They’re Working On It
By Rafael Vela
You’re read the reports from scrimmage yesterday. You’re heard Tony Sparano’s post session comments. You might be worried about the offensive line. You might be worried about nose tackle or safety. And you might be wondering, what are the Cowboys doing about it?
Rest assured they are doing a lot.
Preseason games have not yet begun, so the Cowboys’ scouts cannot get a good look at other teams’ players (league rules prevent scouts from “spying” on other teams) but they will once the games begin in bulk next week. In the meantime, the scouts are working hard on the team at hand.
My understanding of player personnel responsibilities is that individual scouts are assigned a primary position. For example, one scout may track wide receivers for the draft. At this stage in camp, he scouts the Cowboys’ practices and assesses team strength at that position. After two weeks, the scouts file reports that when collated offer a strength-of-the-team statement.
As the preseason games begin and the college season approaches, the scouts are given their national assignments. They get a region to track, like the Southeast or the Midwest and are given responsibility for watching the NFL teams in that region as well. During the season, this means a lot of football watching on Saturdays and Sundays. Right now, this translates into watching NFL preseason games in their designated area and filing regular reports on their assigned teams and players.
When the final cutdown approaches, the Cowboys follow a practice started by former scouting director Larry Lacewell — the team assembles its scouts and rates likely cuts from most desirable to least desirable. This gives the Cowboys a short list of players to track and pursue on cutdown day.
So avoid the temptation to panic over a position or two based on one practice in early August. The organization has a far more detailed understanding of personnel strengths and weaknesses than we do and probably has a fair idea of veteran options, based on last year’s pro personnel reports. In the following weeks, they’ll update their boards and do what they can to plug any holes.
They’re working on it.