Aug 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner (34) runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Houston Texans at AT

Time For The Dallas Cowboys To Wave Goodbye To…..


What do you call a third year player that has made crucial mental errors at the end of games to help secure a loss?  I call him Phillip Tanner.

Aug 9, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner (34) gains yards during the fourth quarter in an preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Oakland won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

In the game against the Denver Broncos you might recall the interception Tony Romo threw that gave the ball to Denver in Dallas territory and led to the game winning field goal in the waning seconds.  It certainly caused all the Romo haters to come out from under the rocks.  Romo acknowledged that he should not have thrown it, but the bottom line is that Tanner ran the wrong route and messed the play up.

Now I do acknowledge that even if Tanner weren’t in the way, the play wasn’t guaranteed to work.  And if it didn’t work, the Cowboys would have been facing a difficult to overcome third and sixteen or so.  So there was a good chance the Broncos would have gotten the ball back anyway and the way things were going, might likely have kicked a field goal to win the game.  But we will never know because of Tanner’s mistake.  He took the opportunity to control the outcome of the game away from the Cowboys.

Fast forward to another disappointing loss for the Cowboys, last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.  In the final minutes of the game, the Cowboys had the ball with a three point lead.  They had already forced the Lions to use all of their timeouts and just needed to keep the clock running.  In this situation, it made sense to run the ball and keep the clock moving, even if they didn’t make a first down, than to risk stopping the clock with a pass attempt.

So run they did, with plans to drive up the middle for whatever yardage they could get and then kick a field goal, causing the Lions to need a touchdown to win with around 25 seconds left.  Apparently Tanner thought he had a better plan as he tried to get outside in an attempt to run for the first down.  This unexpected action caused left tackle Tyron Smith to be in an awkward position as he tried to block for Tanner and resulted in a holding call.  And even though the Lions declined the penalty, the clock stopped.

The Cowboys went ahead and kicked the field goal, leaving twice as much time on the clock as planned and the result, as they say, is history.  One can debate all they want about the Cowboys defense not getting a stop when they needed it at the end of the game, but I will contend that being down to two undrafted free agent rookie safeties and a rookie corner had something to do with their inability to make the stop.  So it goes back to Tanner’s mistake as the real difference in securing the loss.

I always enjoyed watching how hard Tanner plays, although that seems to be more apparent in the pre-season than when he is in the game during the regular season.  But it takes more than playing hard to help your team win, it also takes playing smart and Tanner has definitely not been doing that.  And even worse, he helps his team lose!  What you see is what you get with Tanner and there is a reason he was never drafted.  He will never be more than a serviceable third string back that can be used on special teams.  But his services are something the Cowboys are better off without at this point in time.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Featured Phillip Tanner Popular Tony Romo Tyron Smith

  • SmartThinking

    No great loss. He has no trade value, not even in combination with someone else. Tanner won’t be in a Cowboy uniform when training camp rolls around next year. Truth is, there are several of this year’s players who won’t be Cowboys next year. When this season ends, expect Jones to clean house and get rid of a lot of the dead wood.

  • Russell Reed

    Romo admits he should not have thrown it. The pass was behind Tanner. That play was not on Tanner but Romo. Who told you Tanner ran wrong route.

    • texasaaa

      Haha another Romo Hater.. Save your hate for Obama he’s the one doing the real damage.

  • Ed

    Hey Huff, if you want to say that he is no good, then OK. But your logic can be used against my boy Tony. And that is ok,too, if he is not your boy. But then that should mean that pretty much everyone (3yrs and over) should have to go…. Right?

  • Earl Robertson

    This guy who wrote this article try to pull a fast one over us but dude I’m not your average Cowboy fan! You wrote that Tanner was the reason why Romo threw the int in the Denver game that result in Denver kicking a FG at the end. You got it all wrong! Tanner wasn’t even on the field on that play. The int you are referring to that Tanner ran the wrong way causing Romo to throw an int was the Eagles game. Man if you are going to make a living writing about the Cowboys don’t take a half truth and spin it so you can make up a story. I will called you on it every time what a joke!!!

  • sq

    Huff is a Romo stand…pathetic..
    Its Romo fault we lost both games, his int with broncos( bc he had Murray underneath) and not doing anything with the Lions ( given 4 ints)

  • Robert H. Carroll

    I wish they would’ve kept Kendial Lawrence…

  • ctcowboy1968

    It doesn’t matter where he ran, Smith should not have been holding.

  • ctcowboy1968

    There weren’t a lot of DB rookies on that field giving up 329 yards to Megatron. That was our prized mega million dollar CB. Worst D in the league. Couldn’t control the Lions all game. Yeah they had 4 turnovers. Great, but their overall play was awful. Yes, the O should have done more with those turnovers. But Tanner is not at fault. Blaming the game on one play from a 3rd stringer? That’s lame. It should have never gotten to that point.