Sunday marked the end to the 2012 season for the Dallas Cowboys. An entire season and as an organization we sit no closer to our goal of bringing a championship back to Cowboys Stadium. For all of the upgrades to the roster, draft picks and free agent signings, the Cowboys finished in the same spot, same record and same disappointment as the 2011 season. The Cowboys 2012 season is in a way more depressing than 2011 because the changes were supposed to bring more promise to the organization, only to see the exact same results when all was said and done.
The entire game was a frustrating experience, because the Cowboys continued to make the same mistakes that have plagued the team for the past 2 years. The coaching staff was befuddled the entire game, showing no ability to adapt, no ability to teach their players and the inability to make decisions necessary to win. The quarterback took a huge step back, failing to hold onto the football. The defense could not match up to the option and the special teams was not even given a chance when it was most needed. All around the Cowboys were a colossal failure, thus promoting the agony we have all felt for the last decade and a half.
Dec 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during the second half against the Washington Redskins at FedEX Field. The Redskins won 28 – 18. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports
Let’s start where we always do, the head coach. Jason Garrett continued his disgraceful performance as the head of the football team and the play caller on offense. Garrett failed in all three phases of the game that he is hired to control. His first job is to prepare the team to play the game. he failed in this role because it seemed like everyone was ready except for the quarterback. The team got off to a hot start, and was killed by turnovers. The next phase of Garrett’s job description is to make decisions to help win the game. Garrett failed miserably this time. With the game tied at 7 – 7 in the 2nd quarter, Garrett passed over a 48 field goal that would have given the Cowboys the lead going into half time. This is coming from the same guy who two weeks earlier thought about allowing Dan Bailey to kick a 56 yard field goal to win the game against the Steelers. The third phase of Garrett’s job is to call plays. Again Garrett failed even worse than his game management. From the first drive of the game to the last play, the Redskins blitzed almost every down. The Cowboys ripped the Redskins apart when they didn’t blitz, but when the blitz came disasters struck for the Cowboys Offense. Through all this blitzing the Cowboys failed to run a single screen pass. I was screaming at my television set, pleading for a screen pass to open a drive. Garrett failed to use this strategy and played right into the hands of the Redskins defense.
The defense was no better and actually followed the same path as the head coach and the offense. The Dallas defense was horrendous most of the night. The option game of the Redskins made the ends look silly all night long. The Cowboys were befuddled and continued playing the option like it was something they had never seen before. DeMarcus Ware looked like he was stuck in quicksand, and Anthony Spencer had trouble diagnosing his responsibilities, and the team never adjusted to the option offense, allowing the Redskins to run wild on them all night.
December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (99) chases in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 28-18. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Despite all of the ineptitude from the head coach and the defense, the Cowboys were in positions to take over the game, and the quarterback fell flat on his face. The Cowboys got off to a good start with a defensive stop and a punt return that put them in scoring position on their first drive, until Romo was blitzed and threw an awful pass behind and high of his receiver right into the arms of a Redskin defender. The second interception Romo basically just threw the ball up for grabs into double coverage. For the rest of the game Romo was rushed by the blitz and continuously threw into double and even triple coverage. Finally on the last drive of the game, the blitz got Romo again as he floated a bass out to the running back and did not get enough on the throw, and the Redskins defender made the play and sealed the fate of the Cowboys. Tony Romo had been putting his December woes behind him in 2012. However, in the final game the Cowboys signal called reverted to the same old Tony, as he buckled under the pressure and gave up all the good will he gathered prior to the final game.
So for the second year in a row the Cowboys faithful are left in stunned disbelief that their team has failed them. Again the Cowboys are at a crossroads with the direction for the future. In 2011 the Cowboys finished 8-8 and lost on the final day of the season. The reason for failure was the defense and injuries. The Cowboys responded by signing free agents on the defensive side and trading up in the draft to get a defensive player. The fixes resulted in a 2012 record of 8-8 and a loss on the final day of the season. The fact that the team finished with the same record despite the changes last year means that the wrong moves were made and there is plenty of work for this offseason.
In the weeks ahead we will look forward to the many deals of the offseason. It seems that Jerry Jones is satisfied with the coaching staff, despite saying “Changes will be made,” nothing has been done so far to show that anyone is losing their job or anyone is being brought in to help the team. The Cowboys have plenty of hard decisions to make regarding their players and the cap space available to make the team better. They will have to make tough decisions to release players that have either been unproductive or do not fit the vision of the future for the Cowboys. During the offseason we will analyze the Cowboys moves and provide analysis of what should be done with the coaching staff, current players, free agents and of course the all important NFL Draft.
Stay tuned and offer your suggestions for where you think the Cowboys need to go in the off season. Another 8-8 season is not acceptable for the Dallas Cowboys, but apparently the brain trust in Dallas does not have any ideas for improvement and wants more of the same for next year…