I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods. For those of us who bleed blue, there is a dark cloud hanging overhead and no silver lining is in sight. When Tony Romo floated what proved to be the Dallas Cowboys final offensive play of 2012 into the waiting arms of Rob Jackson, he once again became the scapegoat for a terrible ending of a bad year. If the Cowboys are ever to hoist the Lombardi trophy again there is a lot to be fixed in Cowboy-land and it doesn’t start or end with the quarterback position.
Romo’s three interception performance against the Washington Redskins Sunday night was impossible for even his most stanch supporters to defend. When the dust clears, though, we have to take a look at the big picture and realize that the entire culture of the Cowboys has to change. The most obvious and welcome move would be for Jerry Jones to hire a GM to manage football operations. We all know Jones wants to win and the status of the Cowboys as the NFL’s most valuable franchise, despite their lack of success in recent years, proves he can market the heck out of his team. Sadly, we also know that the chances of Jones turning the day-to-day football operations of his team over to someone else are about as good as the chances of God swooping down from heaven to watch his team play in person.
Since that option is off the table, we can move down one step on the ladder to Jason Garrett. As if icing our own kicker in 2011 against the Cardinals and sending the rival Giants to Super Bowl glory wasn’t enough, we have been left with too many headscratchers to mention in this freshly ended season. Poor time management, strange offensive play calling and a lack of discipline that led to too many penalties in critical situations are marks that have to be erased if Dallas is going to become a dominant football team. Garrett’s handling of his team in the face of the tragedy that resulted in the death of one player and the arrest of another should certainly be commended. That situation aside, though, there is a severe lack of leadership in the Cowboy’s locker room. In other words, the Cowboys need someone who can lead with an iron fist and light a fire under their collective butts when crunch time arrives.
There were numerous breakdowns on both sides of the ball for the Cowboys this year. We have to hold back some criticism of the Cowboys defense because of the numerous injuries they sustained, starting with Sean Lee way back in September. What we can’t defend, however, is why year after year goes by without any solution at offensive line. Tony Romo once again spent the better part of the season running for his life while the big beefy guys up front were standing around looking dazed and confused. We can only hope that problem is finally addressed in the long, cold off season. If not, #9 will be pressured into more costly decisions when 2013 rolls around and the revolving door at running back will never end.
As for the much maligned Mr. Romo, he certainly deserves his share of the blame for a loss that once again sent an NFC rival to the playoffs and the ‘Boys home for the winter. That being said, with our aforementioned offensive line woes, we can’t think of anyone who could do a better job than Romo in keeping the Cowboys in position to win more often than not. Unfortunately for Cowboy Nation, the “not” in that equation often comes at the most inopportune moment.