten by ghosts. That would sound about right.

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