I really enjoyed the column by Mickey Spagnola today because of the important stats it had for the 12-6 Dallas Cowboys. It does make you wonder what team that was playing that Sunday in the 34-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
As Mickey points out, the Cowboys had the No.2 offense in the NFL and they closed the season with two shut outs. The very next game they played the Philadelphia Eagles for the second time in a row, only to bury them into the ground like skeletons. The Cowboys defense hadn’t given up 20 points in 10 games. The team was hot. Hotter than these New York Jets.
But when that team stepped inside that dome, something happened.
Mickey goes on and on and on—it is downright painful—of how bad the Cowboys were last week. They made the Vikings break all sorts of record on them.
This isn’t about Wade Phillips as the head coach. When a team loses that bad, I think it has a lot more to do with the players.
Some of it was the play calling.
A lot of it was how pressured Tony Romo was all day. He was sacked six times.
Everything was stacked against the Cowboys that day and no one was able to step up and stop the rush. Those two missed field goals may not have meant a victory if they were good, but it did a lot to further lower the Cowboys’ confidence. I knew that not having a threat at the position was going to be damaging to the Cowboys playoff run. At least it didn’t cost the game.
The end of the season leaves everyone wondering what exactly does this team still need? The safeties don’t stink. The cornerbacks are an improving group, but maybe Terence Newman is a tad bit overrated? The linebackers are good and the defensive line is a force in the NFL.
The offense has a serious speedy threat in the backfield with Felix Jones, but maybe another who is losing some of his steam in Marion Barber. If you overplay Felix, there is the injury threat, and using Barber every day has not been the best move either. We have a little problem at wide receiver, and that has more to do with the money, than a weakness. Roy Williams is killing us, for sure. That was a poor scouting decision and the Cowboys really rushed into it. Miles Austin has now had one incredible year. Let’s see if he can pull one in again next season. Jason Witten is the best tight end in the game and Patrick Crayton is not an overpaid second wide receiver.
Then we have Tony Romo. I might be able to–know I can–write an entire chapter on Tony Romo.
But you decide if he is a franchise quarterback. He is already paid like one. Someone could also easily argue the offensive line is overrated, and an easy stat to boost your argument is this offensive line allowed the most sacks of Romo in his career. How is that getting better?
I think the biggest weakness on this team is the offensive line. It might be prime time to give that entire line a hard look.