Cowboys stocked with stars, lack role players

There’s a way to fix the Cowboys that doesn’t involve
trading a star player or signing a bunch of high-priced free agents. It’s
simple really.

Go get some guys.

By “guys” we mean football players. The kind that are the bedrock of
championship teams.

The Cowboys already have the stars you need to make a title run. Ware, Romo,
Bryant, Austin, etc. …

What the Cowboys sorely lack are football guys — players who aren’t
necessarily big names but can play the game smartly, innately.

Assembling a group of “guys” seems like a simple concept, but it’s
actually the hardest thing to do in the NFL because it requires a sixth sense
about players.

Anyone can draft a Tyron Smith, a Dez Bryant. It takes some guts and skill to
draft a Jordy Nelson with the fifth pick in the second round, as the Green Bay
Packers did. As one draft analyst said, “Awful early for a No. 4
receiver.”

All Nelson has done is make play after play for the Packers, including in a
Super Bowl win.

The Packers are the best team in the NFL because they have found guys —
players to fill in the cracks between the stars. Yes, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers
and the glamorous Clay Matthews, but do they really have any more
“star” players than the Cowboys?

The Cowboys had a guru who could recognize talent in players that others didn’t
see. His name was Bill Parcells.

The Tuna could drive a team crazy, but he knew a football player when he saw
one. That’s why he kept bringing in retreads from his previous coaching stints
to fill out the roster. He’s the guy who saw something in an undrafted free
agent from Eastern Illinois named Tony Romo, and didn’t see what everyone else
did in Drew Henson.

Under Parcells, the Cowboys drafted a big lug of a tight end named Anthony
Fasano. When the Cowboys drafted Martellus Bennett they shipped Fasano and
inside linebacker Akin Ayodele to the Dolphins for a mere fourth-round draft
pick.

By then, Parcells had taken over the Dolphins. Who do you think got the better
of the deal?

Bennett’s measurable were off the chart but he had an underwhelming college
career, pretty much like his pro career. All Fasano has done is catch 30 passes
a year for the past four seasons.

Ayodele is not a Pro Bowl talent, but he has started at inside linebacker in
the NFL for the last eight seasons. At 31, he’s five years younger than Keith
Brooking, whom the Cowboys have had to pair alongside budding star Sean Lee.

Lee was a highly-rated talent coming out of Penn State, but essentially he’s a
“guy.” Lee is listed as 6-2, 245 but stand next to him in street
clothes and there’s no way he’s that big. Because he’s not as big as Bradie
James, he will battle injuries and lose some physical battles playing inside
linebacker.

But size isn’t what makes Lee a great football player. Instincts and attitude
are what make Lee a player the Cowboys can build a defense around. Strip away
his Penn State pedigree and Lee is just a football guy.

The Cowboys have plenty of stars. A star is even the Cowboys’ official logo.
Every team needs stars, but winning teams also need guys who can play the game.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire