King for a Day

This off-season stuff is great. A time when wishing and fishing are reality.

With Valley Ranch mostly empty the last couple of weeks, the staff scouting the Senior Bowl and the upper brass certainly attending the Super Bowl, I've decided to pass right over the title of Editor of the Ranch Report and make myself King for a Day. King of what, you ask? Let's say the King of Wishful Thinking.

Let's see, these are my rules and no one can disobey or ignore them or face guillotine certainty. Now, that is King for a Day. You don't like it? Off with your head! I'm digging this stuff already. As I walk the corridors and locker room of Valley Ranch, I'm compiling a list "King Do's." Every name plate signifying personnel offices or player lockers is triggering thought patterns of unprecedented significance.

Might as well as start at the top. What the heck is this wall mural? Upon further inspection, that's no wall mural, it's Jerry's name plate, plaque, wall hanging, memorial, whatever! The size isn't for his name so much as it is to adorn all his majestic titles. Oh good, these monikers are magnetic-like and removable. There's so many here he couldn't possible miss one, right? "General Manager," I'll just take that until Troy gets his permanent office down the hall. Thanks Jerry, you're a better man than most thought. See how easy this is?

Jerry's out and Troy's in. I could basically retire right now! Peasants of the Cowboys' Nation, come, bow before me and kiss the ring! This is way too much fun, so I can't stop here.

Stephen, Jerry Jr., Charlotte , Marilyn Love, Kelli Finglass…..keep going, it's all good so far. Ah, Ron Spain. Love me some Ron Spain, but fresh ideas are always welcomed. Let's see, he swiped the Ranch Report magazine concept and parlayed the long-time Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly (newspaper format) into a shiny and glitzy "knock off" called the "Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine." Nice look, terrible title. All the same, it's time for Ron to find something else to do, so it's off with the Spain nameplate. Lookie here, I just happen to have my own trusty Roy Philpott magnet in my pocket. Yeah, now that looks nice. What's that I hear in the background? Subscribers just doubled? Mr. Lansdale and Fish can have the spacious cubicles, and I'll hole up in the utility closet. Sweet. Ammonia for everyone!

Capology and contracts, fine. Desperado's football and other duties as assigned, fine. Marketing, Promotions and Sales, fine. Ruler of the Kingdom (Marilyn Love), fine. Cheerleaders? Come on, King's don't mess with perfection, and Kelli has solidified her Ring of Honor existence. What's this? Wade Phillips, Head Coach. Not sure, but it looks like Wade's desk is piled high with self-help books and audio CD's. Bet he can't wait to get back to The Ranch. Hmm, "Leadership Personality Changes for Dummies," I bet that's a torturous read! It may not be the "read" that gets him, but the implementation piece might be a dicey proposition. Let's save good old Wade the trouble.

Jerry did make Wade get rid of "right hand man" Brian Stewart, right? Well, that's convenient. The Defensive Coordinator position is magically vacant? Not anymore. Wade, welcome back to familiar territory! Sorry we couldn't work out that playoff record drought thing, but time is a wasting. You have seen that Taj Mahal I built over there in Arlington, right? Here's your headset, now make sure DeMarcus continues to like you. That DeMarcus guy, we need him. Long-term!! Wade, if it's you or DeMarcus, then I guess Bum Daddy gets a new ranch hand. No offense Wade, it's just business.

Screeching halt. Jason Garrett, Offensive Coordinator. Yeah, they sure got that "offensive" part right. Coordinator? Coordinator of what? Island of the Misfit Toys? Ain't nothing coordinated about this group of "me firsts." Ah, maybe I better tap the brakes a little here. Not everyone has a personal agenda, but maybe I better round up a few of the guys for a clandestine meeting or two to see who's been naughty and nice. Is Pacman still here? Damn, that would have been some rock-solid advice! Oh, Jason, Jason, Jason, what do we do with you? Problem is I like you. Me thinks you're much better than what we witnessed last year. You are, aren't you? Darn it, Jason, you don't make this easy. I still think you have Heir Apparent abilities, but I'm not sure I can wait that long. When is Jerry due back? OK, you stay put. For another year, but dog gone it, get this thing cranked up again, and tell Barber to stop pouting! Jerry's words can't hurt that bad.

Did I just move Wade to Defensive Coordinator? I did, right? Well, let's see here. Paioli hasn't signed Shanahan yet, has he? Lord knows if Josh Daniels can take over a Pat Bowlen team, then almost anyone can do this gig, right? Oh, that's what a certain someone said after Jimmy's departure! Who owns that brilliant proclamation? One of 500? Was Switzer even in the top 1500? Whoa, what a bad memory that is. Can Troy and Shanahan make this thing work and get Boss Hog back on the Lombardi presentation podium? I'm thinking they can, but is there a better, long-term fit out there? There's no doubt Troy and Jason could work amicably together, but are they too close? What's the area code for Gainesville, Fla.?

Now that guy and Tom Ciskowski could be a magical combination! For years to come! He did just win his second Gator-bait, crystal trophy, didn't he? How many did Jimmy have? Thought so. Urban, ever seen the "Y'All Mahal" over in Arlington? How does "home" sound to you? Awesome. Don't worry; your recruits will be just fine. Ask Saban and Coach Fran (Dennis Franchione); you'll be fine. How ‘bout some BBQ?

Hey Marilyn, give Dan Reeves a call and thank him tremendously for his historical contributions to the Dallas Cowboys, and let him know we love him. Love him, not need him. We ain't doing this "consulting" thing. Consult this. I'm the King!

Ahhh, the hallowed locker room. Wow, this place kind of ... reeks. What is that smell? Must be Wide Receiver Alley! Yup, that's what it is alright. If only the whole lot could be gathered, bound and shipped out! Yes, I said out. The instant reaction should be, and rightfully so, "What are we going to do with nobody?' Great question. This bunch, depending on who you believe and listen to, is potentially toxic. My philosophy, as setback as it might be, is when in doubt, remove it all. No offense, but I have, as a fan and objective viewpoint, said, over and over, No. 81 must go. There is no "comfort" there.

You heard the same person proclaim, "He must be kept." True, only because the alternatives have NO appeal. Jerry's intent was good. It really was. Try your best to bargain for someone, mid-season, you've been targeting for a couple of years now. Great and I mean great, philosophy, but terrible target. Not only is the "target" in question, but the mouth is running a close second. Honestly, who deemed Roy Williams the official spokesman or sound bite for the Dallas Cowboys?

Ever since he arrived, he is the "go to" guy for a quote or position statement of the team. My only question is, "Why?" Roy suddenly is the resident expert on team matters without only 10 games, and less than 200 yards receiving, under his belt? See, this is the leadership matter, first hand. Any "in charge" player or authority figure would have already walked up to the Cowboys acquisition and said, "Roy, shut the hell up! Now!" His proclamation that he was given only one pattern to run the entire year is preposterous, and even more so, if true, he failed at mastering one pattern! Miserably! Somehow I think this is a sign of things to come and not some aberration. Those that "know" him, are starting the creep out and profess the Cowboys are going to be sorry this move was ever made. There were better options!! We can only hope Dr. Ray Sherman is the cure for all that ails Roy.

That ladies and gentlemen, is the biggest toxic waste dump and cesspool plaguing the Dallas Cowboys; the wide receivers.

Walking around the remainder of the lockers instills hope, creates assessments and raises questions about a few select guys and positions. Off-season, free agency movement will be key. Do we lose Canty, Burnett, Thomas, Spears and select others? Each of the three levels on the defensive side of the ball could present some low-cost buying options or Draft needs. One way or the other, especially with the stockpile of Draft selections, I would love to see this organization position itself to jump up and grab a big-time, big-promise safety. We need a dominant presence here for many reasons. To have an Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu or Brian Dawkins-like player would be very special. Tone-setters.

I have stopped in front of one locker, and it has caused a long, concerned pause. Have I reviewed the Trainer's report of late? Closely enough? What is the exact condition and prognosis of one Matt McBriar? This one is worrisome and open-ended. No one has given this injury its just due. This was a multiple break to an appendage on which he makes his living and a field position changing weapon for the Cowboys. Stop-gap measures in the special teams' arena are fine for the short-term. No way can the Cowboys turn the 2009 corner without their Pro Bowl punter.

The last thing I'm going to leave behind is when addressing "depth," error on the side of speed at every juncture. Speed is a wonderful way to cover up some cosmetic flaws of hallowed game. We all remember that "Felix guy," right? The potential offensive Rookie of the Year before exiting the season with numerous injuries. Like McBriar, here is another recovery to keep a very close eye on. That aside, we need more burners of Felix's caliber. This, and no one gets on this team without a commitment and dedication to playing special teams like it was the last thing they would do in mortal life!

Alright, time to go, as I hear "big shoes" returning to the quiet complex. Let's see who notices the changes or who remains oblivious. The latter can be "run" at any time, and I'm still King for the day!

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