First off, I want to thank readers for keeping the raillery to a respectable level. I was expecting worse, and I wouldn’t deny I deserve it. This is the most shocking and damaging loss I have ever watched as a Cowboys fan of 33 years.
But how did the Cowboys lose? The Landry Hat, using my real name, Dan, was on Sirius Radio’s Opening Drive this morning to talk about one thing: the coaching. Randy Cross, one of the show’s hosts, hit the nail on the coffin when he said I wouldn’t promote offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to head coach just for his playcalling. And if Tony Sparano wants to leave, then LEAVE! That was the worst performance all year of the Cowboys offensive line and you can easily link that to Sparano’s head being elsewhere, like in Miami. Instead of preparing for the game, Sparanoo was talking to his family about Miami. Good bye.
The defense was awful. The offensive line looked ugly. Tony Romo was pressured the entire second half. Receivers dropped two very important passes. Patrick Crayton, Mr. Big Mouth, stopped running a route in the final minute of the game. He dropped two passes. To me, this all has to do with coaching and preparing the players for a huge playoff game against a divisionall foe.
On Sirius Radio, I brought up the coaching and playcalling. During the success of the 90s Cowboys, there was one play that I cannot forget. This play was used when the defenses blitzed Troy Aikman. This play was almost always successful. It’s called the quick slant, and it was almost always thrown to Michael Irvin. Sometimes it went for the intended five yards, but Aikman avoided the sack. Sometimes it went for much more because Irvin could break away.
Fast foward to last night. We have a receiver like Terrell Owens, who some could argue is better than Irvin. Not one quick slant pass was thrown to avoid that incredible pressure from the Giants. In fact, it seemed as the pressure increased and the offensive line fell apart more, Tony Romo was still looking deep. The guys on Sirius Radio couldn’t agree with me more. The play calling on offense was questionable at best. The play calling was questionable at best for the last five games of the season.
So, now the season is over. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make this team Super Bowl caliber. The Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since 1996 and it’s downright painful. Will Wade Phillips be fired? He is 0-4 in the playoffs. Romo is 0-2. We know at least Sparano is leaving, and that’s fine with me. But should we fire defensive coordinator Brian Stewart? What coaching changes will be made, if any, in the offseason?
I certainly think several need to be made. Although I recommended Garrett become the head coach, I am not sure he is ready for it. I never was happy with Wade Phillips’ coaching style. I don’t see a leader in him and I think the Cowboys need more of a hard-nosed coach. Not another Bill Parcells, who is demeaning, but a Bill Cowher-type coach who would not tolerate mindless penalties. Eleven penalties in a playoff game, when the other team had only three, is just unacceptable. That’s coaching. Coaches prepare teams. Coaches ensure the players’ heads are in the game. Coaches call the plays. Coaches call the schemes.
Coming later tonight will the The Landry Hat’s first mock draft. This will be a key draft year and free agent offseason because the Cowboys are so close to being the best. We have the fourth youngest team in the NFL, and there is plenty of room to improve. I think the first bullett on the list is to search for some new coaching. It may not be Phillips who hits the road, but I’d like to see some improved playcalling for the 2008 season.