What is it? What’s it do? How does it work?
Each snap of the football is creating more questions than answers as this Cowboys season reveals itself in 2014. Fans of this perennial 8-8 machine are trying to figure out what’s up. It’s like a first date with an old flame that went blonde and had some work done. What have we here?
I’m pretty sure a roster swap didn’t occur at twilight back in the lazy days of June, and that’s still Jason Garrett over there on the sideline. There’s Romo and Dez, and a bunch of guys named Broderick manning the defensive lines and whatnot. Yep, pretty much the same bunch, best I can tell.
But other than the 1-1 record, this isn’t the same girl we knew before. Better here, worse there, and a wholotta we’ll see everywhere else.
So far, I love the run game, I’m awfully worried about Tony Romo, and I’m reluctantly giddy about the defense.
DeMarco Murray is pounding through defenses in chunks and leaving scars behind. And Scott Linehan seems pleased to stay in that gear. Willful dominance is the favorite style of yours truly, and it’s the best remedy for late-season failings on cold December nights. We’ve called for it, and now I think the genuine engine is there to make it the core of the offense.
The flip side, however, is a quarterback that looks uncomfortable or incapable, hopefully not both. Missing Wednesday’s padded practice doesn’t bode well for a long season ahead. The question is simple: Is this Romo working on his strength and fitness in the early part of the season, or is this Romo for the rest of his career, managing a body that can’t be Romo anymore?
It’s hard to tell if Romo didn’t want to avoid the pressure, or if Doug Free’s whiffs were so bad that Romo was just being prudent. Let’s be honest, prudence doesn’t live on Romo’s DNA strand, so something is different. If this is the best Romo we see, this season is already doomed. Not every game will allow a run-first approach; Romo will still have to win a handful with his Jedi ways.
Let’s just hope this is more about Romo building up than Romo breaking down.
Now about this defense. “I-told-you-so’s” are weak, and I don’t like them, but the dogpiling I endured from insisting that this defense would be better demands it. I was right, and you were wrong. You know who you are. Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your face in doo doo. There.
Truthfully, we can’t be sure yet of course, but isn’t this fun for a change? Scandrick returns Sunday, and if this thing can float until the speed rushers come back, it might be legitimately average. I dare not say above average. One miracle at a time.
Spencer and Lawrence can add to a group that is benefiting from the physical presence of Rolando McClain in the middle, as well as the line with additions of Crawford, Mincey, Melton, and company. I’m sorry, but Ware and Hatcher didn’t bring this kind of muscle. This is a better solution to a very old problem.
Rolando McClain is the magic in the hope and resurgence. He’s got to stay together for this thing to continue like this. That groin must heal and not be heard from again, and his mentality must do the same. So far, so good in the latter. I can’t help but ponder the thought of him in the middle with Sean Lee returning next year at the weak or strong side. That could help them both tremendously, but that’s for another day.
The gravity of Dallas’ reality won’t hit until the final whistle in Seattle in a few weeks. By then, the Cowboys will have faced Brees’ offensive wizardry, Houston’s defensive front, and Seattle’s hellishly obnoxious confines. By then, there will be no more unanswered questions regarding Romo, the defense, or this year’s prospects. She’ll be what she is.
At the very least, 2014 isn’t the same old crackers we’ve been gnawing on forever. Whatever it is, it’s got a different taste and feel than before. That much we know.