Right now there are a lot of unhappy Cowboys fans. Maybe some can be construed as fickle or spoiled, but the fact remains that the teams recent swoon is something few saw coming. That almost includes me. I really had thought these weaknesses would make it to the spotlight in the playoffs somewhat, while the talking heads would again claim that Tony Romo can't "win the big one".
It really wouldn't have mattered if Romo, Brad Johnson, or Roger Staubach took the snaps during Sundays loss. As proven three of the last four weeks, it is impossible for any Quarterback to succeed when he is throwing virtually every pass while being hit by the other team. The ugliness in Saint Louis was nothing new for those not jaded by slogans or expectations. The fact is that Jerry Jones has built a team to lose the big one.
Most "pundits" look at the head coach or quarterback to lay blame. This is what I call the "TV Syndrome". It's shallow and without substance. This may best describe Jerry Jones as well. He has neglected the most important factors needed in a true formula conducive to winning. He has gotten a boat load of talented ball handlers for both sides of the ball. The Cowboys back seven, on both offense and defense, are amongst the most talented in the game today. Jerry must have forgotten, somewhere along the way, that eleven men take the field. Maybe his own vanity and greed caused this oversight? The Cowboys almost resemble him, much like how a pet sometimes tends to look like its owner. Shallow and without substance.
The Rams recent surge should have caught no one off guard. It was obvious 3 weeks ago that there was a mutiny under former head coach Scott Linehan. The Rams still have many very talented players. Many times in sports history, you will see a team briefly play well after a coaching change, and even some sustain it for longer periods of time. But the Rams are still a team with a mediocre offensive line, and a defensive line mixed with veterans and young guys with promise. Last Sunday, the defensive line played as if the Fearsome Foursome had donned their jerseys. The Cowboys offensive line continued to play like matadors, much like they have all year.
Marion Barber gashed an underwhelming Rams defense for 100 yards on only 18 carries. In fact, the Cowboys got 24 more yards on just three carries from Tashard Choice and Patrick Crayton. Most teams, who run with that type of zest, continue to pound the ball and control the clock. Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett has done a horrible job so far this year, and continues to ignore the run week to week. This decision is even more confusing when you see the woes of the Cowboys pass blocking skills. Flozell Adams is a Right Tackle forced to play Left Tackle. He is much too slow to handle a speed rusher. Even a decent pass rusher with little speed. That was shown in the Arizona loss when the oft-injured Cardinals veteran Defensive End Bertrand Berry spent the game pummeling Tony Romo. The Cowboys Right Tackle, Marc Colombo, has been terrible as well. There is a reason the Bears let this former first round pick walk out of Chicago. The Cowboys offensive line is comprised of big, fat guys who can run block occasionally at best. This unit is the teams Achilles heel.
The defensive line, however, would be the bleeding cut on that Achilles heel. They spent their Sunday in Saint Louis getting run over by one of the lesser offensive lines in the NFL. Steven Jackson averaged 6.4 yards on 25 carries. He had come into the game averaging only 3.6 yards per carry on 96 attempts. Other than five sacks from their linebackers, the Cowboys got no pressure on Rams QB Marc Bulger. This happened against a mediocre Rams offensive line in a game where the Cowboys knew they had to get to Bulger to help their depleted secondary now inhabited by rookies and backups. Now that Strong Safety Roy Williams is out for the season, things can only be expected to get uglier.
Jerry Jones has placed Wade Phillips in an impossible situation. No coach, not even Tom Landry, can win consistently with this current personnel. You can surround the trenches with all the talented and pretty players, but they won't get the ball if no one is giving them the opportunity. Jason Garrett needs to help his team by getting back to the basics of smash mouth football, and pray that Barber will hold up. When Felix Jones returns, Garrett must get this kid the ball more than 2-5 times a game. Garrett's system is squandering the talent. This suppression, factored in by the awful play at the line of scrimmage, could end up costing the Cowboys a playoff slot in the toughest division in football = the NFC East.
John McCain, Part Deux
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