Thanks and No Thanks
Pass the dressing: Dallas sports figures worthy of thanks and those pesky teamturkeys
This is the time of year to dwell on all that we are thankful for — including Dallas sports. Though Dallas-Fort Worth didn’t experience a major championship, there have been several athletes to enjoy during the past year.
Then again, there are also local athletes that deserve more holiday jeers than cheers.
Here are the players from each major team whom we should be thankful for, as well as those who remind us that there are a lot of turkeys this time of year.
Thankful for: linebacker Bruce Carter
Cowboys fans were talking about Sean Lee at the beginning of this year. He flashed brilliance in training camp, but a season-ending injury left a mammoth hole at middle linebacker spot, and fans feared a defensive collapse.
Instead, Bruce Carter is showing that he’s worth the second-round pick Dallas used on him two years ago. The Cowboys could very well have the most talented linebacking corps in the league when Lee gets healthy again.
Turkey: Entire offensive line
How many times are we going to have to watch a running back get crushed in the backfield or Tony Romo get his body bent into new shapes because of what is easily one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL?
Doug Free has false started so many times it seems that he takes the snap count as more of a suggestion.
Tackle Tyron Smith is still a talent, but he’s having a down year due to off-field family issues. The other tackle, Doug Free, has false started so many times it seems that he takes the snap count as more of a suggestion.
The interior line is a collection of backups that does a wonderful impression of a sieve. If you’re looking for reasons why the Cowboys won’t win the Super Bowl, this is where you start.
Thankful for: Coach Rick Carlisle
He’s blunt and could go the rest of his life without talking to the media, but that man can coach. He led Dallas to a championship and was rewarded by having his team split apart in an attempt to land some big-name free agents for this season.
That plan backfired horribly, and now Carlisle gets to coach a mishmash collection of players pasted together from the pieces of a broken dream. Oh, and the two biggest team leaders are currently injured. The fact that Dallas is even in the playoff picture at this early part of the season is a coaching miracle.
Turkey: Delonte West
I’m not one to pick on a player who has a bipolar disorder, but acting out enough to get suspended twice before the season even starts doesn’t usually endear you to the fan base. Hey, at least we still like him more than Lamar Odom.
Thankful for: Yu Darvish
He entered the season with so much hype, it appeared a forgone conclusion that he was going to disappoint somehow. Instead, Darvish fit right in to the pitching rotation.
He went 16-9 on the season and didn’t lose a game after August 17. Lost amid the Rangers late-season meltdown, Darvish’s ERA dropped during each September start. He pitched a solid game in the playoff loss to Baltimore and is now considered the Rangers top starter going into next season.
Thanksgiving-themed sidenote: He moved to a foreign land and lived among a new culture while accomplishing all this. Pilgrim high-five.
Turkey: Josh Hamilton
He is equally awe-inspiring and maddening. This is a lightning rod who crushed four home runs in one game but also lazily misplayed a fly ball that cost this team runs as they desperately clung to a division lead.
What pushes Hamilton to the turkey column is that he disappeared late in the season when others looked to him for help. His rumored lack of chemistry with teammates makes it very possible that the Rangers will not try to retain a player who was the league MVP two years ago.
Turkeys: all of them
The NHL has more lockouts than any other sports league, and the famously loyal hockey fans deserve so much more. Good luck staying relevant.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.