Will better ingredients lead Dallas Cowboys to technical mastery?
If Dallas Cowboys owner and general manger Jerry Jones isn’t happy after a win, then I don’t have to be either.
Our Dallas Cowboys finally won their fourth game this season over our hated division rival – the Washington Redskins. I keep telling myself that there’s so much to be happy about, yet I’m oddly unsatisfied. We beat Washington and since I was born and raised there, nothing usually brings me greater pleasure. Even with a record of 3 – 8 entering the game, I talked plenty of smack to my hometown friends all week. I want to be on cloud nine, but I’m not. I spent the day worrying I was suffering from depression until I discovered I’m not the only person that feels this way.
Where’s this feeling of incompleteness coming from? Cowboy Nation is smart enough to appreciate a great defensive performance – whether it’s by the team or an individual. Quarterback Trent Dilfer of the Baltimore Ravens won a Super Bowl with a team that failed to score an offensive touchdown the entire month of October. Quarterbacks Brad Johnson of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and Eli Manning of the New York Giants both rode the backs of dominating defenses to Super Bowl victories. Outsiders are praising Sean Lee‘s performance, but that’s what he does when he’s healthy. The fact that the Cowboys won in a snoozefest / slugfest that was a for the most part a low scoring game isn’t depressing.
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Many friends, readers and twitter followers asked if I was depressed that quarterback Kellen Moore didn’t play. Believe me, with that offensive performance I surely expected him to. Fortunately, owner / GM Jerry Jones helped me find the light with the mention of two words – “tactical mastery”. Tactical mastery is quarterback Tony Romo shredding a defense on a 90 yard drive in 7 seconds with passes to Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Gavin Escobar & Darren McFadden. It’s winning a new car on the Price is Right! The lack of tactical mastery feels like getting a birthday card that doesn’t have any money in it.
We were led to believe that quarterback Matt Cassel would be better now that he’s had more time with the playbook. It may seem like yesterday, but Cassel arrived in Dallas on Wednesday, September 23rd. That was nearly 3 months ago (11 weeks). Cassel and the coaching staff also had 10 days to prepare for Washington but it seems the only person that did any homework was defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Our offense finally scored, but the lone touchdown had nothing to do with Cassel’s play at the quarterback position. Cassel still stares down his primary receiver and doesn’t look to have a better grasp of this offense. Jones’ frustration tells me that when it comes to Cassel, he doesn’t fully believe what he’s selling us. That’s why we lack – tactical mastery.
Jones has pointed the finger at Garrett and is saying, “You do not get a pass for this season, just because Romo is hurt.” Say what you want about Jerry, but I love that. It sounds like Garrett will have to answer why quarterback Brandon Weeden was ineffective during his 2nd year in our system. Why didn’t things work out with quarterback Dustin Vaughan after being on our active roster last year? When will we get results from wide receiver Devin Street? Why did we trade to get tight end Geoff Swaim and start the year with four tight ends? How many different running backs do we need to throw at the wall until one sticks? Will receiver Lucky Whitehead ever equal Dwayne Harris as a receiver, returner or special teams gunner? Finally, the biggest question of all: As a coach, what could you have done better to help the Cowboys win without Tony Romo?
If Jones isn’t happy after the win, then I don’t have to be either. It’s painful because this team is talented and stacked with personnel “on paper”. They should be winning more individual matchups and they should’ve won more games even without Romo.
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Jones’ job as GM is to provide his coaches with the available players they want and sometimes what he feels the team needs. He provides the groceries while Garrett and his staff does the cooking. Perhaps technical mastery can be achieved with Kellen Moore as the crust – after all, better ingredients, better pizza.
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