Never has a Dallas Cowboys team gone 15-1. Fresh off clinching a division title, the first one since 1998, the Cowboys have three remaining games: The Eagles, the Panthers and the Deadskins. None will be easy.
What will it take to win them all and get to Arizona? As former Cowboys Troy Aikman said, “Championship-caliber teams find a way to win.” The Cowboys have done that, falling behind in nine games this season before winning eight of them, two of which were won with two minutes or less left on the clock. The Cowboys are a Super Bowl team.
But to close out this season on a high note and make it to the big game in Arizona, here is what I think needs to happen:
1. Teach Tony Romo how to throw the ball away. Honestly folks, I love watching him run and gun, too. But several times this year Romo’s style has almost cost us the game. It is sheer luck that we got that fumble back Sunday, and the Buffalo game was a miracle. In those situations, Romo needs to throw the ball away if there is an extra down available instead of trying to make the big play. We had two downs left when he fumbled the ball against Detroit. I fear the luck will fade and if he keeps on trying to do these things it will bite us. Throw the ball away, calm down, and make the big pass on the next one. We know he has the power, but it’s time to use it more wisely. I mean how many comebacks is the kid going to have this year?
2. Third-down defenses. In our loss to New England, the defense was horrid on third downs. Same held true against the Lions. Wade Phillips, the defensive guru, needs to figure out what shifting needs to be done to improve the third-down defenses. I personally think blitzing on third down is a good idea when it is a passing down. But have that middle covered at the marker. Maybe I am simplifying it, but I just don’t see enough pressure–no pressure–on the QB when it comes to third downs.
3. Stop giving Julius Jones the ball in the fourth quarters. This will rile the feathers of some people, but Marion Barber III is a better late-game back who has more desire to win. He’s also stronger and meaner. Jones just doesn’t spark the team.
4. Get Terry Glenn back ASAP. I think Glenn, even at 75 percent, will make the offense even more potent. This will provide a deep threat on every play and it may allow Terrell Owens to have less double and triple coverage. Even better is if teams ignore Glenn because they think he’s rusty. Having Glenn back gives us a strong No. 2 option that will only make T.O. or Jason Witten that much more open. The Dallas offense can actually get better than what it is and it all revolves around Glenn’s return.
5. Improve the first-half play. I am not sure why the Dallas Cowboys have such slow starts. After 13 games, the team still takes 30 minutes to warm up. This can’t continue into the playoffs. The pressure and the urgency to win is just too strong. The Cowboys need to come out fighting and get early leads. Once the Cowboys get the lead, continue the pressure. In the Green Bay game, an early 17-point lead dwindled in the second half. It’s that kind of inconsistency that the Cowboys need to shake off before this Eagles game and for the rest of the year.
I think working on these five things will give the Cowboys the best chances of winning a sixth, record-breaking Super Bowl.