At home, against a team on a seven game losing streak, with a rookie quarterback and rookie running back filling in for their concussed teammates. It sounds like the perfect set up for an easy win in the NFL, but somehow, the Dallas Cowboys found themselves fighting for their lives on Sunday night.
From the start of the game, they were torn apart by the Philadelphia Eagles rushing attack, getting gashed by the rookie Bryce Brown for 169 yard and two touchdowns. The secondary the Cowboys had given up so much to put together in the offs-season was making rookie Nick Foles look like a veteran, letting him put up numbers common sense says he shouldn’t be able to put up against the Dallas defense.
Eventually, the Cowboys were able to put together a couple of decent drives, and the defense made up for its shaky performance by forcing a game-changing fumble and taking it in for a score. Late game heroics indeed, but they were late game heroics in a game that should have never been a contest in the first place.
Maybe it is the mystique of the brand, the association of the Dallas Cowboys and winning, that makes it seem like the Cowboys should be so much better than the reality seen out on the field. For a team that is talked about as a possible Super Bowl contender every year, they sure have had a hard time making the playoffs lately. The expectations are extremely high for this team, and legitimately so, and it is a shame to see them struggle the way they do.
There is no denying the amount of talent that is littered throughout the Cowboys roster, and team chemistry does not appear to be an issue. Off-field issues aside, Dez Bryant look like he has come into his own, and if he is on your fantasy football team, you are probably heading towards the playoffs right now. Miles Austin, DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware are all top tier talents, and they are just a few of the name brand playmakers on the Cowboys payroll.
Tony Romo is an enigma. He has the ability to go 22/27 for 303, three touchdowns and zero picks, like he did tonight, or he may go out and deliver the opposing defense the ball 4 times. Of course every NFL quarterback has the right to struggle sometimes, but Romo takes it to another level, and it is this inconsistency that makes it hard to determine where Romo ranks in the risk versus reward scenarios.
As things sit, the Cowboys are not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. They sit at 6-6 and if everything were to play out just right, they would have an outside shot at extending their season. The problem is, this team should not be sitting at .500 at this point in the season.
The lack of consistency is something that has haunted the Cowboys for a very long time now. There have been personnel changes, coaching changes, changes in philosophy and strategies. The one thing that has remained the same is the owner/GM.
Jerry Jones is the face of the franchise. He is the coach’s coach, and he makes sure everyone knows it. Every week, there is at least one soundbite of Jones speaking out of turn about his Cowboys and their performance. It makes a person wonder what would happen if Jones were to step back and leave football operations to the football guys.
Just imagine if Jones were to be seen but not heard, and the coaches were allowed to run their team the way they saw fit, and did not have to look to Jerry’s press-box for approval or permission. With the talent already in place, and the right coaching philosophy, the sky would be the limit for the Dallas Cowboys.
It makes for an interesting daydream, but until Jones realizes he needs to step back, the football world will always have the underachieving Dallas Cowboys to put things into perspective.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.