El inicio de la temporada del 2017 no ha sido nada fácil para los Dallas Cowboys. De hecho, ha sido bastante difícil. Con un récord de 2-3, una defensiva que no encuentra respuesta, la suspensión de Ezekiel Elliott de vuelta, un drama involucrando protestas y mucho más, no parece que las cosas se vayan a poner más sencillas.
Estamos viviendo una temporada en la que los aficionados de Dallas quieren culpar a todos por el desempeño del equipo hasta este momento. Es justo mencionar que apenas es la semana 6 en la NFL y quedan 11 juegos por jugar.
Y cuando analizamos los problemas del equipo, la verdad es que hay muchos. Son problemas que se pueden solucionar, y este equipo bien podría darle la vuelta a su temporada de un momento a otro.
No me parece justo, que en temporadas como esta, se le culpe a un jugador o entrenador individualmente. Las derrotas de este equipo no son sólo culpa de Terrance Williams, o de Ezekiel Elliott. Tampoco son culpa exclusivamente de la defensiva o de Jason Garrett. No, tampoco de Dak Prescott.
A lo largo de la temporada, varios aspectos del equipo han decepcionado. Sin embargo, insisto. Este es un equipo que puede darle la vuelta a su temporada en menos que nada. Y en este punto, los trabajos de los tres entrenadores principales de Dallas podrían estar en riesgo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El día de ayer escribí acerca de la posibilidad de que sea el último año de Rod Marinelli en Dallas. Aunque el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys tenga múltiples problemas, la defensiva sin duda es el principal.
Aunque muchos culpen a Dak Prescott y a Scott Linehan por su decisión de lanzar un pase en segunda oportunidad y por no deslizarse en la uno y dejarle menos tiempo a Aaron Rodgers... La verdad es que perdimos porque la defensiva no pudo frenar a Green Bay con menos de un minuto y medio en el reloj.
Por muchos años, la defensiva ha sido un problema. Y aunque muchas veces se argumente que Marinelli no tiene talento en la defensiva, a veces subestimamos a los jugadores que tiene este equipo.
Quizá no sean lo suficiente para ser una defensiva de elite como la de los Denver Broncos, pero Marinelli no consigue que sean siquiera decentes. Con un equipo tan joven, los Cowboys quizá estén interesados en dejar atrás a Marinelli y a la defensiva Tampa 2 al terminar esta temporada.
Sea cual sea el resultado.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
No hay duda de que Scott Linehan también ha tenido algunos problemas últimamente. Con una de las mejores ofensivas en la liga el año pasado, no ha cumplido las expectativas esta temporada.
Realmente, los Cowboys sólo han tenido una actuación dominante ofensivamente y fue contra los Packers. Lograron anotar 31 puntos y todos se vieron como se veían en el 2016. Pero fuera de ese encuentro, han tenido problemas.
Han tenido problemas dominando durante cuatro cuartos. Mantener su nivel de juego 60 minutos ha sido un reto para Linehan y su ofensiva, y no es algo que este equipo se pueda permitir.
Eso sin mencionar las jugadas cuestionables que manda en varios momentos del juego.
Scott Linehan debería estar en riesgo de perder su trabajo. Sin embargo, creo que la actuación de esta ofensiva lo salvará una vez más y permanecerá en el equipo.
Entrenador en Jefe Jason Garrett
Y ahora... lo que muchos aficionados a los Cowboys se preguntan cada vez que los Cowboys pierden un partido. No importa si ganan 13 partidos y el sembrado #1 de la NFC, siempre la atención caerá en los hombros del Coach del Año del 2016, Jason Garrett.
Y, por la naturaleza de su posición como Head Coach, creo que definitivamente es el más improbable de quedarse sin empleo al finalizar el año.
Sin embargo, es una posibilidad.
Y es algo que digo por primera vez en mi vida. Siempre he estado en contra de culpar a los entrenadores cada vez que el equipo sufra una derrota.
Pero, si los Cowboys terminan esta temporada debajo de las ocho victorias, no me sorprendería ver un cambio de entrenador en Dallas. Podría tener sentido, dependiendo de quien esté disponible.
Personalmente, me gusta Garrett un poco más que a la mayoría de los aficionados, pero un cambio podría llegar a ser bueno para la franquicia si es que este equipo no logra ganar la mitad de sus partidos esta temporada.
Was Sunday A “Wake Up Call,” Or Were Cowboys Exposed?
Entering last Sunday's game in Indianapolis, the Dallas Cowboys were riding high. Having won five straight games, including key victories over the top seeded Saints and division rival Eagles, everything seemed to be breaking right for the Cowboys heading into the home stretch.
Their defense was playing like one of the best in football, and after firing Paul Alexander and trading for Amari Cooper their offense was clicking just as they'd hoped. They needed (and still need) just one win to officially close out the division and clinch a home playoff game in January.
Instead, the Cowboys got absolutely demolished by the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, there's no shame in losing a road game to an 8-6 team in the NFL, but the way in which they lost certainly deserves some shame. Not even the 23-0 score can encapsulate the complete butt-kicking Dallas received at the hands of the Colts, and it was the type of loss that can sometimes make you question the blueprint.
The Cowboys, however, are not looking at it that way. Multiple leaders in the locker room have spoke this week about how they "needed" to lose like that. Running back Ezekiel Elliott called the loss embarrassing, but also said it is better for Dallas in the "grand scheme of the season."
Clearly, the leaders and coaches are calling the putrid performance a wake up call, something that will galvanize them and reset their win streak heading into the postseason. But is this really the case, or was the shutout defeat more of a sign of things to come?
Obviously it's too early to say for sure, but I do think it can be a little bit of both.
No, the Cowboys are not the class of the NFC, despite beating what can be called the best team in the same conference a couple weeks ago. There probably will prove to be some drop-off from the top 3 seeds in the conference and the Cowboys, if for no other reason than Dallas will have to go on the road to play those teams in the playoffs. It's really hard to win on the road in the NFL, especially with the increased wackiness of 2018.
The Cowboys offense is far from perfect or prolific, though if clicking they now have the skill talent to drop 30+ points any given Sunday. Their defense is talented, has a high ceiling, but is still very young and inexperienced. Though they've played elite level games before, they've also had some stinkers against the Colts and Titans during the same season.
All of this can be true. The Cowboys can be a team deserving of the playoffs, a team we should not be panicking over, but still a very flawed football team. They can be a team that if "hot" could make a run through the postseason, but also will have to answer some tough questions about coaches and players during the next two offseasons.
After all, who isn't greatly flawed in today's NFL? Hell, we just saw the beloved Rams lose two straight games.
Is it Too Late For Dallas to Fire OC Scott Linehan?
Grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to run the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan out of town. His playcalling has been absolutely atrocious season and it's time for him to hit the road, even if there are only two regular-season games left on the schedule.
It's completely unorthodox for an NFL team to fire an offensive coordinator this late in the season, but just last week we saw the Minnesota Vikings do just that when they parted ways with John DeFilippo. It was definitely a bold move to make considering the Vikings are still in playoff contention, but it was something they believed was in the best interest of their team.
I believe if the Dallas Cowboys want to do what's best for their team right now and not later, then they should go ahead and cut ties with Scott Linehan. His predictability and un-creativeness as a play caller is holding back a talented offense, which is hurting the overall team as a result. He's been given every opportunity to turn things around, but enough is enough.
I'd personally be on board with Jason Garrett taking over the playcalling duties. He has the experience and held the position with the Cowboys from 2007 until Linehan was hired. I'd even consider giving Kellen Moore a shot as the OC. He knows the system and has worked closely with Quarterback Dak Prescott. Regardless, the Cowboys need to find some way to increase their offensive productivity.
Right now the Cowboys offense is the 26th scoring offense in the NFL and are averaging just 19.7 points per game. To make matters worse they are the 31st ranked Red Zone offense in the league. I don't know about you, but I think that is completely unacceptable with the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball.
Firing Linehan has been a long time coming. The Cowboys flirted with the idea earlier this season during the bye week and should've pulled the trigger then, but for some reason or another decided to let him stick around. They are definitely still paying for that mistake now.
The Cowboys mistake not to replace Linehan could mean yet another early exit in the playoffs, something we have unfortunately become accustomed to. Scoring just 19 points a game isn't going to get them very far, which is truly unfortunate considering the talent they've acquired this season.
Unfortunately, as much as we would love to see Scott Linehan tarred and feathered and run out of town, I just don't see the Cowboys doing that before their season is officially over. But, in no way should he be allowed to retain his position beyond this season. He clearly isn't the answer any longer.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should fire Scott Linehan?
Despite Embarrassing Showing, Health Remains Biggest Cowboys Concern
What is it about the AFC South with these Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas' five game winning streak came to a close on Sunday, as they got straight-up embarrassed by the now 8-6 Indianapolis Colts on the road. The loss was the first since the Cowboys were embarrassed by a different AFC South competitor, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday night football earlier this season.
Though the final was 23-0, and not a single phase (or really even a single player) showed much fight or promise, the biggest concern I have for the Cowboys moving forward didn't change because of the putrid performance. It didn't change because the defense was gashed play after play or the offense failed to finish a single drive. And it didn't even change because both the Redskins and Eagles secured season-saving victories on the same day Dallas was dismantled.
The biggest concern is still their health, particularly across the offensive line.
That was not a playoff caliber interior offensive line the Cowboys put out their on Sunday. Not even close.
With their backup center in Joe Looney, backup guard in Connor Williams, and the very last interior offensive linemen on their roster in Adam Redmond playing for basically the entire game, this offense never had a chance. Dak Prescott wasn't any more inaccurate or indecisive than normal, but all those who like to scream "step up in the pocket" whenever he is sacked did not seem to have an argument this week.
There often was no pocket to step into, as those interior three, specifically Looney and Redmond, failed to provide much protection or confidence for Prescott at all. Joe Looney has actually been rather solid this season, but Sunday felt like one of his worst games of the entire year.
The Cowboys absolutely need Zack Martin to get healthy if they are to make any noise whatsoever in the postseason. At the very least, the need Xavier Su'a-Filo to come back and replace Redmond, and regain the form he displayed during his debut against the Eagles back in November.
Prescott already has issues with his pocket presence and footwork when pressured, so throwing three backup-level linemen right in front of him is not a recipe for success for the Cowboys.
I'm not jumping out of the window over this loss, and I don't think any of you should be either. Dallas had won three straight incredibly emotional and important home games to extend, save, and solidify their season respectively before this loss. They had also just about clinched the NFC East a week ago with their win over Philadelphia, and they played like a team that was due a flat performance
A letdown loss on the road, against a good team I might add, is not the end of the world. The bigger issue here is their health, because if Martin can return to anchor this offensive line, the offense should look a whole lot better than they did against Indianapolis.
It's time to move on from Sunday, go beat Tampa Bay, officially clinch the division, and get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
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