Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 1/3/12
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 Jordy 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 Rogers 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
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