Very few times does a season depend this greatly on one game. Sitting at 3-5, the Dallas Cowboys cannot afford to lose another game if we are to have any hope for a playoff berth. This is possible, given the significantly lighter second half of this season, but it all starts with this Sunday’s game against the rival Eagles.
A flawless second half of the season run is asking a lot of any team, especially the Dallas Cowboys of the last five years. This is the team that repeatedly shoots itself in the foot after all. This is the team that can’t consistently beat other teams because they are often too busy beating themselves. There is a lot to be concerned about moving forward.
The first major threat to this “perfect second half” is injuries. Between the Cowboys players that are out ([RB]DeMarco Murray, [S] Barry Church, [LB] Dan Conner, [DL] Sean Lissemore, [C] Phil Costa, and of course the irreplaceable [LB] Sean Lee), the players that are questionable ([NT] Jay Ratliff and [CB] Mike Jenkins), and those that are playing injured ([WR] Dez Bryant and [RB] Felix Jones), there are a lot of holes and a lot of question marks in key player positions.
Another concern is whether or not we can expect “good Tony” to show up eight weeks in a row. I have never been one to bash Romo, but this season has been significantly less consistent than the last several. Romo seems to fluctuate from brilliant, to arrogantly reckless, to conservatively scared, all in the same series. With receivers often having to slide, jump, kneel, come back, reach down, and turn around to catch the ball, they have started to look surprised when a ball hits them directly in the hands. Something is not right when this many receivers are not on the same page as the quarterback. We either have a receiver’s coach issue, or a quarterback issue.
My biggest concern of all is the complete lack of discipline and apparent lack of work ethic on this team. Jimmy Johnson was quoted as saying, “there is a country club atmosphere to the Dallas Cowboys”, and as much as I would like to disagree, I can’t. I’m sure the Cowboys don’t agree and I’m sure they are offended by the implication, but sometimes the accusations that make you the angriest are the ones that hold the most truth.
If the Cowboys are going to have any chance on Sunday, let alone the rest of the season, it is going to come from discipline. Discipline on the field in regard to penalties, discipline in the classroom studying yourself and your opponent, and discipline on the practice field in perfecting all the details.
We also need to see the sense of urgency we’ve had at the end of games starting in the first quarter. I didn’t feel that we lost these last two games as much as we ran out of time. Garrett can give the fans a much deserved early Christmas present by going no huddle and unleashing the full aggression of our offense early.
It all comes down to this Sunday. We have two teams with the exact same record, in the exact same division, facing the exact same situation. This afternoon we find out who wants it more.