It has happened year after year in the NFL, without fail, for at least the past decade. And in 2010, it is no different.
The Dallas Cowboys are once again the most overrated team in the NFL.
This year's hype began almost immediately after the Cowboys selected Dez Bryant with their first round pick in the draft. Some analysts have come to believe that Bryant was the missing piece in Dallas' Super Bowl puzzle, and now that they have him, their offense will be unstoppable.
Twenty-three other teams passed on Dez Bryant for good reasons. Bryant reminds a lot of people of Terrell Owens (in terms of attitude), and everyone remembers how well that worked out for Dallas. Owens was also supposed to be the one last piece of their Super Bowl pie.
ESPN's resident Cowboys fan—oops, I mean "NFC East Analyst"—Matt Mosely has been touting all week about how good Bryant has looked in rookie mini-camp. For a rookie who hasn't even played one down of professional football yet, he is already expected to be the Cowboys' savior.
Such is the norm for the hype surrounding the Cowboys each year.
Back to reality. For those of us not blinded by the "sexy" pick of Dez Bryant in the draft, there are some large holes in the theory of a 2010 Super Bowl for the Dallas Cowboys.
First, the question of Doug Free playing left tackle this year. The most important position on the offensive line is being manned by the unproven Free. Sure, Flozell Adams wasn't a superstar, but he was at least average. With Free, no one is really certain what will happen.
If Free can't protect Tony Romo's blindside, it could be a long year for the Cowboys. If Romo can't stay upright long enough to throw passes, it doesn’t matter if he has Dez Bryant, Jerry Rice, or Jesus Christ running routes downfield. Romo can't throw passes from his backside.
If the Cowboys' lack of addressing the left tackle position isn't concerning, their equal lacking at the free safety position should be. The inexperienced Alan Ball is expected to replace Ken Hamlin this season.
The Cowboys would like to sign a free agent safety, but there aren't a lot of choices available. So, if they're forced to lean on Ball as the full time starter, they could be in trouble.
Dallas has a lot of confidence in their pass rush being able to limit their defensive backs' exposure to long pass coverage. But in the NFL, it only takes slight mistakes by the free safety to lead to big plays downfield by the opposing offense. Ball may prove to be a big weak point in the defense.
Of course, the season hasn't started yet. Optimism flies high with most teams during this time of year, but it is especially true for the Dallas Cowboys. For now, glaring weaknesses are easy to overlook, while flashy rookies like Bryant give plenty of false hope.
How quickly forgotten is the 34-3 shellacking at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings that ended the Dallas Cowboys season last year. The Cowboys didn't lose that game because they were lacking a talented receiver.
Unless Dez Bryant is going to play on defense, Dallas still hasn't made enough additions to deserve the hype of Super Bowl prospects.