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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Choke Again; Longest Offseason in Team History Begins

It does hurt, but it was almost expected. The Dallas Cowboys didn’t show up to play in the NFC East championship game against the New York Giants on Sunday night. Most with knowledge of the team predicted a .500 season in 2011 and hit the nail right on the head. After this highly disappointing season, the conclusion is now concrete; the Cowboys are an average team and will continue to be until some serious personnel changes are made.

The Cowboys won four games in 2011 when trailing in the fourth quarter. Dallas also lost five games this year when leading in the fourth quarter. To coin a phrase, you can’t take one step forward and two steps back.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was as inconsistent as ever this season, making huge plays at the most unexpected times while making critical errors at the most inopportune times. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was just as inconsistent; Dallas’ newest play-caller suffered some serious growing pains during his rookie season and doesn’t appear to be getting the hang of his new gig.

Cowboys team owner and general manager Jerry Jones has a lot of work to do this offseason if he wants to avoid another embarrassing season. This team easily could have been 12-4 if it weren’t for the fourth quarter collapses. However, that’s what separates good teams from great teams; Dallas wasn’t even a good team in 2011.

The Cowboys need several big changes in the secondary for starters; Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for nearly 800 yards and five touchdowns in two games against Dallas this year. Cowboys cornerbacks Terence Newman, Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball all need to be either cut or traded prior to the 2012 season. That’s not nearly all, though.

The never-ending saga of the validity of Romo’s position as starting quarterback of the Cowboys is now at its most controversial state yet. Another “big game” loss will take its toll on Dallas’ signal-caller for another loss offseason and Garrett will have the same time to second-guess himself and take a verbal thrashing from Jones. It’s going to be a rough offseason in Valley Ranch.

Follow Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin