Lights, Cameras, Cowboys

Overstating the obvious, the theatrics displayed at Texas Stadium in 2006 could cover the entire spectrum of what you'd find at your local movie theater. Nothing is for sure, but scenes of comedy, tragedy, action, horror and gut-wrenching drama are bound to grace the weekly marquee boards in anticipation of the coming attractions.

Bank on this one. There will be no shortage of actors vying for award-winning performances. After a particularly long industry drought, during which no coveted and award-winning hardware has been collected, wildcatting, carnival-barking Jerrel Wayne Jones returns to the spotlight. In a cherished role, he stands ready to resume his title of most hated Director in the League and is a preseason favorite to walk away with the award.

Cowboys' fans, you should relish the stout return of Jones in this leading role. This particular side of Jerry has been lying dormant for too long. The only real splash into the headlines of late has been The Tuna hire, and even those results have been, at best, marginal. Deep down, and truth-be-told, every Cowboys' fan wants to be despised. You do. When the organization is winning and enjoying great success, every aspect of and association with the team becomes reviled and resented by opposition forces. Ah, the good old days. The fan base lives to be equated with League unrest and envy. With Jerry playing the part of Jack Nicholson (Joker) in Batman, "What'll they get a load of us" will be the season mantra.

The rather large plunge into the free agency waters and highly anticipated 2006 NFL Draft provide the precursory backdrop to what could become a magical season. Various members of the local Actor's Guild are poised for post-season nominations led by none other than "I'm Baaaaaaaaack" Owens. The part of Terrell Owens will be played by Terrell Owens, directed by Owens, soundtrack by Owens, nominated by Owens, accepted by Owens and handsomely paid by Jones. The envelope please.

The leading candidate for best actor in a supporting, and critical, role has to be Mike Vanderjagt. Of course Dallas nightlife and total firewater consumption could come into play, but in Big D, it's been way too long when the routine 30-yarder wasn't met with teeth gnashing and hand wringing. There exists a certain comfort level knowing a veteran, proven and accurate sidewinder will be sent out to attempt upright victory. Larry Allen's departure also bodes well for Vanderjagt. It has to bring a sense of relief knowing LA has returned to his Bay roots, and there isn't a qualified trench mate to go grill-to-grill with Vandy after a chip-shot miss. The confrontation would be a most difficult task to execute from crutches or a walker.

Say what you will about the overall quality and talent of these working-class thespians, the "house of cards" remains the offensive line. As much splash, pomp, circumstance and headlines garnered by the free agency signings, priority #1 heading into the off-season still remains the top priority. Either the organization knows something no one else seems to understand, or the 2006 Draft strategy is staring all in the face like the worst kept sorority house secret. Not sure about you, but Kyle Kosier and Jason Fabini don't exactly send shivers down the spinal column or evoke fear in the opposition. One thing is very, very clear, and that being there is enough ammo and firepower to go to battle, but if the Cowboys cannot control trench warfare and keep field general Bledsoe upright, all is for naught. Any spillover or deficiency of this nature you do not want emanating to #81. For if it does, your shot at the golden Oscar immediately turns into pursuit of the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate.

The headliners, led by LeCharles Bentley and Steve Hutchinson, are gone. Cap money remains for purchases, but it appears the organization is willing to roll the dice on productive rehabs (Adams and Rivera), second year maturity, development and competition (Petitti and Fabini), and the dreaded two-headed monster and tag team at center (Gurode and Johnson). Call it outright pessimistic, but there is no comfort and joy derived from this assemblage. Without significant upgrades up front, this team is still built on a defense first, keep-it-close philosophy. The ultimate Parcells' Modus Operandi. While not remotely sexy, the selection of big, ugly Jean Max-Gilles (especially with a move down or out of the first round) would be most welcomed.

Make absolutely no mistake about it, absent a bone fide offensive line; Terrell Owens helps offset the blemishes. He, alone, will keep defensive coordinators accountable and sleepless. His presence on the flank helps open things up without having to stunt or double assist inside. All the complimentary skill positions will benefit from Owens' arrival, but probably none greater than the person carrying the ball. This, undoubtedly, will suit Bill Parcells just fine, and it most likely led to his endorsement of Owens, but the Cowboys need to be careful. It's assumed this style of play could have a major impact on Owens and could lead to discernment. The sooner Parcells makes his playmaker realize this, but even more importantly, accept it, will be the first real litmus test on what to expect from the tremendously-gifted, yet highly-volatile wide receiver. And this is the very reason Jerry Jones pays Parcells the big bucks.

Thus, heading into the Draft, the Dallas Metroplex and Cowboys Nation are buzzing. The way it should be, and there will be no shortage of headlines from now until next January. Fasten your seatbelts as it's bound to be a wild and tumultuous ride. There's so much to look forward to ranging from the first Philly contest to reuniting with Keyshawn in Carolina, and while it all makes for great theatre, no one is more willing to sell you a ticket to the proceedings than Jerell Wayne Jones. Jerry has his sights set on returning to Spielberg and Coppola status. If Jeff Ireland can somehow walk away with the coveted "Achievement in Cinematography" award, and the Cowboys steer clear of "Brokeback Receiver" fame, it could finally be a prosperous year at the awards podium.

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