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.

Next Cowboys Game View full schedule »
Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Dallas Cowboys

  • Old Frog

    Totally agree and another argument for why Garrett is the best man for the job…he overachieved when many coaches wouldn’t have.

  • ctcowboy1968

    This team would have been 10-6 at least if Garrett weren’t the coach. He personally mismanaged the Lions and Packers games. He should have been running out the clock, not continuing to pass the ball. Three years on the job and he has learned nothing! Clock mismanagement, icing his own kicker, pass only game plans, inability to make in game adjustments. The list goes on.
    After JJ, JG is the biggest problem this team has.

    • Joe

      I agree. And add to that the Denver game. I remember thinking how they *should* have been undefeated at some point midway, the way the offense was putting up numbers and all the turnovers on D. Then that Denver game hit and the team just slid. They just didn’t seem right, even though they won the next 2 games, but when Brian Waters went down and they gave that one up to the Lions I couldn’t help but fear the season was effectively over, and so it was. Finally the loss of Sean Lee and the debacle in New Orleans made it obvious. Everything else just felt like dumb luck after all that, mostly bad, if you can call consistent poor play calling and obsessively neglecting a good running game bad luck.

      • Joe

        I just think if they’d pulled off that win over Denver the season would have gone an entirely different direction. Instead they ended up settling for “almost” as their continuing team motto

        • Earl Robertson

          Remember the Denver game was ” a moral victory”, and the GB game was ” a great show to watch”. When you have the owner, GM, and the real head coach of your team saying that you pretty much doom!

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Looking at the 2014 schedule don’t be surprised if the Cowboys finish with a record worse than this year’s.

  • Old Frog

    We could’ve had DeCastro instead of Claiborne and Warford instead of Escobar. Can you imagine? Smith-Warford-Frederick-DeCasto-Free; our O line would have been set for years to come. Instead we’ve got Claiborne and Escobar and more work to do…

    • pancakeman

      Claiborne and Escobar haven’t (yet) lived up to their draft positions, but the o-line wasn’t the problem with this team this year.

      • Old Frog

        The O line was better but my suggestion would have made them great!

    • MercWithaMouth

      Plus then we would likely still have Mike Jenkins, who I thought was the best of the 3 CBs anyway (Carr, Claiborne, Jenkins)….. Maybe this will be Mo’s year….

    • MercWithaMouth

      Has DeCastro been any good? I know he missed basically all of last season due to injury……

  • siempre44

    Romo had a great year and carried the team . Time after time he dodged rushers and made plays. His receivers continued to run wrong routes or get beat by the DB letting passes get intercepted and Romo just kept trying. There is no mystery why the Boys stay 8/8: Jones cannot draft linemen because he gets distracted by ‘something shiny’ like a second rd tight end. If Jones had drafted linemen through the first 4 rounds last year-both o &d line- the Boys would be in the playoffs. Amateurs fixate on receivers, pros know the lines win the games.

  • Billy Kwan

    The team had no defense. I’m just amazed more teams didn’t run it up on them. But the Coaching is terrible. It will be a great injustice if a Jones-Garrett team Wins a Super Bowl. Two Amateurs Winning it all.
    But we do have an Amateur President. So……

  • JT

    Easy……..Jerry Jones