With the 2012 season and NFC East crown dangling on the line, all hopes abruptly and painfully ended at the hands of their archrival and hated nemesis Washington Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys fans were in a justifiable uproar after another excruciating disappointment from their beloved team. General Manager Jerry Jones and Head Coach Jason Garrett were deservedly taking intensified heat, the likes not seen in these parts for quite some time.
So what does Owner/GM Jerry Jones do to subdue the revolt? He lumps himself in with the incensed fans and boldly proclaims he is also fed up with the 8-8 mediocrity and will not stand for it. He then vows to the dejected fanbase that he will make this offseason ‘very uncomfortable’ for everyone directly involved with the team.
Jones, shockingly to most, cleaned house (within the coaching staff) on the defensive side of the ball and brought in well-respected replacements to shun any disagreements with the brazen moves. Was the defense even the main culprit for the inept results in the first place?
Not by a longshot. Half the starting defense was injured and watching from the sidelines for a large chunk of the season. When they were at full strength, the unit was certainly in the top 10 conversation and capable of being a playoff-worthy defense.
The overwhelming demands for the head coach to be held accountable went deflected with a promise for a refreshing change of the offensive playcaller.
Jerry preached this would free Garrett up to focus on overall game strategy and leading the team from the top down.
The new playcaller was to be someone who wasn’t spread thin trying to run the team as well, and could focus on the offensive strategy in full. It was a legitimate plan and if enacted would have made a real difference.
So months later, who exactly is designated to call the plays now? Exactly! Your guess is as good as mine. The longer this drags out the more likely it becomes that Jerry Jones threw out a smokescreen promise as usual to buy some time until the heat died down? And now if he doesn’t change playcallers, the backlash will be far less intense.
After some time passed, he’s already stated that regardless of who calls the plays, Jason Garrett will be highly involved with all the offensive game planning. Whatever happened to the promise to fans of focusing the failing head coach much more on the team as a whole and not just one unit? Just as expected, Cowboys fans got sold another raw deal full of empty promises by the slick talking Jerry Jones.
Last I checked the offensive line was atrocious last season. By far the most pressing concern needing to be fixed in the offseason. Almost the entire fanbase is unified in that determination. So what has changed there? The only improvement was adding a rookie center in the draft.
As it stands, all 4 other starting offensive linemen are right where they left off, head of the pack. The paycut request to Doug Free has limped along like it’s not a pressing issue.
All the while no right tackle was drafted, and the remaining solid free agents are likely near being snatched up elsewhere.
More firepower was added to the skill positions on offense, but the starters remain the same. On defense, safety Gerald Sensabaugh was surprisingly released, yet nothing else has been altered or added to the rest of the roster besides rookies and second-hand free agents.
So where is this player uncomfortability in all this? Last I checked 10 of 11 offensive starters are still running the show. And only a new, unproven safety alters the defensive starters. I refuse to count the new Sam Linebacker in all this as that adjustment has simply occurred by scheme change alone.
Cowboys fans need to take a step back and recall the promises made by their owner to quiet them down. Then carefully evaluate what he has actually done, or simply not done, to create any real changes or uncomfortable adjustments. I do see progress in some ways, much too little, yet I also notice greater unwise risks in others.
Bottom line from where I’m sitting is simple…when fans began to revolt, Jerry Jones protected himself with false promises, shielded his head coach through smokescreen and deflection, and coddled the majority of the 2012 starters in a blanket of misinformation.
Little has changed around Valley Ranch, at least not much has altered in the grand scheme of what Cowboys fans were all but guaranteed to subdue their disgust with the state of affairs.
This team and its fans continue to find themselves in a wretched place the proud Dallas Cowboys legacy should never reside…stuck in the 8-8 world of embarrassing mediocrity with no competent leader in sight to bail us out.