The outlook for the Dallas Cowboys going forward looks very bleak, especially since we are at the halfway point of the season, and all the Cowboys have shown us is that they are only as good as their terrible head coach and mediocre quarterback.
After getting off to a fast start with a 24-17 win over the Giants in Week 1, the Cowboys have lost 5 of their next 7 games, and have limped to a 3-5 record. They have continued making the same mistakes in years past, and adding to the frustration is that head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t seem to care because he isn’t doing anything about hose issues. Instead, he sidesteps questions by saying “We need to get better in all three aspects.” Yet they don’t.
That’s why I am calling for Jason Garrett’s job by Thanksgiving. With Philadelphia tomorrow, Cleveland next week, and Washington on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys could be 4-7 by then. Jason Garrett’s play calling the first half of this season has been horrible, putting extensive pressure on the defense to get the job done. And that makes it hard on the defense, especially when they have had trouble living up to their billing.
The major statistical categories and grades for the Cowboys shake up as follows:
18.8 PPG (26th)
3060 total yards (6th)
22.6 points allowed (18th)
2500 total yards (5th)
Turnover Differential (F)
Head Coach (F)
These are not good numbers for a team that a delusional owner expects to get to the Super Bowl. The defense still isn’t creating turnovers, and the offense is putting less points on the board per game than at any point in Garrett’s tenure as Offensive Coordinator/Head Coach.
That is purely unacceptable.
The defensive numbers are more acceptable, although you’d like for the points allowed to be in the top half of the league, not the bottom half. But still, 18th is not bad, and considering there are only 4 teams that have allowed fewer yards than Dallas’s defense, there is something worth hanging your hat on with this team.
Looking at the individual players, Tony Romo to this point needs to play a lot better. He has already matched his 3rd highest interception total since 2006 with 13 (he had 19 in 2007, and 14 in 2008), and to date has fewer TDs than at any point in his career (his career-low was 11 TDs in his injury shortened 2010 season). In that injury shortened season, he threw 11 TDs through 6 games. He has 10 through 8 so far this year.
Now maybe the receivers can be blamed for some of that with all their drops, but that is because on the whole the team lacks mental focus, and that starts with the head coach. But Romo himself hasn’t been making plays and he also needs to. In a QB-driven league, the onus is on Romo to carry this team. He can’t do that by throwing picks.
On the rushing offense, they need to be able to take some slack off of Romo, and they haven’t been able to, as they have rushed to the tune of only 3.6 yards per carry. Some of that is due to a poor offensive line, and some of that is due to DeMarco Murray’s injury. But this team is 3-5 largely due to the ineffectiveness of the running game, and the overall lackluster offense.
The defense, with the exception of a 34-point game for Chicago, and a 31-point game for Baltimore, has, in large part, done its job and been the lone bright spot in an otherwise miserable season. If the Cowboys are going to make a run, which will be tough with the schedule they have remaining, they will need to continue to rely squarely on this defense, which must do more to generate turnovers.
Injuries must also be mentioned in accordance with this team’s performance. The loss of linebacker Sean Lee has significantly diminished the performance of the defense, and feature back DeMarco Murray’s foot injury continues to plague the offense. In the secondary, the loss of Barry Church has been a big blow, as evidenced by Orlando Scandrick’s bad play towards the end of the Falcons game.
This leads me to an aside that I must mention. How in the world is Scandrick still trying to arm tackle? He always tries to do that and it never works. Any big play he has given up is because he has failed to do the basics of wrapping the runner and driving him to the ground. And that’s basic tackling fundamentals. Why does he AND the entire team lack basic football fundamentals? That goes back to the coaching. The coaching for the past 17 seasons has been extremely poor, with the exception of Bill Parcells.
And that leads us to the final reason why the Cowboys are 3-5. The coaching has been lackluster, from bad offensive playcalling to mismanagement of the clock late in games, to bad special teams coaching (yes, I am looking at you, Joe DeCamillis) and just overall poor discipline and mental toughness being instilled in this football team. This all falls back on Jason Garrett. Until Jerry Jones wakes up and smells the roses, Garrett will continue to run this team further into the ground. He wasn’t a sound, fundamental football player and that is showing as a head coach too.
Overall, there has been more negatives than positives this season. This team is not only hard to watch, but they are boring, and they’re bad. They are vanilla. There is never a sense of urgency with this team, and they act like everything is okay no matter their record. I don’t see the Cowboys winning more than 6 games this season, and they might even be lucky to get 5. Here is how the rest of their schedule shakes out, with my prediction on wins and losses:
@ Philadelphia (L)
vs Cleveland (W)
vs Washington (L)
vs Philadelphia (L)
@ Cincinnati (W)
vs Pittsburgh (L)
vs New Orleans (L)
@ Washington (W)
However, the Cincinnati and last Washington games could flip the other way, giving the Cowboys anywhere from 4- 6 wins on the season. For a team that is supposed to be talented, this is unacceptable. The only real solution I see is to fire Jason Garrett, and bring football guys into this team, both in the front office and in the head coaching role. But we know that won’t happen. We have been told that won’t happen, because owner Jerry won’t fire GM Jerry.
So fellow Cowboys fans, get ready for many years of looking and playing like Al Davis’s Raiders. And that won’t change this year.