“We didn’t put the priority on taking a back… I wouldn’t say it’s a priority right now” ~ DallasCowboys.com – May 6, 2015
“We don’t have that as a must to come out of here with a running back” ~ USA Today – April 28, 2015
“When you say the entire running game (…) we’re better (in 2015)” ~ NFL.com – May 14, 2015
“Garrett went on to state the Cowboys feel good with their current running back corps, making it easier to avoid using one of their eight picks on an RB.” ~ Star-Telegram.com – May 2, 2015
What a difference 6 months makes. Those 4 quotes are from 4 separate articles written in the span of about 14 days between the end of April and the beginning of May. An aggressive arrogance and sunshiny optimism that now leaves a supposed Super Bowl contender looking for a spark to turn around a disappointing 2-3 start.
Aggressive arrogance and sunshiny optimism are usually reserved for fans (guilty of it myself from time to time) but when it bleeds into a front office, you have serious problems.
It’s been said that there is no more popular football player than a team’s backup quarterback, but for years now, the Cowboys and their fans have fallen victim to reserve running back envy.
It started with Troy Hambrick in 2002, followed by ReShard Lee in 2004, then Marion Barber in 2007, Felix Jones in 2008-2010, and finally Joseph Randle in 2014.
In each of those seasons, fans clamored for the reserve running back to supplant the starter. When it happened – except for ReShard Lee, who never started – fans and coaches were ultimately disappointed.
That’s one part of it; sunshiny optimism leading you to believe that reserve players can easily make the jump to the starting lineup. That can be detrimental, but it’s ultimately the aggressive arrogance that led to the Christine Michael Hail Mary.
Cowboys Twitter gloated all offseason about Dallas’ unstoppable offensive line, with the common refrain being that anyone could run behind them and get 1,200 yards. What stunningly played out is that the Cowboys coaching staff and front office actually believed this, taking what was an internet meme and choosing to implement it as actual strategy on the field.
It was a terrible miscalculation and an absolutely reckless orchestration of the roster.
Christine Michael may very well be an effective option at running back. He may step on the field Sunday against the Giants and reel off 125 yards and two touchdowns, which would be great. But the fact that the Cowboys are now relying on an opening week trade of a conditional draft pick should tell you all you need to know about the front office’s offseason defeat.
Jason Garrett and Stephen Jones are coming out of the bunker, hands raised, and acknowledging that they’ve lost.
As Cowboys fans, we should hope this is nothing more than a lost battle, and that the team will ultimately win the war when Dez Bryant and Tony Romo return. But as it stands, the arrogant assessment of the running game and the offensive line has been one of the biggest contributing factors to a largely disappointing season for the “win-now” 2015 Dallas Cowboys.