They say history has a way of repeating itself. That if you want to know the future, look at your past and the answer will be there. The Cowboys are a team with a storied past, multiple hall of famers, and tons of players who have impacted the game. They innovated the shotgun offense and the 4-3 flex. Before the 2000’s the Cowboys were the class of the NFL.
“Next Year’s Champions” is a moniker that has haunted the Cowboys in the past and has revisited our present. Featuring a roster that is stocked with talent the Dallas Cowboys have been evaded by post-season success. From botched field goal snaps to a 13-3 season down the drain, we’ve had to endure it all.
It’s commonplace to find individuals who place blame and on the other side of that blame is typically Tony Romo. Despite being quite good at the quarterback position fans and media seem to call for his head routinely. What we don’t remember is there is another guy who had the reputation for being “not able to win the big one” and that guy ended up being one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.
The lack of success makes me wonder exactly where our problem lies. I fail to believe that it’s the fault of a very capable Tony Romo. I also give the reprieve for a defense that seems to consistently have its struggles. So where does the blame lie? Like in the early 70’s the Dallas Cowboys were a talented team who couldn’t get over the hump. They had some very good players, a great coach, and great ownership. Yet, for some reason something didn’t click.
Tom Landry was famous for “the system”; he believed that if you abided by the system and his direction that you were unstoppable. Unfortunately, the players who have to execute the system can cause its failure. It didn’t take Tom Landry too long to realize this and he began to “dumb down” his system. Simplifying the system allowed flexibility for Roger Staubach to become the player he turned into. It was the simple system that made the Cowboys one of the toughest teams to defeat throughout the 70’s and 80’s.
Today the Cowboys are coached by innovative geniuses. Jason Garrett is considered an offensive mastermind, while Rob Ryan is one of the best and most exotic defensive coordinators in the game. Despite the coaching staff and the incredible talent we have on the team we’re not clicking. The Dallas Cowboys have faltered for years and fans are demanding answers. Well… maybe the answer is in the past. Maybe we’re complicated things a little too much, especially defense. I understand that the game is evolving but when things become so complicated that players don’t know where their assignments are things are out of hand.
The implementation of the “Rob Ryan Defense” has been shaky at best. With all the multiple fronts and disguised blitz packages it has vastly taken away from the integrity of the base defense. When utilized correctly, Rob Ryan’s defense is a stout powerhouse. Player’s like Alan Ball and Frank Walker are a great picture of why things have become too complicated. In Rob’s scheme they were constantly confused which allowed receivers to be wide open. I believe that every defensive player has a strength and we need to maximize those strengths. Rob Ryan’s defense is like Tom Landry’s system, in theory it’s fantastic, but the players always screw it up.
We need to restore the winning persona of the Cowboys. We need to restore the pride of the Cowboys fan base. I’m not saying that the Cowboys need to take 3 steps back and retool everything. I’m simply saying that if they can figure how to make the scheme less complicated the players will be in a position to be freed. If the players can play comfortable and free they can succeed. It worked for the legendary Tom Landry, surely our coaches today aren’t too proud to make the same move.