The Formula For Getting The Cowboys Back To The Super Bowl

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1961 rolled around and it was draft time. He had his QB being Don Meredith, but he needed some depth on the offensive line (back to fundamental #1). He also needed someone to build his defense around like he had with Sam Huff in NY. Landry was pretty new at the draft game and wasn’t afforded luxuries like Computers etc. This was all manual leg work.  His 1st round pick was Bob Lily, 2nd EJ  Holub OT, 3rd, Stew Barber C. I am not going on through every pick but he proceeded to draft 5 more offensive linemen. Don Talbert OT, Billy Shaw OG, Julius Vernado OT, and Lynn Hoyem OG. Obviously all of these guys were not going to make the roster, but Tom knew 1st and foremost he needed to protect his most important investment Dandy Don! He made sure there was plenty of competition at the position to get a good foundation set for his future dynasty!

That is fundamental #3. The ability to prioritize your needs  and lay out a plan to build your team.  Stick to the plan. Get your foundation laid. You don’t draft a guy because  he is there and he is flashy! You draft the best guy at that spot who fills the need you established in your long term plan. Another problem with the modern Cowboys. For sake of time and space I can’t go through each yrs draft, but I encourage you to research it. You can see the formula he used to build a dynasty.

Landry started from scratch, and after  6 long years of laying a foundation, getting a core of players established, and  teaching his system, Landry went on to win back to back championships in 1966 and 1967. This was the fore front of 18 trips to the playoffs, 14 division titles, 7 conference titles, and 5 super bowl appearances between 1966 and 1985. No coach in NFL history has ever had 20 consecutive winning seasons, let alone going to the playoffs 18 of those 20. He accomplished this  by drafting and developing players on a consistent basis. Until this team learns to lay out a plan, stick to it, and build through the draft, they will fail miserably. But,,,,, IT ALL STARTS WITH COMMON SENSE!

Ok enough of the history part and back to modern football. As you can clearly see, the basic fundamentals will never change. That is the first step in bringing Americas Team back to life. I Have a lot of respect for Jimmy Johnson and always will but,,,, I think too many people give him too much credit and I am going to tell you why. Landry started with all leftovers and had to build a team from scratch. Jimmy on the other hand, was left a solid core of players by Landry to include, Bill Bates, Jim Jeffcoat, Kevin Gogan, Michael Irvin ,Too Tall Jones, Eugene Lockhart, Nate Newton, danny noonan, ken norton, Kelvin Martin, Tom Rafferty, Mike Saxon, Mark Tuinei, Hershel Walker, Everson Walls, Danny White, and  randy white, just to name a few. Take note how many pro bowlers and hall of  famer players are on that list. And of course the guy that was the key to his success, Hershel Walker.

Jan 30, 1994; Atlanta, GA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson on the sideline against the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXVIII at the Georgia Dome. Dallas defeated Buffalo 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

In 1989 Johnson engineered a trade of  Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five veteran players and eight draft choices. Although the Cowboys finished the 1989 season with a 1–15 record, their worst in almost 30 years, “The Trade” later allowed Dallas to draft a number of impact players to rebuild the team.

So the dynasty began, but it only lasted until 1996. The glory days of the Cowboys were beginning to vanish as bad drafts, free agency, age and injuries began taking their toll. The Cowboys went 6–10 in 1997, with discipline and off-field problems becoming major distractions. As a result, Switzer resigned as head coach in January 1998 and former Steelers offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was hired to take his place. Gailey led the team to two playoff appearances with a 10–6 record in 1998 and an NFC East Division championship, neither appearance yielded a win. Gailey was let go after an 8–8 playoff season in 1999, becoming the first Cowboys coach who did not take the team to a Super Bowl.

There were 3 head coaches in the 1st 10 yrs after Landrys’ departure. Another problem with the modern cowboys. The most important aspect of football is consistency. The Steelers, Packers, Patriots etc keep their coaches. The Cowboys had 1 coach for 28 yrs, and under Jerry Jones they are now on their 7th HC in 23 yrs.  The writing is on the wall!  Bad drafts, poor personnel decisions, and whatever goes on behind closed doors has proven Jerry Jones has some serious management problems and can’t keep a good coach. There has been 1 play off win in 17 yrs!

After 3 consecutive 5-11 seasons under Dave Campo, Many fans and the media were beginning to blame Jerry Jones for the team’s failures, saying  that he refused to hire a strong coach or general manager, preferring to hire coaches who did not want to be involved with personnel duties so that Jones himself, as GM, could manage them. Jones then lured Bill Parcells out of retirement to coach the Cowboys. The Cowboys became the surprise team of the 2003 season, posting a 10–6 record and a playoff berth by having the best overall defense in the NFL. Parcells assisted in the personnel selection and things started looking up.

From 2003 -2006 the Cowboys had the best drafts they had seen in years, landing players such as, Terence Newman, Jason Witten,  Bradie James, Demarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Chris Canty and Jason Hatcher. Also under Bill Parcells they brought in undrafted standouts Tony Romo and Miles Austin. All of these players up until 2011 (with exception to Canty who is now a stand out on the Giants DL) were still the core of the team. 7 of which are pro bowl players. At the end of the 2006 season Parcells retired and once again the light begins to dim.

2 players remain from the 2007 draft. Anthony Spencer,  who has been a solid OLB, but hasn’t complimented Ware in the pass rush as much as he was expected to, and Doug Free. Both  are  starters. Free severely regressed in 2011 after receiving a huge contract. Only 3 of the draftees from 2008 remain, but ony 1 has been a standout and that was Jenkins, who has recently had injury issues. Felix Jones who  has also had injury issues, has primarily been a complimentary back. Orlando Scandrick has been given a new contract, and  proven to be a serviceable #3 CB, but I feel he was over paid.

2009 was a disaster. The Cowboys had 12 draft picks and only produced  1 starter, The kicker David Beuhler who was recently cut. The 3rd string QB McGee hasn’t shown much progress and the only other player left from that class is Victor Butler who has only been used as a situational player .

2010 brought Dez Bryant who has had some issues. with injury, learning the offense, and keeping his name out of the paper.Sean Lee  has proven to be the best pick since Demarcus Ware. The verdict is still out on 2011 but it appears to be the best draft since Parcells left, landing standouts,Tyron Smith, Demarco Murray, and Dwayne Harris, I feel Smith was drafted too early, but I need to see how he develops. Bruce carter who was looked at as a value pick is considered a great ILB. Time will tell how well he does in 2012.

My final portion  will focus on the the title of this blog, “The Formula For Getting The Cowboys Back To The Super Bowl”  After processing all of the above information (outside of the fundamentals)  2 things stand out to me the most. The 1st being the plan. Lets face it, there are a lot of holes to fill on this team. The Cowboys only have so many draft picks, and limited finances for FA. The window is closing fast on the core players. The fact remains, that since Tony Romo has been the starting QB in Dallas, they have not once used ‘Common Sense”. It really showed in the playoff game against the vikings when he was sacked 6 times and hurried almost every play.

The first priority this off season has got to be protecting him. (I know what you may be thinking, Pass Rush, secondary) humor me for a minute. Clock management is one of the most important aspects of this game. This is controlled by time of possession. The second most important aspect of this game is the ability to out score your opponent. It is impossible to do either one of those when A. you are unable to score inside the 10 yard line because your offensive line gets no push up front for rushing TD’s, and B. your unable to sustain long drives when you have the lead because you have no solid running game, forcing your QB to pass all the time.

One of the biggest problems  has been all of the 3 and outs late in games, giving opponents opportunities to catch up in the 4th quarter. The inability to score in the red zone  has resulted in too many FG’s. This doesn’t win games TD’s do. What is the point in having a stable full of wide receivers when your QB is running for his life all the time and doesn’t have time to throw the ball down field? The Cowboys ranked 31st in the entire NFL in rushing TD’s with 5. One of which was by Romo. Yes Demarco Murray put up lots of yds but,,, once they get inside the 10 he is dead in the water.

The story continues on the next page…

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Topics: Bob Lily, Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Rice, Tom Landry

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