I never thought I’d enjoy Deion Sanders as an NFL analyst. I’m as prone to disliking him as any of you are, for any number of reasons, his hip hop career being first and foremost on that list. But I’ve sampled many an NFL analyst out there, and it’s clear to me that Deion is, shockingly, the best of the bunch. He’s candid without being obnoxious, and he happily makes fun of players and coaches who deserve it. It seems like such an easy task, yet the Mark Schlereths of the world screw this up on a daily basis.
So you should listen to Prime Time when he has things to say about the Cowboys. After all, he’s the guy who caused Dez Bryant to plummet far enough down the draft board so the Double J could grab him, so really, you owe this man. Here’s what he had to say about the offensive line:
Last season against the Vikings there were offensive line problems, you have offensive line problems now. You’ve had the whole off-season to address that. I know there are going to be injuries but you have to prepare for those injuries.
Yes, you do. Then on Jason Witten:
A lot of gadgets, quick screens, rolling him out to get him away from pressure, you got away from your running game a little bit. But the major factor to me is Jason Witten . This is your horse, your bell cow, this really is your number one receiver. I know Miles Austin is deemed to be that guy but Jason Witten is that guy. So when he catches three balls for 27 yards, it’s a problem because he is the guy that ultimately moves chains. When his production is down, the Cowboys lose.
I don’t necessarily agree with Deion on this point. I think Austin is as much a #1 target as Witten is, and deservedly so. And that’s a good thing. Trust me, you don’t want to go through a season with a tight end as your only reliable target. Ask the Kansas City Chiefs of the early 2000’s. That’s never a good thing. It’s too easy to beat up a tight end, double cover him, and take him out a game.
But Deion is right in this regard: The Cowboys spent an awful lot of time on Sunday Night Football trying to get Dez Bryant the ball. Now, Bryant is a talented fellow, but he’s still a rookie, and a lot of those targets came at the expense of feeding the ball to Witten. It was a strained effort that I believe badly hurt the Cowboys offense. Again, Bryant is a rookie. It’s okay to be patient with him. You don’t have to throw to him a dozen times to try and make him an instant star. That disrupts your rhythm and makes it all too easy for folks like Witten to get left behind.
So we’ll see if Dallas heeds Deion’s words against Chicago and finds a bit more balance in the offense. Lord knows they have to do something differently.
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