Jason Garrett said this week that it was the Dallas Cowboys defense’s failure to take the ball away that ultimately led to the firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The coach compared his team with the Chicago Bears, who led the league with 44 takeaways. “We had 16,” Garrett said, “That’s 28 more opportunities with the ball … Give me some of those 28 opportunities.”
Don’t get me wrong, I hate the Cowboys and Rob Ryan, just like I hate all the Ryans, but firing him was a dumb move for the Cowboys. With an 8-8 regular season record and no postseason berth, something obviously needed to change for the Cowboys, but the organization is pointing fingers at the wrong side of the ball.
Of their eight losses, three of them were by more than one score:
In Week 3, the Cowboys got shellacked 27-7 by the Seattle Seahawks. In that game, Tony Romo turned the ball over once; the Seahawks none. The offense was only able to record one score.
In Week 4, Chicago beat the Cowboys 34-18. In that game, Romo threw five interceptions; the Bears had one turnover.
In Week 17, the Cowboys lost 28-18 to the Washington Redskins. In that game, Romo threw two interceptions and receiver Dez Bryant lost a fumble. The Redskins had one turnover.
Hmmm, I’m seeing a trend here. Romo threw 19 interceptions in 2012 – tied for most in the NFL – as well as fumbling the ball away six times. In the Cowboys eight wins, Romo threw just three interceptions; in their eight losses, he threw 16 interceptions.
No team is going to succeed with a -13 turnover ratio. So when Garrett expresses disappointment in his defense’s 16 takeaways, maybe he should be more concerned with the fact that his offense gave the ball away 29 times.
This is just one more misstep in a long line of Jerry Jones’ incompetent missteps. The owner and GM wanted to do something to show he was upset with the 2012 season, that he was going to make changes, shake things up, get serious about winning a Super Bowl and all that. Instead, he fired a really good defensive coordinator. That’s not to say the defense deserves a pass on their performance – they’ve been disappointing under Ryan, and Ryan should take some heat for that – but Jones can’t just look at statistics and react. He has to understand the position that the defense has been in all year long. The man simply just doesn’t understand football, and really needs to relinquish his GM title. If it weren’t for the fact that the cameras show him at every game, I would wonder if he even watched his team play.
Every year, there’s always a lot of talk about if the Cowboys will ever be able to win a Super Bowl behind Tony Romo. That’s a fair discussion to have, but the much more pertinent question is if the Cowboys can ever win another Super Bowl with Jerry Jones at the helm.