That’s the Whole Point of This Draft: Insanity

Tim Cowlishaw had a piece yesterday that focused on insanity. His point, especially as it relates to the Cowboys:

I was recently reminded that it was Albert Einstein who said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Actually, I thought it was a phrase I had coined regarding Mack Brown after the 2004 Texas-OU game but apparently not.

And some have credited Ben Franklin with beating Al to the punch on this saying, but I am not going to accuse Mr. Einstein with plagiarism on this front.

So with that in mind and with Mark Cuban determined not to change the Mavericks; the Stars standing pat; the Cowboys drafting the best available pass rusher and the Rangers churning along in last place, we shall examine our local clubs and rank them from one to four Einsteins with four being the closest to insanity.

. . .

COWBOYS: 4 EINSTEINS That leaves us with the Cowboys, who have a mini-camp coming this weekend that will be chronicled by hundreds of bored media members, most of whom thought they would be in Houston or Utah with the Mavericks this weekend.

If you count John Burkett’s Game 1 victory over the Yankees in 1996 – and we’re counting it – then the Cowboys have the longest playoff victory drought.

Is this a team doing the same thing year after year hoping for a different result?

You bet.

It doesn’t matter that in this last decade, Jerry Jones has traded in a coach with no pro experience for one who was an offensive coordinator for one who was a defensive coordinator for one who won a Super Bowl for one who is a retread.

That represents one kind of change but not the one that is most needed.

The Cowboys won three Super Bowls after taking Troy Aikman with the first pick in the 1989 draft. They have not drafted a quarterback higher than the third round in 18 years since.

They have tried three former baseball players at quarterback. They have tried a free agent Buffalo didn’t want (Drew Bledsoe). They have tried a free agent nobody wanted (Vinny Testaverde). They have even tried Ryan Leaf.

Now they have cast their fate with an undrafted free agent, and Tony Romo may save them. He showed signs of being able to do so in his first five starts.

His last five starts, not so much.

Even if he thrives, it doesn’t change the fact that the Cowboys have gone far too long in trying to find a quarterback on the cheap.

They have done the one thing you can’t do in sports and that’s simply hope for good luck at the most significant position.

If Romo doesn’t give it to them, then this drought’s going to continue well into a second decade.

For that, we award the Cowboys four Einsteins. However, with the Jones family and the Phillips family and the Garrett family running the organization, they have brought an interesting twist to the old man’s Theory of Relativity.

I only point this out because Cowlishaw fails to note some other ongoing strategies that never seem to change:

*The ongoing search for a complete secondary, even though the Cowboys have two top-10 picks starting now; have a free agent at corner who is being paid like a top-10 pick; and have used 16 picks in the past 10 drafts on corners and safeties. Highlight: two high first round picks (Williams and Newman) and the highest team pick (Dwayne Goodrich in 2000) on defensive backs.

*The ongoing search for pass rushers, including defensive ends and outside linebackers. I know very well how important this is, but let’s review the Cowboys efforts: Greg Ellis (DE and later OLB, 1st round, 1998); Ebenezer Ekuban (DE, 1st round, 1999), DeMarcus Ware (OLB, 1st round, 2005); Marcus Spears (DE, 1st round, 2005), Kevin Burnett (OLB, 2nd round, 2005), Chris Canty (DE, 4th round, 2005), Bobby Carpenter (LB, 1st round, 2006), Jason Hatcher (DE, 3rd round, 2006), Anthony Spencer (DE/LB, 1st round, 2007). In sum: five 1st round picks on defensive ends or pass rushing linebackers in the past 10 years. This does not include the 1st round pick of Shante Carver in 1994 or the 2nd round pick (highest for the team) on Kavika Pittman in 1996.

Thus, the Cowboys have made concerted efforts to find either members of the secondary or pass rushers in eight of the past ten drafts. I am certainly not saying that Dallas has not found stars (or at least solid players) with these picks, but it has also had continually had problems with its offensive line, its receiver corps, and (until recently) quarterback. Free agent pickups have resulted in the application of more band-aids than long-term solutions. Moreover– and this is what is really bothersome– the team has continued to have problems with its pass rush and with the play of its secondary!

So why be so harsh about this year’s draft? It’s not because of any negative feelings towards Anthony Spencer, or any great desire to have Dwayne Jarrett on this team. It’s really more of a feeling that the team needs to take a chance with a new approach. Dallas simply hasn’t, and we are close to entering season 11 of the great playoff victory drought. Sure hope we see some sacks and interceptions.

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  • melonball

    Patience, my friend, patience. Most of these players you listed are only coming into their second or third year. Here is the root of the Cowboys problems: the salary cap hell of 2001, the Joey Galloway trade, misses on these players- Ebenezer Ekuban, Solomon Page, Wayne McGarity, Peppi Zellner, Dwayne Goodrich, Kareem Larrimore, Quincy Carter, Tony Dixon, Derek Ross, Willie Blade, Markus Steele, Jamar Martin, Antonio Bryant, Al Johnson, Bruce Thornton, Jacob Rogers, Stephen Peterman.
    That’s a hell of a lot of misses, but except for 4 (including 3 O-linemen, which is why it’s been taking such time to get the line situated), all pre-Parcells. The drafting has improved dramatically over the last several seasons, especially with the lower round players, and it’s beginning to make a difference. The Cowboys have improved each of the past two seasons. I’m sorry, but to those fans who are all upset because they haven’t made a meteoric jump like the Bears or Saints is just being a spoiled Cowboys fan. It doesn’t happen that way for every team.
    And for Cowlishaw to rag on the Cowboys for the way they have conducted their QB search is unfair. For one, if Bledsoe was still our starter because Romo never showed anything beyond backup potential, then you can bet the house that the Cowboys would have grabbed Quinn at 22. Except that he wouldn’t have been there, because Cleveland would have traded their 1st to Jacksonville instead, just like they traded with us before Quinn could be exposed to KC. Because of Tony Romo, we now have Cleveland’s first round pick next year. The importance of that cannot be underestimated. And guarantee you, if the Cowboys win a Super Bowl with Romo, then all the hypocrite journalists like Cowlishaw will be hailing Jerry Jones as a genius for showing the patience and fortitude to stick with his plan of grooming a low-cost QB instead of chancing a big-money, longterm contract on a top 10 draft pick, hyped QB.
    Also, incredibly sloppy journalism once again. The Cowboys beat the Vikings in Jan ’97, so if the Rangers haven’t won one since a Game 1 over the Yankees in ’96, how is it the Cowboys have the longest draught? And his comment, “who have a mini-camp coming this weekend that will be chronicled by hundreds of bored media members”, really insults me. He’s lucky he gets paid for the moronic drivel he puts out, never mind being bored by anything he so calls covers. These sports journalists nowadays are starting to make me physically sick. Why does anyone pay any attention whatsoever to these guy’s retarded opinions? They’re nothing but con men, and lazy ones at that. They’re laughing at their readers, all the way to the bank to cash their undeserved paychecks.

  • Thanks, Melonball– you make great points, as always (and good call on the Cowboys’ playoff win coming after the Rangers… I can’t believe I missed that).

    The drafts and the free agent signings are much, much better than they were between 2000 and 2002. I certainly don’t doubt that. In all honesty, I am more disappointed now with the Bobby Carpenter selection from last season than I am with Anthony Spencer this year.

    As for Cowlishaw’s comments about the quarterback position, I don’t agree with him at all. Even if Dallas had the chance to take a higher-round pick between 1999 and 2005 or so, there are as many (and probably more) misses than hits– Tim Couch? David Carr? Joey Harrington? Is Quinn so much better than these guys? I have no idea, nor does anyone else. But we know what we are getting with Romo.

    [And I conclusion, I still wish we had drafted a true receiver…]