Cowboys fans are getting on my nerves! I love you guys, but if I have to read one more time how Jason Garrett should be fired because Brandon Weeden is winning with the Houston Texans, I might very well puke. That's not too strong a reaction, is it? Certainly feels like an apt description.
I don't mean to start this off so negatively; regardless of how it sounds, I love my Cowboys as much today as the day I became a fan (1992 Super Bowl). It's just that I've gained the rather miserable perspective over the years that the Dallas Cowboys are not Dallas Cowboys fans.
I'm free to hate on one without condemning the other. A trait far too uncommon for my liking.
The only way I know to alleviate my pain is to make a case in hopes that someone might learn something from it. If all else fails, it should suffice as an effective <rant>.
So, all you Cowboys fans out there, and an insane number of Cowboys haters, too, here's what's up.
The mere existence of success by one player on one team after his failure on another team means nothing but how he fit into the scheme of each team. I keep seeing people talking trash about how Jason Garrett should be fired because he lost games with a quarterback that went on to win with another team immediately, and it's all hogwash. Absolute bullshit.
First of all, the Cowboys have continued to lose behind 2 other quarterbacks besides Brandon Weeden. How on earth people can draw any conclusions without first accounting for that is beyond me, but there you go. If 3 guys can't get it done, with all their varying levels of skill and experience, then no one of those 3 guys can be assigned blame or credit. They can only be assigned a measurable lack of credit as individuals. We're not talking about Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady behind Tony Romo; then you could blame the coaches.
Second, the only guy to start a game we've won this year at quarterback isn't just another plug-n-play peripheral; he's the franchise quarterback. Yes, in 2 of the 4 wins this season the Cowboys finished the game with a backup quarterback, but that only attests to an ability not to lose the game.
Romo already won it, dammit.
Finally, keep in mind that while Weeden traded the Cowboys for the Texans and started winning games, Ryan Mallett traded the Texans for the Baltimore Ravens and started winning games, too.
The bottom line is no matter what you think of Weeden, Matt Cassel, Kellen Moore, or Tony Romo, what any one of those guys does on another team has feck-all to do with the Dallas Cowboys.
I can't argue that Tony Romo being healthy would've created more wins for the team, but I concede that only because I know that the defacto standard 12-4 record just wasn't in the cards for these 2015 Dallas Cowboys, with or without him.
Say what you will about injuries, and lord knows the Bruce Arians-commanded Arizona Cardinals bought into it wholesale last year, but injuries do affect the overall performance of a team. You can't pin every loss on injuries, short of 90-percent of the starting roster being on injured reserve, of course, but it does contribute to the woes of a football club.
Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick; put these guys in for all 16 games this year and you've got at least a few more wins. Maybe even 8-8 after all is said and done.
But then you've got guys like Morris Claiborne, Sean Lee, Randy Gregory, Cole Beasley, Jason Witten, and Brice Butler all having repeated injury issues throughout the year. It's a lot of small pieces that make up a football team and, as far as small pieces go, some of those guys are pretty big in the overall scheme of things.
Not seeing my point? Just look at the way Brice Butler and Kellen Moore worked together on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills; they've been practicing with each other more than any other QB/WR combo and it showed on the field. Remember, these two had experience together before ending up together on the Cowboys this year.
Never underestimate chemistry and familiarity.
Romo and Witten have had both for a long time and look at the rewards it's brought us. Romo and Dez Bryant are working on something similar, as are Romo and Cole Beasley. It's not just about Xs and Os on the field; it's also about knowing what the other guy is going to do.
So no, had Tony Romo been healthy all season, these Cowboys wouldn't be ruling any universes. There are simply far more variables than just one guy, albeit a guy capable of creating opportunities otherwise missed.
I like the guy. I thought that he showed good things against the New York Jets and again against the Bills, but "good things" loosely translates to "better than the last guy." To borrow a phrase from Bill Parcells, we're not anointing anyone yet, and for good reason.
Tony Romo is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Short of Roger Staubach or Joe Montana stepping into their glory days next Sunday in a Cowboys uniform, Moore, Cassel, and Weeden were only ever vying for 1st place loser. So what does it really matter that Moore hasn't been as bad as his immediate predecessors? He's not unseating the incumbent.
That said, I was talking with the guys over at the Pigskin Hub forums today about Kellen Moore and it occurred to me that I've been rooting for him just like so many other fans have rooted for him. Given the situation this team is in, I like what Moore has done these last 5 quarters of football; interceptions be damned. When you're 4-10, a couple of interceptions and errant throws are to be expected. And that's the problem; we're spoiled. We're spoiled by the way this team operated last year with Tony and Dez taking advantage of DeMarco Murray's ground game.
The second Romo went down in week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles, hordes of fans dressed in black and called the season. Even more joined them on Thanksgiving Day against the then undefeated Carolina Panthers.
We're so used to being up Schitt's Creek once Tony Romo gets injured that we're clamoring for anyone to wow us. As if a guy who went undrafted and spent the majority of his time on practices squads the last 4 years before clearing waivers multiple times this year is going to start popping out wins like Golden Eggs or something.
I hate the way this team has performed this year. I can find just as many bright spots and consolations as the next guy to get me through, but when it comes right down to it, the 2015 Dallas Cowboys have sucked. And it's been hard as hell keeping optimistic all this time, but I've done it, as most of you have done it.
You know your team's in trouble when advancing draft position is big news. Just saying.
Coaching changes have been on-going for several years now. If you think Jason Garrett is the problem, that he's too lenient or doesn't understand the game of football, whatever your particular brand of hate happens to be, then why do the Cowboys even employ assistant coaches? They obviously mean nothing to the success or failure of the team so why hire them in the first place?
Because Garrett is a manager. He manages shit. He sets goals and agendas and trains his people to carry out their tasks in a way that fits some grand plan he's concocted. He does not sit at the helm of a ship barking orders to machine-like pilots and co-pilots to steer the thing, he has to rely on these men to do their jobs. That is, to produce results from their guys (the players).
Jason Garrett merely manages things.
The next time you're complaining about how someone on the team is playing, try looking at other guys in that unit as well. There are coaches for the wide receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, offensive linemen, running backs, linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, and defensive linemen; and each of those guys are as crucial to the success of every play as Jason Garrett is.
I hate to be obtuse about this but it is a team sport.
There. I'm done. I've said my peace. I can now go about my day with a renewed sense of optimism for the new year - personally, professionally, and as a football fan. Thanks for sticking around for my little </rant>. Happy New Year!
P.S., Mad respect to @DCBlueStar for the cover image used on this post.
Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern
Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.
2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.
As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.
Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.
Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.
Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.
Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.
The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.
Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.
We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.
With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
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