The Dallas Cowboys franchise appears to be content to leave good enough alone, as they share the lead in the NFC East at 5-5. This after a disastrous showing on Sunday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints that had fans, media and critics alike calling for the heads of the entire coaching staff. Still, the Cowboys hands are tied in some ways and it’s appears simply doing nothing will be in the teams’ plans going forward.
Once again, the front office and players call upon the injury defense. Claiming the injury bug is the main reason for their poor play. And that this bye week will allow them to get starters like wideout Miles Austin, cornerback Morris Claiborne, safety J.J. Wilcox and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher back onto the field. And that this time off will also aid players like defensive end DeMarcus Ware and running back DeMarco Murray get back to 100%. But the injury defense only goes so far in this supposed “next man up” mentality instituted by head coach Jason Garrett.
No, it has ultimately been Dallas’ poor front office and coaching decisions that have lead the Cowboys to stare a third straight 8-8 season without a playoff appearance in the face. Decisions like firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan earlier this year, drafting tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round, and giving playcalling duties to offensive coordinator and NFL-dinosaur Bill Callahan.
Maybe even more of a disaster has been our salary cap management. Franchise tagging defensive end Anthony Spencer, the whole Jay Ratliff debacle, and the over-paying of several underperforming players has left us near the cap limit all year and an alleged $31 million over already for next season. This gives us next to no options in free agency.
That’s why you see Cowboy scouts coming the streets for players like defensive end George Selvie and defensive tackle Nick Hayden. Both of whom have been successes. But it also results in the constant churning of the bottom of our roster and the signing of players who haven’t worked out like defensive tackle Marvin Austin or running back Davin Meggett. It actually reeks a bit of desperation as our salary cap did not allow us to address these issues in free agency. And it appears nothing is going to change that fact in the immediate future.
General manager and owner Jerry Jones and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, appear just fine leaving things status quo. Their honestly hoping, by doing nothing, that they will change everything. Unfortunately, that is not often the case. Without some sort of change, the Cowboys will continue to be an up-and-down team. There is no reason to think otherwise. One thing I do know: If Dallas fails to make the playoffs in the worst division in football, Jones can no longer afford to sit on his hands and not make some radical changes going forward.