Five Offensive Players Who Must Step Up For The Dallas Cowboys
With the game on the line, Tony Romo walked up to the line. Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree to his right, Dez Bryant to his left, Jason Witten on the line to his left and Felix Jones as the lone setback.
Romo took the snap from center dropped back about 3 steps and fired a laser in Bryant’s direction. Bryant’s route required him to cover about five yards, hook right and box out the defensive back while making the catch in the end zone.
However, that’s not what happened. Instead, the ball clanged off of Bryant’s hands and ended up as an incompletion.
Romo put the ball where only Bryant could catch it, but he didn’t. Immediately, Bryant got up and started petitioning for a pass-interference call from the referees, which never came.
The Dallas Cowboys would go on to recover an onside kick, but ended up missing the game winning field goal as time expired.
Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones believes not all is lost and thinks his team can contend for a championship. I don’t know if Jones is watching the same Cowboys we are, but the Cowboys I’m watching are a far cry from being anything more than mediocre.
At the beginning of the season, tight end Jason Witten said the team needed to play with urgency. Unfortunately for Witten and Cowboys fans all over the world, this team continues to be the same old lackluster team it has been in previous seasons.
If the Cowboys are to be successful they need to put away the compacts and makeup and start playing football like they mean it. They can't afford to blow another game, especially not another in-conference game.
With that being said, these are five offensive players who I think need to step their game up for the Cowboys to be successful against the Carolina Panthers.
5. Doug Free
Free has been the most disappointing lineman on the offensive line. He is the highest paid and most experienced player on the line.
He hasn’t performed like he has in previous years and in my eyes has actually regressed. He was moved to right tackle in the off-season, but that shouldn’t be an excuse seven weeks into the season.
Free will face the Panthers’ best pass-rusher, Charles Johnson, in Sundays’ game.
Bernadeau is one of the most inconsistent offensive linemen I’ve seen play, ever. One game he’ll look like he’s coming around and the next game he looks lost.
I think his inability to do his job has led to the running game struggling since the right side of the line is typically the power side.
He needs to not only step his game up during run blocking, but in pass protection as well. In five games he’s allowed 12 quarterback pressures and a team-high three sacks.
He will face Carolina’s defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who has 3.5 sacks this season.
3. Felix Jones
Jones will be relied upon heavily, while DeMarco Murray is out. The Cowboys will need Jones to step up and handle the bulk of the carries, like he was expected to, when Dallas drafted him in the first round.
Depending on how Jones performs while Murray is out, will probably determine if the Cowboys cut ties with him during the off-season.
2. Dez Bryant
Bryant not only needs to step up, but he needs to make plays when the team needs him to. Having 13-catch games are nice, but dropping the most important pass of the game negates all that. That's what separates the great receivers from the serviceable ones. That's what legacies are made of and so far, Bryant has failed in pressure situations when the team needs him to deliver.
1. Tony Romo
Romo needs to take care of the ball and stop trying to get it all back on one play when the team falls behind. As long as I’ve watched and studied the game of football, a touchdown has always been worth 6 points.
These interception-a-game games need to stop. The whole, getting up to the line in a lackadaisical manner and not getting plays off in time, need to stop. He needs to man-up, and light a fire under someone's rear end when they're out there lollygagging it.
The days of covering for Romo by saying he’s not the problem, are over. It’s time to put up or Romo needs to pack his bags and go disappoint another fan base. #CowboysNation is overflowing with excuses on why the team couldn't get it done, and as fans we're tired of it.