Just a couple years ago, the Dallas Cowboys fielded a defensive secondary that consisted of Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Gerald Sensabaugh and Abe Elam. After seeing poor coverage ability, a lack of turnovers and utter confusion amongst...
Just a couple years ago, the Dallas Cowboys fielded a defensive secondary that consisted of Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Gerald Sensabaugh and Abe Elam. After seeing poor coverage ability, a lack of turnovers and utter confusion amongst the group, Jerry Jones vowed to transform that unit into a product that could go out onto the field and not get completely torched and embarrassed.
In life there are times where we notice things a year or two too late, and that's exactly what the Cowboys did with their secondary. Things weren't getting any better but they continued to ignore it and just kept moving forward with what they already had.
Jones opened his wallet for Brandon Carr, but he then got out his war room trading chart and scooped up the prospect they had rated as the best defensive player in the draft in LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Throw in a promotion to Barry Church and when healthy that unit looked a lot different from the previous secondary.
Seeing Jones take a leaky secondary and invest the dollars and draft picks it required to get the results that became necessary gave me hope that he would possibly do the same with the offensive line in 2013.
You could make a strong case that the Cowboys needed to start investing more in that area last year or the year before, and I would strongly agree with you on that front. But with their investment resources used on the secondary dried up, Dallas was left to field another average offensive line with journeyman, undrafted players and low-level free agents. Only one player on the team held a high pedigree and that was 2011 first-round pick Tyron Smith.
The line can't be blamed for all of the failures the Cowboys' offense had in 2012, but it's a smart bet to pick them as one of the main culprits.
Tony Romo was sacked a career-high 36 times last year. Pressure from the outside was problematic, but the real source of the trouble came from the interior of the line. According to Pro Football Focus, in 2012 the Cowboys were the 26th ranked pass blocking unit in the league. We've always preached about giving Romo more time. If he actually had that time, the offense would run a lot smoother.
Perhaps the biggest issue last year was the stagnant and stale running game. Romo made the passing game work when he had to, but there wasn't much he could do to jump start a ground attack that ranked second-to-last in yards per game (79.1), 30th overall in yards per carry (3.6) and 27th overall with eight rushing touchdowns.
With all of this in mind, Dallas entered the draft with what seemed to be a focus on offensive lineman. Free agency wasn't going to be an option for them, they didn't have the money at the time to splurge on guards, but there were some reports out there that the Cowboys had interest in Eric Winston and Tyson Clabo. Because of their handicap in free agency, they knew that the draft would have to be the means for them to acquire more talent.
I won't go into detail about what happened before the Travis Frederick selection anymore because that wasn't how I would have handled it, but it's hard not supporting the decision to add a Wisconsin center whose best attributes include superior strength and intelligence. Those are the type of skills that should fix a lot of the issues that we saw from the Cowboys in the middle of their line the last few years.
But the question remains, why only add Frederick to solve all of the problems you had up front last year? After seeing the now infamous leaked draft board, it appeared that Dallas wasn't very high on any of the other offensive lineman that were available for them to select.
So what does that say for the lineman left on the roster? From my perspective, it looks like the organization is willing to let coach Bill Callahan have another year to implement his type of blocking scheme with the lineman he inherited. Maybe the Cowboys believe that more coaching from Callahan and another year of experience will elevate the offe