Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett watches the game action from the sidelines during the game against the New York Giants at AT

How Did This Team Finish 8-8?

And just like that, the season is over. It was another disappointing 8-8 season for the Cowboys as they will now be watching the playoffs at home for the fourth straight season. Cowboy fans are now left with multiple questions about what the future holds for this team. Is Jason Garrett the right man for the job? Is this team on the way up? What can we expect from Dallas in the next few years? Nobody knows for sure, not even Jerry Jones. But I will attempt to answer some of the questions to wrap up the season. But I just have one question that I can’t seem to answer: How did this team go 8-8? I can’t understand it.

The first thing I want to be clear about is that this was never a Super Bowl contending roster. Even if they would have beat the Eagles Sunday night, it wouldn’t have changed my thought process on this. Jason Garrett and company has attempted to rebuild the Cowboys team without changing it’s starting quarterback or letting the fans know that the team is, in fact, rebuilding. Since Jason Garrett became the head coach in 2010 after Wade Phillips was fired, only 12 players (not counting Jon Kitna) are left from that roster only a few years ago. What is worse is that of those 12, only 9 of those players played on Sunday and that includes special team’s aces Danny McCray and L.P. Ladouceur.

The next part of this season still boggles my mind; I have no idea how this team was 8-8. I really don’t. This team was 32nd in total defense, 31st in red zone defense, 30th in passing defense and 27th in rushing defense.  The offense carried this team, but they weren’t without flaw either. The passing game was 14th in the league and rushing offense finished 24th in yards. I will ask it again, how in the world did this team finish 8-8 with a chance to win the NFC East in the final week of season? We will keep going.

Jason Garrett

I have shown that Cowboys couldn’t execute on defense this year and were average on offense this year. The major reason the Cowboys couldn’t execute was because of injuries and not lack of scheme or talent. If you were to make a top-10 list, of the most valuable Cowboys going into the 2013 season, it might look something like this;

(Following list has no order)

Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant , Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Brandon Carr, Jason Hatcher

Why is this list important? Those following players missed a combined 27 starts. Players such as Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher played through injuries that limited them in some capacity all season long and the team lost many other starters and role players throughout the season.

If you are a Cowboy fan, you want some sort of hope going into 2014. Here is the hope I offer you. I believe the Cowboys over-achieved in 2013. Whether that is due to Tony Romo, Dez Bryant or Jason Garrett, there is no way this team should have ever finished 8-8. This is a 6 or 7 win team.

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