Was it me? Was it something I did? I can’t help but feel at least partially responsible. A mere two days after my prediction that the Dallas Cowboys could win ten games this season, a prediction that hinged on having a healthy Sean Lee all year. Now he is officially out for the season with a torn ACL.
This officially cements the Dallas Cowboy’s as one of the most snake bitten teams in recent history, and completely throws out my prediction.
As much as I hate to admit it, now six wins sounds about right. The true sign of a snake bitten team, is one where anything that can go wrong does. A team that should be performing much better, that should be winning more games, but instead finds themselves shaking their heads at the end of the season wondering where it all went wrong.
And therein lies the problem. When it’s difficult to figure out where things went wrong, it’s even harder to know how to fix them. The easiest problems to spot are obviously the ones that can be supported with figures. For example, a large amount of hurry’s and sacks on a quarterback plus a weak yards per run average point to an obvious offensive line issue. In turn, a high number in overall points and yards allowed clearly points to defensive problems. This isn’t rocket surgery…right?
So, we draft to address an obvious need with Zack Martin, hoping to sure up our offensive line and in turn take some pressure off of the defense. What happens? The very athlete (Martin) drafted to accomplish this accidentally takes our best defensive player (Lee) out for the entire season during the OTA’s. What are the odds?
Honestly, if you’re the Dallas Cowboy’s, the odds are pretty good. From the start of this millennium the Cowboy’s just can’t win for losing. Whatever we seem to do, whatever we try to fix, something somewhere down the line is going to go absolutely catastrophic. People blame the usual suspects, Jerry Jones, Tony Romo (or the current quarterback), and Jason Garrett (or whoever the couch at the time happens to be).
If only it were that simple. I’m not saying that I haven’t questioned a few calls here and there, but what fan of any team hasn’t? Wade Phillips couldn’t get it done here, then went on to immediately be very successful when returning to the role of defensive coordinator. Jason Garrett has been put in the hot seat by fans and media starting his first year out of the gate, and I promise you, if we get rid of him we will all watch him go on to be successful elsewhere.
We were plagued by injuries, so we hired back Mike Woicik, who since leaving Dallas in the late 90′s has gone on to win six Super Bowls, an NFL record. Yet we still manage to lose key players every year that subsequently change the trajectory of our season.
Rob Ryan was prematurely let go for not successfully duct taping his injury riddled defense into a functional unit. Now, he’s coaching a better defense and ours is still falling apart.
For those that want to blame Jones for everything, think about this, he structured Lee’s contract to be largely performance based. So as devastating as it is to lose him at least we are not paying full price for him to sit on the bench, saving us precious cap money.
I think we need more performance based contracts, and as much as the injuries have been piling up league wide since the new CBA, I think we will see more of this kind of structuring from every team moving forward.