So sitting at 0-2 and basically 1 loss away from losing any hope of the playoffs, I will analyze what is wrong with the 2010 Dallas Cowboys who are, by the way, returning with all but 3 team starters from 2009 (Alan Ball, Doug Free and David Beuhler).
1. The main problem is the coaching staff. And even though I do not see owner Jerry Jones making any changes during the season, even if Dallas goes 0-16, I do think, no matter how this season turns out, changes to the coaching staff are needed. There is no motivation, passion or discipline being displayed on Sundays. This reflects the coaching staff. Dallas’ offense is the most predictable I have ever seen. Watching the games, I, as a fan, can tell you when they are going to run it or pass it. Most drives they pass on first, run on second and pass again on third down. And if they do not follow that pattern, depending on the offensive formation, I can again tell if they are going to run or pass.
2. Branching off from the coaching staff is the discipline factor. The second major problem is the fact that the Cowboys are an undisciplined and unfocused team. Everytime they put together a decent drive, it stalls because of a penalty, mistake due to a lack in concentration, a bad play call, or a turnover (which includes missed field goals). It’s no wonder that through 2 games Dallas is in the top 10 in yardage and in the bottom 10 in scoring. Too many times there is a holding penalty that negates a good play while putting them further back and making it harder to get the first down. Then they try to get all of the yardage back at once by trying to do too much and subsequently turning the ball over. For an example of this, and the bad play calling and coaching, take for instance the game against Washington. They had one more play before the half; a third and forever at their own 30-ish yardline. The play was a failed hail mary that turned into a shovel pass to the running back who got hit and fumbled the ball, which, by the way, was returned for a touchdown by the opposing defense.
3. The third problem is there are no adjustments and the personnell decisions this offseason by the coaches were horrible. Who keeps only 3 corners while keeping 6 safeties? Are the personell deciders mental? At any give time there are 2 safeties on the field and up to 5 cornerbacks (preferrably). I personally would not want to put a safety on a wide receiver against 5 wide sets. And what happens if one of the corners goes down with an injury for an extended period of time? There’s no backup except for a safety! Safeties are safeties for a reason. They are generally slower than corners. And to make a comment about the adjustments. Dallas doesn’t adjust to anything. In fact, a few years ago, there was a comment from a player from another team that stated that the Cowboys do not adjust to anything and that they have the simpliest offense in the NFL. Wow! And I agree. And when, everytime Dallas blitzes, the corners are playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage, that’s a gimme quick slant for a first down every time! Even if Ryan Leaf is the quarterback! And if the DB misses the tackle, it’s a quick 6 points, especially since blitzers mean less men defending. I say, if you’re going to be missing tackles anyway, play bump and run when blitzing and take away the quick decision by the QB. Make him get sacked, scramble, throw the ball away or make a bad decision. C’mon! What are you doing playing 10 yards off the line, even with safey help!?!
4. The offensive line can’t get any help in run support. Everyone is attacking the offensive line because of Dallas’ inability to run. I don’t blame them! I blame Jason Garrett’s play calling. Again, if I know what the offense is doing, I’m damn sure that the opposing defense knows what the offense is going to do. And what does the defense do? They send a run blitz which means more guys attacking the ball than the offensive line can block. Does everyone want every offensive lineman blocking 2 people? With the size of these guys, it’s not going to happen! And sure, the O-line gets beat man to man sometimes, no one is perfect, but if the play calling was even slightly better, it would help out the o-line tremendeously…Like maybe a run on first down toward the weak side or up the middle. And then a play-action deep pass to any wide receiver who can fly (Miles Austin?, Dez Bryant?). No one would be expecting that and it just might loosen up the defense enough to give the RB’s room to run. I heard a statistic that the Cowboys’ longest pass this year was like 30 yards and their longest run was 12 yards…that’s not goning to cut it. (And Alex Barron has to go…he’s horrible!)
5. And finally the kicking game has to improve. If the offense can’t score touchdowns, the Cowboys need points somehow. Not only is Buelher struggling kicking field goals, but it seems that he directionally kicks kickoffs to the right or left. That takes away depth and increases the chances of kicking the ball out of bounds! He has to improve or Dallas might want to consider bringing in a place kicker for field goals until Buelher can become more consistent. Maybe give him another year to groom?
So there you have it. My assessment on the issues with the Dallas Cowboys. Bad coaching, horrible play calling, too many mistakes and mental errors, not enough depth in some areas and too much depth in others, and too predictable style of play on both sides of the ball.
Maybe this off-season we can find us another seasoned and experienced offensive coordinator. Maybe Wade Philips, who is awesome as a person but maybe not so great as a head coach, will take a demotion to defensive coordinator and Jerry Jones brings in a guy like Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, Marty Shottenheimer or a fresh face as a head coach. And if Wade dosn’t take a demotion, maybe Jones promotes Dave Campo to defensive coordinator. He did a really good job of it during his previous tenure as Dallas’ D coordinator.
This team needs toughness. It’s too finesse. Which makes guys like Witten who runs down the field without a helmet on, bleeding out of his face look silly. Because everyone says “Who is that guy? That can’t be a Dallas Cowboy!”
p.s…it also looks like Romo’s timing with his receivers is off. His balls have been high or behind his receivers so far this year. Maybe he should take some more time to get in sync with his WR’s. And it’s about time to insert Dez Bryant into the starting lineup. He’ll make route running mistakes, but they might as well get that out of the way now.
p.s.s..oh! and if the running game is working, like say 3 carries for 25 yards, don’t abandon it if you only get a yard or two on the next few running plays like you did against Chicago. And if 1 back is putting up those 8 yards per carry, don’t take him out just to get another guy some touches. Leave the hot player in the game and keep feeding him! And the quote I’ve heard so many times “Jerry Jones can’t pay a player that much for riding the bench.” Well, why the hell not? If he’s hurting your team or limiting your team whereas another guy who doesn’t make as much $ can help the team, why not put the smaller pocket hole in the game? You’re going to be losing the same amount of money anyways so you might as well get the most out of your dollars. Even if it means swallowing your pride, admitting you made a mistake, and playing the younger, cheaper guy more because he CAN make plays.
You’re killing me, Smalls!