Is there a word in the English language that conjures up a more universal image than inconceivable?
It is impossible to hear, read or speak the word without picturing Vizzini from "The Princess Bride" marveling at the way the man in black is tracking him and his men as they try to escape with the titular damsel in distress. The way Wallace Shawn says the word is just too perfect to leave the mind's eye once you've seen the movie.
That explains why Vizzini was the first thing that came to mind when Jerry Jones weighed in on the team's defensive struggles.
"It's inconceivable, candidly, that we have our defensive issues that we have this year. I wouldn't have thought it. Frankly, to me, we were in much better shape there. But you could say that about the overall team."
By refusing to hire a general manager, Jones has made it clear that he shares Vizzini's belief that he is smarter than Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. We wonder if he also shares the Sicilian's ability to reason himself right into a corner. He would have to in order to reach this conclusion about his defense.
Forgetting about injuries, which can't be specifically predicted but are considered to be an unavoidable fact of football life, there were plenty of places to look for reasons to be concerned about this defense entering the season.
Starting from the front line, you've got Igor Olshansky holding down a starting role despite the fact that he so rarely makes a play of any consequence that he feels the need to celebrate each one as if he were Cuba Gooding Jr. winning an Oscar. At least Gooding had the good sense to know that he was experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime moment and promptly started making movies like "Snow Dogs."
Keith Brooking is still a solid player, but only a cockeyed optimist would think that he was going to be a dynamic one while turning 35-years-old. Waiting on Anthony Spencer's development as a pass rusher is as futile as trying to win a land war in Asia. Terence Newman is getting older, Mike Jenkins had one good year and one bad year and even the rosiest projections for the Cowboys pegged the safety position as a problem.
We just ran through seven defensive starters without stretching in the slightest to find a reason why they might struggle this season. On top of all that, Jones's 2009 draft class was just as awful as everyone but him thought it was 18-plus months ago.
Did anyone expect the defense to be this bad? Of course not. But inconceivable?
That word does not mean what Jerry Jones thinks it means.
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