This off-season has been a revolving door for Wade Phillips and his defensive roster. The team has already suffered (or benefited from) the departure of Roy Williams (safety), Kevin Burnett, and Chris Canty. And now there are reports saying that linebacker and former first round pick Bobby Carpenter is on the trading block.
One thing is for sure, the former Buckeye has not lived up to the hype that he left OSU with, but the three-year veteran has been brought up in this system and can be a key to the Cowboys’ defense in the 2009 season.
With Burnett gone, Carpenter is the leading candidate for the position of the nickel/dime back. The Cowboys have struggled in recent years in these passing situations and it would not make much sense to bring in foreign talent to learn the system on the fly while there are so many new things to deal with.
If you take a look at who Jerry Jones has brought in to fill in the defensive gaps you will see that someone like Carpenter will serve the team well. Especially since Phillips’ words do not instill much confidence in the fans.
Roy Williams: Out
Keith Brooking: In
You may wonder how a linebacker is the replacement for a “strong” safety, but try to remember that while Williams was struggling to find himself, Dave Campo often had Williams close to the line and in on many blitz packages, essentially making Williams another linebacker.
“[Brooking is] a five-time Pro Bowler and he can play in the nickel and play well. I think he still has a lot left.”
When an 11-year veteran’s tank is being called into question that should tell you that they could only offer SO MUCH to a team. The fact that he is a 5x Pro Bowler does not count for a whole lot either. Do you know who else made five trips to Hawai’I on the NFL’s dime? You guessed it, Roy Williams. And besides, if Brooking is a good nickel back, wouldn’t Carpenter be an excellent liaison for the new guy?
Chris Canty: Out
Igor Olshanky: In
“I think he’s got some [pass rush] potential that hasn’t been tapped enough. He’s one of the strongest guys in the league and we’ve got to get him to utilize that as far as pass rush. But he’s such a strong run player it helps your front seven.”
Let’s look at Coach’s diction: think, some and potential.
It does not seem like a stalwart like Canty, who started every single game for the passed three seasons can be replaced by a player with who you THINK has SOME POTENTIAL. I am not saying that Olshanky is not a good player, he actually is coming from a defense that was in the top 10 last year. What I’m saying is the Boys have gotten rid of the rock of Gibraltar and brought in someone they hope can fill the position.
Kevin Burnett: Out
Bobby Carpenter: Steps Up?
Zach Thomas is an unrestricted free agent so he is not expected to wear the star again. If Jones trades BC for a draft pick and then selects a linebacker to fill the slot, it will be like taking three steps back on a defense that does not have time to build players.
No team is going to offer the Cowboys anyone with actual talent for a draft bust, so to trade him for another player will also be counterproductive.
And don’t forget about one of the most important reasons Bobby should stick around. Jerry Jones is trying to create a “Romo-friendly” atmosphere in his locker room. Remember when Romo, Jason Witten and the Starlet who will remain nameless took the pre-playoff vacation? Carpenter was also in attendance. He is one of Tony’s best friends on the team so do not expect him to be going anywhere anytime soon. The number one rule in football is “protect the quarterback,” and Jones will do exactly that.