We're a work week away from the NFC and AFC title games and it's amazing what we've learned in just two weeks of the postseason. Here are my thoughts.
1. The Giants are a mentally tough team. More so than the Cowboys. Do you really believe the Cowboys could have gone into Lambeau Field and beat the Green Bay Packers like the Giants did on Sunday? Really? The Giants never gave up hope during their late-season dive, and still believed they could beat the Cowboys, which they did twice in a 30-day span to close the season. The Giants have an elite quarterback, Eli Manning, and a pass rush that isn't centered around one player, much like the Cowboys' and DeMarcus Ware. Moving forward, the Cowboys need to improve the offensive line, secondary, pass rush and find depth at wide receiver. Things the Giants already have. That tells you how far the Cowboys are from the Giants.
2. It's good to see Laurent Robinson wants to return to the Cowboys. What do you pay him? Robinson should be a highly sought after wide receiver when free agency starts in March. You have to look at a few salaries of some No. 3 receivers and see if the Cowboys want to pay Robinson something similar. Earl Bennett of Chicago singed a five-year, $18.5 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. Is Robinson better than Bennett? What about Jacoby Jones of Houston, who signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with $3 million guarantee with Houston? Jason Avant of Philadelphia inked a five-year $18 million contract with $8 million guaranteed in 2010. Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers signed a four-year, $13.9 million deal with $5 million guaranteed including $3.5 million to sign. I wonder if the Baltimore Ravens are interested in Robinson? The Ravens might not pick up Lee Evans' $1 million roster bonus, due March 17. The Cowboys have a big decision to make here at wideout because the depth is lacking.
3. Todd Archer wrote a good post last week about the interior of the Cowboys offensive line. The hiring of Bill Callahan last week confirms the Cowboys think he can help younger players improve more so than previous line coach Hudson Houck. Houck's ability to work with young linemen was questioned, but you must give him credit for the development of Doug Free and Tyron Smith. While Free regressed in 2011, Smith emerged as a talented player who must play the left tackle spot in 2012. Callahan has some young talent to work with at guard/center from Kevin Kowalski, Phil Costa, Bill Nagy and David Arkin. It appears the Cowboys might draft a guard/center in the draft. If so, it should make for an interesting competition in the middle in 2012.
4. If the Cowboys don't re-sign Robinson, this is the depth chart at wideout: Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway. Think the Cowboys have a better group of receivers than say the Eagles? Giants? Packers? Saints? Robinson has the leverage here which could mean a contract which benefits him. If you're wondering, Kevin Ogletree and Jesse Holley are free agents and it doesn't appear they will return in 2012.
5. If the Cowboys don't re-sign Abram Elam at strong safety, Gerald Sensabaugh isn't the answer. He seemed to play better at free safety. If the Cowboys move him back to strong safety, he could have problems especially if the Cowboys have a younger player at free safety. The Cowboys tried Alan Ball at free safety in 2010, and were met with major, major issues.