Getting back to our CSC interview series, I sat down and e-mailed a few questions to Dave Halprin, the head blogger of SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys website, Blogging The Boys. Read on to read all about his perspective on the state of the Cowboys.
Jon Banks: After The Cowboys 2009 season, what were your expectations for the Cowboys in 2010?
Dave Halprin: I thought the Cowboys would be a force in the NFC in 2010 and definitely contend for a shot at the Super Bowl. The 2009 season saw Dallas go 11-5 and win the NFC East. They also beat the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. There was no reason for anything but optimism after that season, considering that most of the core players were coming back and they had added Dez Bryant in the draft. The defense had given up the second lowest average points in the league in 2009. For all the world, it looked like 2010 would be a great season.
Jon: The big story during the 2010 season was the collapse of the Cowboys. From your perspective, why couldn’t the Cowboys get it together under Wade Phillips?
Dave: That's the million-dollar question we were all asking. It appeared that the Cowboys came into 2010 with a little bit of complacency. They might have believed the hype about how good they were supposed to be in 2010 and didn't work hard enough in the offseason. A couple of injuries along the offensive line hurt the team in the first couple of games, and once the team started losing, it snowballed into a total loss of confidence. Wade Phillips wasn't the kind of coach who could shake them out of it, so it just spiraled downhill. Once Jason Garrett got a hold of them, it totally changed.
Jon: What main difference does Garrett bring that Phillips did not have?
Dave: Garret immediately put the team in pads for Wednesday practices. A lot of the team believed this helped to set a physical tone and it also greatly improved the running game. He also took a no-nonsense, challenging tone with the players, demanding that they practice hard and act accountable. Phillips was a players-coach that sometimes wanted to be more their friend than authority figure. Garrett didn't have any problem with letting them know who was in charge and that they would be accountable for their play. It snapped them out of any sense of complacency that they had and let them know they had to work hard.
Jon: What are your feelings on Garrett as a head coach and why?
Dave: Well, I answered a lot of that above. I really like what he's doing. He's very smart and organized, and he continually let's the team know they are expected to practice and perform up to their peak level, or he'll find somebody else who will. He is like a class professor who is willing to teach, but if you're going to goof around in his class, you'll be leaving. He has a plan and sticks to it. We'll see how he does in the long run, but for the short period he was running the team in 2010, they looked like a competent team again.
Jon: What is your opinion on the Cowboys draft? Do you like their picks? What is your favorite pick?
Dave: I'm not totally sure about the draft yet. I was expecting them to do a lot more on defense because of how bad the Cowboys defense played in 2010. But, they mostly went with offense. They picked up three offensive linemen which is something they needed to do. They were getting old across the line and needed to look towards the future there. I guess my favorite pick would be their first one, Tyron Smith, becasue we desperately needed an upgrade at right tackle. Marc Colombo had been very good at right tackle for a few years, but in 2010, age and injury caught up with him and he turned in a very poor performance. So they had to get someone new over there.
Jon: Finally, what do the Cowboys need to do in free agency to become a playoff team again?
Dave: They have to get some help on defense. They need a safety, 2010 first-year starter Alan Ball at free safety was really bad, they have to upgrade there. They could also use another good corner. Terence Newman is getting up in age and has had too many nagging injuries, so he could fall apart at any time. And Mike Jenkins clearly regressed last year. Finally, they need a 3-4 defensive end. Marcus Spears is a free agent and Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher are not sure-things as starters. They need help and depth there.
I would like to thank Dave Halprin for taking some time out to answer my questions on the Cowboys. And for more information on the Boys, check out Blogging The Boys.