The state of the Dallas Cowboys

It’s taken me a day … just a day … to get over that 44-6 thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia Sunday. A 44-6 flop in a game that meant do or die for the Cowboys. A 44-6 loss that could very well have — and should have — meant the jobs for several Cowboys coaches and players.
Jerry Jones says head coach Wade Phillips’ job is safe. I wish that weren’t so.
There are several other things I wish about these Cowboys as well. This is where I think they are and where I — a lifelong Cowboys fan — think they should go.

HEAD COACH
Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach. His tinkering with the defense led to a near record number of sacks for Demarcus Ware, a Pro Bowl year for Jay Ratliff and what should have been Pro Bowl years for linebacker Bradie James and cornerback Terrence Newman.
But he’s not a good head coach. He just isn’t.
He hasn’t kept this team motivated. It’s embarrassing watching him on the sideline … giving that dough boy grin and fist pump when something goes well and that “what hit me” look when things go bad. I know 30-year-old millionaires shouldn’t need “motivation,” but the do need a coach who shows them who’s boss … who makes damn sure things are going to change if a player isn’t performing. Phillips says he’s that person now.
Well, that person all along has been owner Jerry Jones, and Jones doesn’t want to dump a coach early — ala Chan Gailey — especially when that coach doesn’t mind being a puppet.
I am one of the few who thinks Jason Garrett, the current offensive coordinator, should run the show. He’s young, he’s an Ivy leaguer, he’s a Cowboy, and he could be around a long time. Garrett stuck around with the job pretty much promised to him. I think he should get it sooner than later.

QUARTERBACK
Tony Romo is a Pro Bowler, but he’s becoming the problem too. One minute, he’s turning a fumble into a touchdown. The next, he’s turning a roll out into a fumble and defensive touchdown.
Romo has showed us the flash. He needs to show us the smarts now. Quit forcing the ball to receivers. Quit dropping the damn ball. Scramble every now and then.
My friend Tony says Romo is the next Danny White — a talented Dallas QB who won’t win the big one.
I’m starting to disagree with him less.
And Dallas absolutely needs to dump Brad Johnson and whats-his-name third stringer and either A) draft a quality backup or B) sign a starter who will compete with Romo. Dallas was flat-out pathetic without Romo, and that loss to the Rams ended up costing us big-time. Not that it mattered in the end, but still.

RUNNING BACK
Perhaps the strong point, and will be stronger next year. A healthy Marion Barber with a healthy Felix Jones and now proven Tashard Choice will rival the Giants’ three-headed backfield monster. Jones may be the best of that bunch.

WIDE RECEIVER
I wouldn’t mind seeing T.O. go. When he isn’t dropping the ball, he’s almost fumbling it. He doesn’t know where the first down marker is. And he’s getting closer and closer to being the problem he was in Philly and S.F.
Roy Williams will improve with a training camp with Dallas, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin are decent backups and Marcellus Bennett’s a hell of a backup TE. Jason Witten’s still the best in the league.

OFFENSIVE LINE
A big problem, except for Gurode and Davis. If I see Flozell flinch another 16 times next year, I’ll just scream. Left guard was a rotating mess all year. Romo took a beating in the final four games, and this was a big reason for his inadequacy.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Jay Ratliff was a monster, and he will continue to anchor a strong defense next year. I’m a big fan of Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, but I’m waiting for them to do something. I understand a defensive end in a 3-4 isn’t going to get the big numbers, but Spears was practically unheard from.

LINEBACKER
Demarcus Ware and Bradie James, along with Ratliff, were the only consistent weapons on defense. I liked Zach Thomas at times, but our run defense in those last two games was awful, and Thomas wasn’t helping. I think Dallas needs a bigger, quicker middle linebacker and something better opposite Ware.

SECONDARY
Aside from Newman, awful. It will be nice to get Roy Williams back, but he can’t cover the deep ball, and that still seems to be a problem (though not as bad as 2007). I liked the draft picks last year, and I think the secondary gets better.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Nick Folk and Mat McBriar will be just fine. Quit letting Pacman Jones return kicks though. He’s not fast enough anymore, and he can’t hold on to the ball. I like Austin returning kicks and Crayton on punts. They’re not flashy, but they’re safe. And Austin will break one or two.

INTANGIBLES
Dallas gets a big, bold new stadium next year … so maybe that helps. Wade Phillips says he’s going to be a hard ass. That remains to be seen. Dallas has drafted well these past two-three years, and I still think they’re building a hell of a team.
They just need to get it all together.
As long as we have receivers pointing fingers at tight ends and that December hangover looming over this team, though, nothing will ever be a given.
I still think this is a playoff team in 2009 if the team remains as-is. I’m just not so sure about it anymore.

Either way, this team is fun to watch. Frustrating as hell. But at least the ride is interesting.

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3 thoughts on “The state of the Dallas Cowboys

  1. Wade can come or go. Romo needs to go; he’s where ego is a bad thing.

    TO…why did Jerry go there anyway?

    LG Montrae Holland was a freshman at OCHS when I was a senior, so let’s keep him.

    The defense would be awesome as a 4-3 scheme with the current personnel. Bradie at Sam; Ware at Will; BMF X at Middle. Ellis and Spears at End. Tank and that guy that’s been overachieving at DT.

    Roy Williams (OK) can be a flat player in a Cover 3 scheme and blitz his ass off as in his better days.

    In all other matters, I am in total agreement with Billy.

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the only two people that need to get axed are T.O. and Jessica Simpson.

  3. “Jason Witten’s still the best in the league.”

    Tony Gonzalez: 96 rec, 1058 yds, 10 TDs (!)
    Jason Witten: 81 rec, 952 yds, 4 TDs

    the king stay the king

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