I spent the weekend reading “Boys Will Be Boys” the Jeff Pearlman book about the on-goings of the Dallas Cowboys in the 90’s. Hard to believe that all took place so long ago (20 years since Jerry bought the team). It was great remembering some of the things that took place, and hearing different things for the first time. Though I have not finished reading the entire book yet a few things come immediately to mind that would help this Cowboys team. Unfortunately we live in the era of the salary cap and coaches and player personnel cannot conduct business as they did back then. I would suggest though that our fearless leader (Wade Phillips) go back and review how Jimmy conducted business!
Jimmy Johnson was an unbelievable coach and talent evaluator. He was also a a large pain in the ass! Some of the things Jimmy did I would not wish on my worst enemy. One thing that Jimmy did exceptionally well however is something that this team dearly needs. He had a great feel for his team! When I say that I am talking about when his teams started to get a big head he knew it and was quick to make an example of someone to show the rest of the team that know one was safe! In a previous post I wrote about how this team is in dire need of quality players behind some of the starters to push them.
The Cowboy teams of the 90’s for the most part despised their coach, but they would run through brick walls for him. Now the argument can be made that Dallas was just to deep and to athletically gifted to lose, and that would be a solid argument. That team however was exactly that a TEAM! The players stuck together, they believed in one another.
We have heard over and over again that Dallas has too many egos on this team, and too many questionable character guys (T.O., Pacman, Romo). Well guess what? This team does not have near as many players that fit that profile as those 90’s teams did (Irvin,Haley,Deon,Nate Newton,etc.). So what is the difference? Was it all Jimmy? The difference is accountability! The coaches held every player accountable, and the players held all of their teammates accountable! The coaching staff made the players believe in the system, and the players executed to the best of their abilities and made sure that the man next to them was doing the same, or there would be hell to pay. There were no off days, there were no light training camps, there were no practices where hitting was left out. Those teams prepared exactly like they would play and most times harder. When is the last time you heard of a Cowboys team practicing outside during inclement weather? 1993 that’s when. Football players are warriors and must train that way in order to keep an edge, this team trains like dancer’s in the Nutcracker! So what happens? They play like crap, and they quit when things get tough!
One of the greatest Cowboys QBs, Troy Aikman always had somebody behind him that was either competing for his job or could step in and do his job if he was hurt or just did not get the job done. Do you all remember Steve Beuerlein? Yes the one that led Dallas on a 5 game streak to get them in the playoffs in 1991. The same one that even after Troy was healthy again continued to start. The following season Troy was a different player because of this, he was more focused, he cut out the stupid mistakes. Yes I know Troy would have more than likely done this without Beuerlein being there, but do you not think that this helped speed up the process? Tony Romo does not have to push himself. There is no one behind him that wants or could take his job! I believe Tony works hard, I also believe that there are different types of “working hard”. There is Working hard because you want to win! And There is working hard because you want to win and I better get better or they will bench my ass! Same goes for everyone else on this team!
There are many things this group could learn from their ancestors. The question becomes will Wade take a stroll down memory lane and heed the advice given by the ghost’s at Valley Ranch? At this point Wade is himself looking over his shoulder. Now is the time to do something drastic! The changing of the year will not cure this teams ailments, firing Bruce Read although needed will not fix them either. No its time Wade makes things a little uneasy around there. Maybe signing someone like Kurt Warner would do the trick? Maybe sending Flozell Adams packing might do it? Maybe Terrell Owens needs to go? Something must happen because if this team simply returns as it is next season, 8-8 is a maybe! Wade Phillips cannot be the tyrant that Jimmy was but he can be more like Jimmy and less like Andy Griffith and maintain credibility with the team! The players do like Wade and will play for Wade, they just need a little more motivation!
What changes do you think would best repair this broken team?