Posturing. I really love that word. I hear it quite a bit during the football offseason, as I watch UFC and WEC to feed my love for all contact sports. In fighting, in short, it is used to describe the strategy fighters employ to set up their opponent for submissions, knock outs, or to defend against either. But you could also use posturing to describe various statements from the media, as well as, how teams prepare for upcoming games.
Take for instance the now infamous comments from Emmitt Smith stating that he can see the Cowboy’s winning 7 games, delivered in a manner that would suggest he was being generous with that prediction. The posturing element, of course, is that had Emmitt adhered to the status quo, you probably would not have heard about it and it would not have any way helped Emmitt’s now dying options as a sports analyst. This posturing, breathed new life in his visibility to the sports loving world; though, I doubt it helps his chances catching on again with any media outlets. Maybe Tashard Choice could allow him to be a guest on his Cowboy’s insider column with the Dallas Morning News.
In response to Emmitt’s comment’s, Wade reasserted that the Cowboy’s have leader’s and have had leaders. He further pointed out that in 97 the Cowboys went 6 – 10, questioning what happened to their leaders then? In this scenario, Wade was posturing to protect his team.
Or how about Jean-Jacques Taylor’s recent article entitled “Trust Busters: Dallas Cowboys haven’t rewarded fans’ faith.” In this he points to the Cowboys lack of a play off wins since the mid-90’s, trying to lend credibility to a trend that, in his mind, should continue to haunt the Cowboys, despite being a completely different team every year, including this one. As usual, JJT is posturing to look intelligent at season end with his finger lightly tapping the “I told you so” button likely located in full view somewhere on his computer keyboard.
Of course, my favorite use of the word “posturing” involves what Wade intends to do to stifle the big arm of Byron Leftwich with the slowing, but still effective trio of receiving weapons Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton, and Kellen Winslow. Not to be overlooked is also another effective trio of RB’s, Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward, and Earnest Graham. Footnote to Mike Jenkins: Ward may grant you an opportunity to redeem yourself. Don’t usher fate by this go around!
Coincidentally, we faced Kellen Winslow last year in the 1st game when he was with the Brown’s. Acknowledging our deficiencies at Safety last year, Wade challenged Greg Ellis to jam Kellen at the line throughout the game to upset his timing with Derek Anderson and it worked to perfection, Ellis limiting Kellen to 5 receptions for 47 yards and 1 touchdown. That’s not bad for a linebacker who had played very little in coverage against what many consider to be an elite pass catching TE. With Ellis gone, though, how does Wade address him this year? Does he have Anthony Spencer, Greg Ellis’ successor, shadow him, allow Sensabaugh to prove his worth in coverage, or does he try a combination of both? Anthony might be able to match him in physicality, but he won’t be able to run with Kellen stride for stride down the field. Sensabaugh should be able to keep up with him, but I have to think Kellen win’s the battle when it comes to getting to the ball in the air. In my mind, it probably will be a combination of both. Spencer will frustrate Kellen at the line, but will peel off to either watch for the check down or to pursue the normally statuesque Leftwich while Sensabaugh will pick him up to ensure Kellen doesn’t have an opportunity to create in space.
On offense, the double-move wide receiver route is apparantly the big upgrade Greg Olson brings to the table. Trouble is, the more moves in a given route, the more time your QB needs. Add to that the fact that Leftwich has a slow release and a long wind, and Ware and company should have plenty of opportunities to but him on his back.
Much has been made about the lack of tape our defense will be armed with to attack the Bucs offense, considering the recent dismissal of their Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and promotion of quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. In short, the Cowboy’s don’t even have the benefit of tape from the preseason. In my mind, too much has been made of it. Considering that most coaches, including that of the Cowboy’s, like to keep things vanilla throughout the preseason, I’m not sure this will really make that much of a difference in the game. The key, as is always, is execution in all aspects. Execute identifying the play; run or pass? Execute flowing to the ball and prevention of play development. Execute the tackle. Execute the ball carrier. As the season wears on, then the film study becomes paramount, because the real meat and potatoes of success comes from knowing each opponent’s tendencies as a team and individually.
From what I’ve looked at, the Bucs are weak on the edges and a big part of their strategy will be to pin their ear backs and try to keep Romo on his back. Watch for the Cowboy’s to employ a variety of different screens (RB, TE, or WR) to keep the Bucs defense from putting pressure on Romo.
It’s all posturing, in the end. The big question is what are the Cowboys trying to do: Force the Bucs to submit, knock them out, or defend against both? Hopefully it’s not the latter.