DC Times Reader Comments
One of my favorite parts about running this site is the quality of comments I receive. I appreciate all of your thoughts and the clarity with which everyone writes. DC Times must have the most intelligent base of readers of any NFL-related website. Here are some of the recent comments regarding the Cowboys’ 1-5 start. . .
As pitiful as the situation is, there is a bright side.
Part of the reason Dallas drafted Dez Bryant is because all of the quality lineman worthy of helping Dallas in the near future were gone by their pick. Dez fell to 24 and they scooped him up. I’ve been critical of this move but it seems as if Dez was a quality pick at that spot regardless of whether Dallas didn’t need another receiver (much better and quality special team returner and receiver).
But now, it’s clear that Dallas will probably win around 4-6 games this year netting them a probable top 6-10 pick next year. They CLEARLY need solutions along ALL the interior line positions and at RT for the future.
The Boys are 1-5 w/ their starting QB out, their backup QB is accurate and smart but much less mobile and the O line is riddled with need (including Gurode). No other team will take a trade for Gurode or Davis so they’re probably outright cuts. Holland is serviceable at backup G but not center (and even he’s hurt now).
Yep, at 1-5, things are looking up for next season.
All good comments by all.
But Jonathon, I’d like to see an article that states this season clearly as it is. As fans (and analysts), we look at the season of football with apirations of playoffs and then the Superbowl. Wade made comments during his press conference that he’s got one game. The next one. That’s not a viewpoint all of us have (nor should Jerry Jones). I mean, I can understand Wade’s desire to keep everyone focused on the next task at hand, but he’s an idiot to think that the “collection” or body of works the Boys have amassed this season have all but eliminated their chance at the postseason. Statistically, they can still make it, but who (including the head coach, Gen Mgr/Owner, player or fan) thinks that is probable or likely. Again, it’s possible, but I could be struck by lightning while I write this comment as well. I’d give both of them the same chance of occurrence.
It is unwise to put stock into events that have a low probability of occurring. I understand that it’s sports and the will to compete is what drives everyone to strive to win. I agree with that mentality completely when I’m playing poker in a tournament. But, when I have a franchise worth billions of dollars and the likelyhood of that business being undervalued this year but worth much more in the future, I take the hit initially for the chance at much more later. Jerry Jones didn’t plan this but his team is 1-5 w/ the starting QB out for 8 weeks. Ticket prices have dropped significantly and will continue to. Redskins, Eagles and the Thanksgiving game will probably still sell out, but look for less than full houses at other games as well as a drop in sales of Cowboys merchandise for the remainder of the season (I say this as a season ticket holder who will be at the games).
Sometimes admitting defeat allows for preparation for the next battle. It’s not cowardly to admit when you’re beat, it’s smart. And simply put, the combination of scheme (playcalling on both offense and defense), special teams coverage on kickoff (and to some degree punts) and lack of discipline play has landed the Boys at 1-5.
So, let’s put out an article about what to do next with regard to rest of the season. Perhaps the Boys should look into trading away some “expendable” talent for better prospects in areas of weakness. I know the fans love Keith Brooking but he really isn’t a viable option for the next 2 years and the limited play of the pre-season really isn’t enough to evaluate who the replacement ILB should be (or even if the future ILB is on the team right now). And, I know the fans love all 3 RBs but that’s really 1 too many. Felix is a lock so either MBIII or TC needs to go. Excellent trade bait if yuou ask me and personnally, TC is a more complete back and ischeaper and younger so MBIII should go for a 3rd or better (we got him for a 4th) – San Diego needs another back and Buffalo could use a complement to that shifty rookie of theirs. Lastly, some of the coaching staff needs to go. I’m not saying its Wade as his style might work with hard-nose coordinators and other staff members. Maybe Garrett could be considered worthwhile to a fledgling team or offense (I remember Jon Gruden was “traded” to the Bucs for pics when he took over for Dungy).
To me, the only viable move that makes the most sense and has the highest potential for payoff for the future is to swallow our pride and realize our best strategy at this points is to invest in it now by giving our young talent more experience, cutting some salary for the obvious high draft pick we’ll receive and installing more discipline through more hard line position coaches. I just hope that Jerry Jones thinks the same…
The Cowboys are 30th in the league in rushing (even w/ the 3 good backs we have). As I posted earlier, I think one of these backs should go and it should be MBIII. He’s the most expensive and while still holding good value.
The Detroit Lions are one of the few teams worse than the Cowboys in rushing. Their starting RB is Jahvid Best, a rookie who’s a quick, shifty back. MBIII would be a perfect complement. The Lions have 4 RBs on their roster now, one being Maurice Morris (#4). He’s a 9 yr veteran who at one time had 600 yds in a season w/ Seattle. I say trade MBIII to Detroit for a 4th rd pick and Morris or a outright for a 3rd.
If not, the only other team worse than the Cowboys in rushing is Denver who actually is in need of another back given their starter, Knowshon Moreno, is injury prone as he has only played 4 games this year and was hurt much of last year. The Broncos tried to recruit a power back earlier in picking up LenDale White but ended up placing him on IR. I’m sure they’d jump at the chance to get MBIII (or maybe even TC) and cut ties w/ LenDale. Only thing is they do have 2 other backs, Corey Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney, that are decent. But trading for MBIII would reunite Maroney and Barber who were a tandem at U of Minnessota. Again, at least a 3rd pick would be needed I think but given that the Boys would be trading him out of conference (much like Patrick Crayton), I could see taking a little less (high 4th rd pick) for him.
I’ve read much about getting rid of Wade Phillips. The more I think about it, the more I don’t like it. Why? Two reasons (1 explained below): Wade is a good D coordinator and is functioning in that capacity now. The defense is ranked 10th in total defense right now (and that’s after a gashing by a good NY football team). They’re 7th against the pass (in terms of yards) and 21st against the run (in terms of yards per carry). They created 5 turnovers vs. the Giants alone. Really, for being 1-5, that’s not bad.
The real issue w/ the team is the offensive play calling, the lack of discipline and special teams. So, the way to go about fixing the Boys is to address each problem specifically.
The offense play calling is about an identity and the Cowboys seem to want the identity of a throw first (vertical passing) type of style identity. I think that is OK if you have the equipment to do that – which the Boys lack. The QB, WR, TE and RB positions are all suited for that but the most important one – the O line – is far from prepared. Therefore, you have 3 options: replace personnel w/ correct ones (takes time and is usually costlier) but at some point in time will be necessary, coach/train the current individuals to adequacy (I’m sure that’s what been tried up to this point – Hudson Houck is a well known as a good coach but that might not be enough) or change the identity of the offense; namely to a running team. Last year, the Boys were 1st in rushing 3 games into the season but seemed to abandon their commitment to the run in favor of their identy. Nevertheless, with the current personnel, option #3 seems to be the best but I doubt Jerry Jones wants the unexciting, grind it out, punt the ball and rely on your defense type of style. That’s also why I don’t think Cowher would be a good candidate for the job nor do I think the Boys should adopt one identity for a total of 12 games only to change it next season. So, one of the 1st 2 options needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
Special teams is another area. There have definitely been some highlights but definitely some low areas. A lot of special teams has to deal w/ backup LBs, TEs, WRs, CBs and Safeties and is basically a discipline thing w/ staying in your lane, blocking (and getting off them) and breaking down prior to the ball to make good form tackles. Last year, Patrick Crayton had 2 punt returns for TDs due primarily to blocking. The 2 this year by Dez seem to be more of individual effort on his part (there was some blocking done, I’m just saying it seemed to be better prior). I’ve high on AOA as a 4th CB/safety but he hasn’t really done much by way of KR since the pre-season. The fix: keep DeCalmus but emphasize more discipline (this can be done a # of ways which aren’t mentioned here). And, for the life of me, I can’t understand using Buehler any more for FGs. He can and should be the kickoff specialist and a FG kicker should be brought in. I know the Boys tried that last year and it didn’t really work but that seems to be the best option. Free up a roster spot by cutting, yes cutting, Leonard Davis (he’s old, overpaid and underachieving). And, just FYI, Nick Folk (NY Jets) has just as many touchbacks as Bueher right now while making 87 percent of his FGs (13-15) with more attempts while Buehler is making 73 percent (8-11). JJ should have known to put Folk on IR instead of cutting but I guess he didn’t want to have to pay 3 kickers salaries’.
Lastly is the area of lack of discipline. This is where firing Wade makes sense if you’re gonna do that. But, I think he should stay as mentioned previously because of his D coord skills (firing him means you essentially hire 2 new coaches). But also, the players know and like Wade. He’s basically a good guy and the players WANT to play for him (motivation is not something this team lacks). Wade is simply not a disciplinarian.
So, you fix that buy bringing (not promoting from within) a new O coordinator and Asst D coordinator who are hard nose, tough as nails, won’t except anything less than perfection type of people. They can be the “bad” guys while Wade gets to save face, still have a hand (read that as final say) in the defense, and continue the continuity already established between him and his players.
Like most, I simply cannot believe the season is where it is right now. I must admit that every week I cannot shake items that stand out in my mind ,game after game (plus, my comments just provide some therapy for me):
1. The team takes the personality of the coach. We must be honest, which defense would we rather have right now? The Giants seem to be swarming everywhere with speed and physicality. The Cowboys…not so much. While Romo’s injury is tragic, the defense was getting torched even when Romo was in the game. Is it scheme or players? Or both?
2. I simply cannot fathom how the Cowboys brass thought Sensabaugh and Ball were formidable. Sensaugh is a fair coverage safety on RBs and TEs but I don’t see anything “strong” or “free” about the safties. They just don’t make plays. The DEs are here to stop the run, I get that but they do little else and didn’t stop the run yesterday. We have no third CB and our top two are seemingly injured often. Scandrick is simply regressing.
3. So, I think our D is just far overrated. The really sad part is that Wade is not getting the most out of this D. There is little passion and if fans are being honest, the playmakers, Spencer, Ratliff, Ware, Jenkins, and Newman are not at the peak of their game. They folded yesterday…early and that was very discouraging.
4. As for the offense, it remains very obvious that our offensive line is a liability not only in pass protection but the running game.
To me, emotion is a big part of the game particularly on special teams and defense. Coach D showed that playing with emotion sparked his special teams. We just don’t see it often in the defense and that is reflected in Wade Phillips…”we played hard…we never game up…blah blah blah.”
The tragic 09 draft leaves us with no seemingly capable upstarts at LB, CB or OL. After 6 games, I think it’s become clearer that the Cowboys may not have the talent everyone thought they did and the Coach is not getting the best of his players.
I’m optimistic about next season and the offseason. The Cowboy STILL haven’t lost a game by more than a tocuhdown, and if you look at their yards forced versus yards allowed they were way a head prior to tonight. Every loss you can point to an awful call or a stupid penalty that cost them the game, I think that will change with a new coaching staff. More importantly, Jerry Jones is a bright guy…I really think he’ll fix his mistakes and pick up either an elite tackle or corner prospect with his first pick, and then go OL for the rest of the draft. With a better line and another corner I think this team, with Romo, can win a Super Bowl next year. It may not be at home, but I like their chances.
Hopefully he’ll fix a few things this year, like give Wade the ax midseason and hire someone to at least rile up the fan base…next year he should be looking at either a bright new school type of guy or Bill Cower. That said, it’s time to start scouting OL and secondary talent in the college ranks.
Go ahead and take a day off. I don’t really even want to watch the next game. As you, myself, and other have said, our oline is terrible. The game is still won and lost in the trenches. The Giants oline just absolutely dominated us. Collectively, our D was terrible. Our ILBs have been suspect all year and other than the INT, Brooking has looked to be done. Other than Newman our DBs have been terrible all year. Even Newman was bad last night. I agree that we have guys who are not willing to hit/tackle. BTW what was Olshansky doing with his little dance thing on a couple of occasions. We need a coach bad and no real coach will come here, Our meddling GM, won’t allow a FOOTBALL GUY to do his thing. I would like Gruden because of his offensive mind, but I just don’t see it happening. JJ is standing behind Wade. Are you kidding me. IMO Wade has clearly lost this team. I think Kitna can get the job done if we can protect him. I MISS BILL! Boy, Keyshawn told it like it was in the pregame regarding Bill and Jerry. Bill built what we had and piece by piece it is being destroyed, again. We need a talent evaluator badly. If not we will make some terrible mistakes in cutting/resigning free agents next spring. Several linemen on both sides of the ball will be due and at this point who would you want to keep?
Hey Jonathan…what were your thoughts on the Boys going for the TD down 18 instead of kicking a FG. I know lots of fans and the media were all over it. But I personally wouldn’t have wanted them to kick a FG. They are down 18 and are going to need 2 TD’s regardless. I’d rather they go for broke.
I’m sure fans that complain bout not kicking the FG would be the same people complaining that the Boys had no guts and quit by kicking a FG instead of going for a TD had they did kick it. Same way fans boo when teams kneel the ball to end the 1st half.