With the bye week coming and going, the Dallas Cowboys have managed to both stay in the headlines and get worse on the field at the same time.
When you think of a bye week for a team in the National Football League, what do you think of? Maybe taking the week off figuring out ways to improve your team? Maybe looking over possible personnel moves? Or taking the extra time to prepare for your upcoming opponent in two weeks?
Not if you are the Dallas Cowboys. In a little over a week the Cowboys have released cornerback Nolan Carroll (a starter at one point earlier this year), lost defensive tackle Stephen Paea to retirement (a one-time starter along their defensive line), owner Jerry Jones fueling a league wide controversy over statements regarding the national anthem, and running back Ezekiel Elliott seemingly being re-suspended and then unsuspended depending on which reports you were reading throughout the week.
Losing Carroll may not be the worst thing in terms of X’s and O’s due to his lack of production but the Cowboys already possess an extremely young and inexperienced secondary. Not to mention the injuries have been nagging the Cowboys’ secondary going all the way back to training camp.
Same principle applies for Paea; while stats are nothing to boast about (only 3 tackles through 4 games) it is another player gone for a struggling defense.
The Cowboys are 3-5 after the bye week since 2010; the first year head coach Jason Garrett took over the Dallas Cowboys. Additionally, they are 6-6 since 2007; the first year Garrett took over as the Cowboys offensive coordinator. Not to mention Garret has already been apart of two big postseason collapses following bye weeks.
In Garrett’s first year as offensive coordinator in 2007, the Cowboys went 13-3 and were rewarded with the top seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They managed to come up short in the divisional round against the rival New York Giants losing 21-17. And, of course, most recently last year after going 13-3, the Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers 34-31 after having another first round bye in the playoffs.
The bye week has certainly come at a good time for the Cowboys following their 2-3 start. If they have not used this week to their advantage, this highly anticipated season could certainly take a wrong turn very quickly. The next five games for the Cowboys will be a tremendous test and could ultimately determine the fate of their season.
The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of questions coming out of this week. Where most successful teams appear to use their bye week to their advantage, Dallas continues to stand in their own way following their bye weeks. If recent history is any indication, the Cowboys will continue to struggle to come up with answers following their bye week against a winless, yet competitive, San Francisco 49ers team.