It is great the Cowboys won last week against the Carolina Panthers, but as a fan of the game; this team still hasn’t shown me much. They played a team that isn’t winning much and will be facing the New York Giants, a team who is on a roll, next Sunday afternoon in Cowboys Stadium. Incidentally, the Giants have been playing very well in Cowboys Stadium with a record 3-0 in the $1.2 billion dollar palace. But today’s’ topic is not a preview of the aforementioned game, but how awful our offense has been.
The Dallas Cowboys are not bad in regards to its passing game. The biggest problem is the interceptions. Having 9 touchdowns to 9 interceptions is not acceptable by any means. Tony Romo, the starting quarterback for the Cowboys, needs to start reading the defense a little better and throw the ball down field Nothing is more frustrating than seeing those dump off passes that are behind the line of scrimmage. There is a little rule that allows the quarterback to run outside the tackles and throw the ball out of bounds. If you are going to throw the ball and we lose yards, why not just throw out of bounds instead of putting the team into a situation that either has us losing yards or risking losing the ball. Too many teams are keying in on the Cowboys tendency to throw the short, behind the line of scrimmage passes. I can even tell when they are going to throw them from the confines of my own home. Head Coach Jason Garrett needs to borrow a page from the Al Davis, deceased owner of the Oakland Raiders. Davis’ loved the ball to be thrown deep or in this case beyond the line of scrimmage would be great.
Who Romo throws to, is still up in question as to their quality. TE Jason Witten is slowly getting out of his season beginning slump, while WR Dez Bryant is still taking plays off. I say start WR Miles Austin instead of Bryant to serve as a wake-up call to number 88. If you want to slack off, then you won’t be the starter. The rest of receiving core isn’t great but solid enough to say that with better passing opportunities, they could be a good group. They do have too many drops especially in key situations.
The running game is far from where it should be; looking at the top ten teams they are averaging over 4 yards a carry and have 150 yards more yards for the season. Dallas is averaging 3.8 yards and has just broke the 580 yard mark for the season while the best running team, the Washington Redskins, has over 1,200. The Philadelphia Eagles, who are sitting at number 10, have 732 yards. With the injuries to RB Demarco Murray and RB Felix Jones, there is some reason to worry as we have two untried running backs in the stable. Second year RB Phillip Tanner and Rookie Lance Dunbar could be diamonds in the rough. With some more carries, we shall see. Dunbar did show some positives while Tanner is steady.
The key that makes this offense go is the offensive line and I am sorry to say this, but they have been atrociously bad. Penalties are out of control, OL Doug Free has been terrible about getting penalized. C Phil Costa has an ankle injury that should be fine, but playing on a hurt ankle for a lineman is no picnic.
What to do with this offense? Start hitting the players in the pocket books for the excessive penalties, Free will probably be as broke as could be but if you hit them where it hurts, performances will be better. Jerry Jones needs to sit down with his troubled wide receiver once again and talk to him about taking those plays off. Again, hit him in the pocketbook for every play that the coaches deem as him taking off from. These aren’t little kids and they can afford a good rattling of the chains in the wallet. As my time as General Manager of a semi pro team, I wish we could have that hanging over their heads to get their behaviors in check. I know a few players who would be joining Doug Free in the “hurting in the wallet” department. The bottom line is simple, the Cowboys need to win in the trenches and nothing is being done about it. They are simply adapting to more passing causing this team to be just another average NFL team. Run the ball with confidence because running the ball wins games by controlling the clock. Start handling these professional football players and get them to start playing better football. Free is not a bad athlete by any means, but he just doesn’t seem to understand the concept of stay still before the play and stop holding the other guys jerseys. I still feel like the Tyron Smith experiment, which has him playing on the left side needs to stop and put him back where he has excelled.
My last thought is, if Jason Garrett can’t take out those plays that have our players catching the football behind the line of scrimmage, or the short little screens when we need more than 5 yards. Perhaps if he can’t figure out that the ball goes better forward, as do our chances of scoring then maybe former bag boy and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner needs to direct him to the Piggly Wiggly he worked so Garrett can work there. If you are going to call plays, then call plays that are going to work or let someone who can.