Through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, I’ve been trying to find the words to describe how the Dallas Cowboys found different ways to lose. Yesterday it hit me; they aren’t finding different ways to lose because that implies they’re a good team. Make no mistake about it, the Dallas Cowboys record reflects exactly what they are, a bad team. More of a story would be if the Cowboys actually found a way to win.
Let’s be even more clear, it’s been a bad team for three years now. They have no trust, no discipline, no direction and let’s face it, no clue.
Am I frustrated fan of the team? Sure I am, but it doesn’t make me wrong. Watching the Cowboys last night and we saw the same mistakes they’ve made for years; the penalties, the mental lapses, the drops and the coaching that has doomed this franchise for a long time now. It seems like I’m a broken record with this team, every week I’m writing about the same things that contribute to another Cowboys loss.
The Cowboys seem to have a roster full of players who simply just don’t know how to play the game, a coach who seems to be regressing and an owner who is absolutely clueless! There are so many issues with the Cowboys that it’s hard to mention them all but there are a few issues I’ve got to mention.
I’m going to start with the offense and if you’re a Cowboys fans, tell me the last time you remember a stretch of games where Tony Romo wasn’t running for his life? I’m always interesting to hear how bad Romo is and how he can’t win any big games but for almost his entire career as the Cowboys quarterback, he’s been running for his life. In the 2007 season, Romo had pretty good protection but that’s been it. In the past five seasons Romo has been playing behind some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. He’s forced to play on the run, which is fine because it fits his game but you cannot make a living in the NFL if your quarterback doesn’t have the time to throw.
Of course, then there’s the issue of when Romo does get rid of the ball the receivers either run the wrong route or just flat out drop the pass. The drops have contributed to way too many stalled drives and interceptions, so I just don’t know what else Romo can do? He’s made some bad throws, but every quarterback does. Tony Romo is not getting the help he deserves from his receivers and he’s getting way too much blame. Especially for a guy who is playing behind an offensive line that causes him to play behind the chains because of penalties and has him running for his life.
Maybe it doesn’t make a difference because Jason Garrett has completely lost his mind as an offensive play caller. Everything is a short pass and there is no creativity. Romo and the offense told Garrett last week they like having a simplified offense and Romo in particular said he liked the speed of the hurry offense that every team in the NFL seems to be utilizing, except the Cowboys. But no, Garrett wants to run an offense that doesn’t throw down the field despite having a deep threat like Dez Bryant, who for all his faults as a route runner, his best attribute is going after the ball in an aggressive fashion in down the field. Did Garrett not learn from the near touchdown against the New York Giants that Dez is extremely difficult to handle on deep jump balls? The guy doesn’t know how to run routes, so why not just run him down field for jump balls or a pass interference call?
Tony Romo loves the no huddle offense, it allows him to go out and play without thinking too much, which is where he seems to get into the most trouble. So why aren’t the Cowboys using it more? They have one of the best improvising quarterbacks in the NFL and Garrett continues to slow things down for him and makes it easier for a rested defense to continue to come after his quarterback. The second half against the Giants and last nights touchdown drive should clear things up for Garrett, shouldn’t it?
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices the play clock is always running down before the Cowboys snap the ball! Where is the sense of urgency for this team? Speaking of urgency, didn’t we hear how Garrett was going to start taking players off the field when they commit penalties? I remember reading that, yet nothing has been done. It doesn’t have to just be about penalties either, why can’t it be about performance too? We all know the drops have been a big issue, so why doesn’t Jason Garrett pull Kevin Ogeltree from the game after another drop? Why not replace Dez Bryant after running another wrong route?
I remember seeing Tom Coughlin replace Ahmad Bradshaw after fumbling against the Cowboys last week, so why doesn’t Garrett get with the program? He preaches discipline and smart football yet his team plays with neither, that’s a major problem. You have to practice what you preach or your message is empty. I wrote a few weeks ago that Garrett’s “process” is meaningless without wins and here they sit at 3-5 and regressing. Something must be done.
I’m also not letting the defense off the hook because when they had their shot to give the offense the ball back, they failed, three times! Playing a good game for 55 minutes isn’t good enough Rob Ryan, this is a 60 minute game. I shake my head when I read people want Ryan as head coach because he’s just as mind boggling as Jason Garrett is! I’ve seen quite enough of DeMarcus Ware in coverage on third downs this season, but thanks for the creativity. I’ve also had enough of the Cowboys tackling woes in the secondary, who had an awful night against the Atlanta Falcons, even one of their surest tacklers, Danny McCray, struggled.
Even when the Cowboys do the right things, they can’t capitalize. DeMarcus Ware makes a big sack and causes a fumble, yet they can’t recover it at midfield. Not that field position matters because even when they have it off of a great punt return, they only can score three points.
Of course there’s more issues but this is just one article and I’ll be addressing more of them this week but the bottom line is the Cowboys aren’t very good. They’ve given us eight weeks to show what kind of team they are and the only thing they’ve proved is that they aren’t good at all, in fact they’re bad.
Just like the past few years.
you can follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi