Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dallas Cowboys: Kill the Three-Headed Monster

After last Sunday's loss to the Bears, I emailed Dallas Radio stations because someone needed to talk about the very easy solution that would fix the Cowboys' problems.  I don't think they ever mentioned it though.  So, I'm going to say it again here.  The Cowboys need to kill the three-headed monster!

How many elite, Super Bowl winners can you think of that used a 3-running back system where there wasn't one primary back that got the bulk of the carries?  In the last 20 years, there might have been 2 teams that got it done with 2 running backs carrying somewhat equal loads:  last year's Saints and the1991 Giants.  Otherwise, you could go back to the 1975 Steelers and not find a team that used a multi-running back system. 

There's a very good reason for not using multiple running backs.  It doesn't allow the offense to establish a rhythm.  This is especially true for the Dallas Cowboys.  Marion Barber starts, but is getting only about 10 carries per game in the 1st two games.  He splits time primarily with Felix Jones who's getting 7 carries per game so far, and Tashard Choice has gotten 3 carries per game.  1st of all, that's only 20 carries per game by Cowboys half backs.  Comparatively, they've attempted to throw the ball 49 times per game in the 1st two games.  So, not only are they not establishing an offensive rhythm with the running game, but they are also passing 71% of the time.  And, that's probably because of not being able to establish a ground attack.

They seem to have this idea that changing up the running backs makes it harder for defenses to game plan or adjust during the game to the Cowboys offense.  Really?  I don't think so.  The Cowboys' offense is actually very predictable.  Everyone knows that Barber and Jones are going to split carries and Choice is going to run the Wild Cat.  Everyone also knows that Barber is going to pound on you every chance he gets and that Choice is supposed to be the change-up, deep-threat back.  By the way, thru 2 games, Felix Jones has averaged 3 yards per carry with a long of 11 yards.  That's just not going to get it done.  Barber's average is 3.7 with a long of 12.  Now to his credit, Jones has also caught 4 passes for 9.5 yards each, but given the chance Barber could be a productive receiver out of the back field as well.

So, Kill the Three-Headed Monster!  Barber should get 20 carries per game and be the feature back.  He's a brute that's going to average at least 4 yards per carry and wear down a defense.  He also fires up his offense.  I would think that offensive lines would like to block for a guy like that.  Create an offensive rhythm based on pounding a defense up front and hitting them deep with Austin and the other receivers.  This isn't Emmitt and Moose, but it could be similarly effective.  Barber won't lead the world in rushing, but 4 yards per carry is a first down every 3 plays.  1st downs wear down defenses and lead to scoring.  This type of running attack will also take pressure off of Romo and cause defenses to put more guys up to protect against the run.  Then guess what?  The passing game will open up.  Also, running the ball effectively will prevent you from having to overload the passing game with a 71% mark.  That's just not working!

So, what about Felix Jones?  What can I say?  Trade him.  If he can't get at least a 2nd and late round pick, then what are we doing with him anyways?  Pick up another offensive lineman.  AND DUMP THAT PENALTY MACHINE ALEX BARRON!!!  Dallas could also use another safety.  Whatever - just make a move to improve the team.

And Tashard Choice?  Welcome to 2nd string buddy.  He should get 5 to 10 carries per game, depending on the situation.  He would be a very good back-up to Barber.  Then, the Cowboys offense would be like just about every other teams' offense that has won a Super Bowl in the last 3 decades.

Jason Garrett, what are you doing?  Stop tricking up the offense and get back to the dominant running game that you should know very well about already.  Kill the Three-Headed Monster.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Fantasy Football Team

At first glance, my fantasy football team was a power house - in spite of me getting to the draft 30 minutes late.  When I got there, my pre-draft rankings had already helped me automatically draft Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis, and Jermichael Finley.  Being late actually put me at a disadvantage though because I didn't get to settle into the process like I would have liked to.

I ended up drafting Sidney Rice and Santonio Holmes as a stater and backup respectively, but didn't realize that both of them were injured.  So, I had to pick up new free agents to replace them:  Kevin Boss and Josh Morgan.  I also moved a player out and picked up Correll Buckhalter.  These new players aren't probably on many people's fantasy teams, but here I am with them.  Hopefully I can trade Boss since I don't need 4 tight ends on my team and I also have Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame.

I was late picking up running backs, mostly an affect of drafting later in the first 2 rounds, but I did end up with decent picks:  Marion Barber and Pierre Thomas.  I also have Kevin Smith of Detroit, who could do well if that passing game and offensive line do well, and LaDanian Tomlinson of the Jets.

Here is a full listing of my team:

QB - Drew Brees
RB - Marion Barber
RB - Pierre Thomas
RB - LaDanian Tomlinson
WR - Larry Fitzgerald
WR - Joshua Cribbs
TE - Vernon Davis
TE - Jermichael Finley
D - Ravens
K - Janikowski

Other Bench Players
QB - Eli Manning
RB - Kevin Smith
RB - Correll Buckhalter
WR - Josh Morgon
TE - Anthony Fasano
TE - Kevin Boss
D - Tennessee

So, I have some very clear weaknesses:

1.  I'm too heavy at Tight End.
2.  I'm very weak at Wide Receiver (unless Cribbs blows up).
3.  Running back is iffy since Barber has to split time and Tomlinson - who knows?

My obvious strengths are:

1.  QB
2.  Fitzgerald
3.  Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley are 2 of the top 5 TE's in the NFL.
4.  Janikowski is the only kicker that was a 1st round pick.
5.  Ravens and Titans defenses are strong.
6.  If my running backs hit, I'll be hard to stop.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Favorite College Football Teams

As I'm sitting and watching Notre Dame Football, I'm thinking of my favorite college football teams to watch and follow.  I love lists and this one is a fun list.  These are my favorite college football teams to watch and follow.

1.  Notre Dame
2.  Texas
3.  USC
4.  Penn State
5.  Michigan (hoping they lose)
6.  Pittsburgh
7.  Miami
8.  Oregon
9.  Georgia
10.Florida State

I know some of you will disagree with my list because it doesn't have your favorite team.  Sorry about that.  Chances are you like the wrong team anyways.  :)

Enjoy your College Football Season!


Thank God for College Football!

It's the opening weekend of College Football and I've spent all morning watching ESPN College Gameday and a variety of games.  I watched some of the Michigan State and Penn State games, and I've flipped thru other games.  But, my favorite team plays their 1st game of the season in just a few minutes!  NOTRE DAME.

My friends often ask me why I like Notre Dame so much.  I live in Texas, so why am I not a Longhorn fan?  Answer:  I am a Longhorn fan - a huge Longhorn fan.  And I'm asked why I don't follow UNT since I graduated from there - Really???

The truth is that I've like Notre Dame for as long as I can remember, but as I've gotten older, I've really come to love the Irish.  Tradition is the best part of college football (other than winning).  Does anyone really have a more rich history and football tradition than The University of Notre Dame?  I don't think so.  And while winning has been scarce in recent years, Notre Dame has it's share of national championships.  You know what else?  Notre Dame is God's team too.  I don't have what it takes to go against God.

There's Touchdown Jesus, Joe Montana, Tim Brown, Knute Rockne, Rocket Ismael, (more recently - Golden Tate), Jerome Bettis, Lou Holts, "Play Like a Champion Today", Gold dust in the freshly painted helmets, Rudy, "The Gipper", Hornung, 29 Bowl Games, 7 Heismans, and on and on and on.

So anyways, it goes without saying that I'm super excited about the opening weekend of college football.  Go Irish!  Thank God for College Football!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fantasy Football - Quarterbacks

In review, I've written some other articles about Fantasy Football Picks.  Those can be found at:

This particular article is about Fantasy Football Quarterbacks.  Previously, I've said that my top 5 are:

1. Drew Brees

2. Tony Romo

3. Peyton Manning

4. Aaron Rodgers

5. Matt Schaub differs slightly from me in the Top 5 in that Schaub is #6 and Tom Brady is in their top 5.'s top 20 Fantasy quarterbacks can be found at
They also have Cutler (CHI) at 9 and Kolb (PHI) at 10.  I don't think so, but we'll see.  I think I would put Matt Ryan (ATL) and Joe Flacco (BAL) ahead of those guys.  Phillip Rivers was a good choice for the Top 10 with over 4,000 passing yards in each of his last 2 years and an average of 31 TD passes per year during that time.
So, with all of that said, here are my QB picks 6 thru 10.
6.  Phillip Rivers (SD)
7.  Tom Brady (NE)
8.  Joe Flacco (BAL)
9.  Matt Ryan (ATL)
10.Brett Favre (MIN)

Fantasy Football - Top 20 Wide Receivers

I compared and to my Top 20 WR picks.  Here are the results.

My picks are somewhat based on last year's production by each player, but I also took into consideration each team's quarterback, running backs, and other wide receivers.  If I thought a particular team was likely to run the ball very successfully, then I might not have rated the wide receiver as high for fantasy purposes.  Similarly, if a team had more than 1 top-level wide receiver, I might have rated the fantasy player on my list differently as a result.  Lots of factors go into rating players for fantasy football.  I won't go into all of them here.  At least, you have 3 lists to choose from if you want to use this for your fantasy draft.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Top 10 Fantasy Football Running Backs

It's time to make your fantasy football picks.  I think the running back position is the most important position in Fantasy Football.  Previously, I've posted what I consider to be the top 5 at each position in fantasy football.  To finish out the list of running backs, these are who I consider to be the Top 10 Fantasy Football Running Backs.

1.  Chris Johnson
2.  Adrian Peterson
3.  Maurice Jones-Drew
4.  Michael Turner
5.  Ray Rice
6.  Frank Gore
7.  Rashard Mendenhall
8.  Cedric Benson
9.  LaDainianTomlinson
10.Ryan Grant

As a Cowboys fan, I want to put Marion Barber on this list, but he's on a team that is very strong and deep in running backs.  If he didn't have to split time with 2 other guys, he would definitely be on this list.  Felix Jones might have made the list too, but on top of being in the mix with 3 running backs, he needs to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire season before he can make my Top 10 List.