IRVING, TX -- I Know What The Cowboys Did This Summer -- and I'm still scratching my head over some things, Cowboys and beyond.
Why didn't we work out one more visit from an old New York Giants hand? Sure, the idea of Jim Burt, Lawrence Taylor, Lewis Tillman and Carl Banks serving as special tutors to today's young Cowboys has an appeal. But if Bill wanted to make a really impactful call on an old Giant pal of his, couldn't he have tried Bill Belichick?
Tell me again why did we move to a 3-4? I'm only half-kidding here, because the experiment is a so-far success. But let me run this by you anyway: In part, some folks say, we moved to the 3-4 because it's easier to find linebackers than it is down linemen. Next thing you know, Pro Bowler La'Roi Glover is backing up big-moneyed Jason Ferguson. And first-rounder Marcus Spears is working uphill trying to get time behind Kenyon Coleman. And sack leader Greg Ellis looks like he might be reduced to "pass-rush specialist.'' And rookie Chris Canty has got to play. And rookie Jay Ratliff might oughta, too. And rookie Thomas Johnson did enough to at least earn a Parcells nickname ("Pepper''). And rookie Demarcus Ware would probably succeed wherever he lines up. And what were we saying about how difficult it is to find defensive-line depth?
Why not "show anything''? We kept hearing that the Cowboys didn't want to "show anything'' to Seattle or Arizona because the Cowboys play Seattle and Arizona in the regular season. But didn't Seattle and Arizona have a similar "don't-show-anything'' approach? And if so, why didn't those preseason games end 0-0?
If you're not going to spend big to get a kicker -- and I'm OK with that -- why not at least spend a little to retain the kicking coach that coerced nice kicking performances out of ex-schoolteachers and ex-cab drivers? Wouldn't you feel a lot better about Jose Cortez if you knew he was being tutored by Steve Hoffman?
I can put a once-and-for-all end to the concerns over "offensive'' team mascots. Maybe "Seminoles'' does rub somebody the wrong way. But now, maybe "Hurricanes'' rub even more people wrong. And maybe "Wave,'' "Force'' and "Storm'' do the same. Hey, if a bear mauled my child, it's possible that I sincerely shudder at the mention of the Chicago football team. If my ancestors were raped and pillaged and plundered by Vikings, I might be anti-Minnesota.
And shouldn't the American Indians be offended most of all by mascots like "Rough Riders'' and "Pioneers'' and "Gunslingers'' and yes, "Cowboys''?
Seriously, it's not the nickname that has to be handled differently; just the respect of the people involved. An Indian name can be a mockery (the old Braves' "Chief Noc-A-Homa'' comes to mind) or it can be an honor. Teams should be ordered to be respectful. Of everyone from American Indians to hurricane victims. And that's enough.
The criminal misbehavior of some folks in New Orleans -- the looting, the fighting, the shooting-- is inexcusable, right?
Some of the people left behind in the hurricane disaster are criminals, no doubt. They approach this tragedy as if it's an opportunity. I'll factor that in.
They are, as a friend of mine terms, them, "lowlifes.''
But there are others involved in the looting and the fighting and the shooting who weren't "lowlifes'' until this week. Then they lost their homes. And their hopes. And maybe their loved ones. And now, they are in very literal terms, "lowlifes.'' After all, how much lower can a life get?
Do I envision myself as the type that would steal TVs? Punch someone for a loaf of bread? Shoot at rescue workers? Commit suicide?
No. But most of those people never envisioned themselves that way, either.
What we're seeing in New Orleans, sadly, is a "Lord of the Flies'' phenomenon. Take away food. Take away rules. Take away hope. Take away lives. And you are left with survival-driven anarchy.
And you and I, I'm afraid, might devolve into "lowlifes,'' too.
In the end, netting Peerless Price would seem to be all that matters. One poster on TheRanchReport.com's discussion boards alludes to this, saying that Antonio Bryant got you Quincy Morgan, who is now gone to make room for Price. Nice try, but had the Cowboys properly handled the wide receiver position from the start, this team would have its two 33-year-old starters, Keyshawn and Glenn, being pushed by Bryant (a starter in Cleveland) and the oncoming Clayton AND Price. And the position would seem like an embarrassment of riches rather than what it's been too often lately: just an embarrassment.
Why not add cloth? Parcells said one day that he used to insist that ball-carriers wear cloth on their forearms and elbow areas to increase friction on the ball and thus decrease fumbles. I waited a long time for someone else to ask the logical follow-up question: Why don't you STILL insist on it?
"I might, I might,'' responded the coach, thoughtfully rubbing his chin.
So if the Cowboys reduce their fumbles this year, you can credit TheRanchReport.com.
Why go so naked at quarterback? Maybe only in Chicago is the backup QB situation as rough as it is here. But at least in Chicago, they have an injury to Rex Grossman to blame. Jerry Jones can blather all he likes about how much he's still in Drew Henson's corner. He can blather all he likes about how Tony Romo might have a future as an NFL starter. But when Parcells does a 10-minute press conference detailing excruciatingly all the things Romo CANNOT do -- and repeatedly mentions that Romo "slops it around'' -- I'm left feeling that Drew Henson must suddenly be the worst football player in the history of the planet. This is a line worth repeating: Tony "Slop-It-Around'' Romo (Tony Slop-roundo?!) was elected "vice president'' by default -- because he ran unopposed.