As I wrote in a previous article, the objectives of this 2010 Cowboys team must change after their 1-5 start. Specifically, the balance of importance between winning now and preparing for the future must shift to emphasize the latter.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m ultra-competitive and want to win each and every football game. Losses kill me. But the Cowboys need to be careful to not compromise their ability to win in 2011 and beyond because they want to “save face” this season.
If the Cowboys choose to make decisions with the future as a priority, here are five good things (many of which were brought up among DC Times readers–specifically Craig Kocay) that could result from this nightmare season. . .
5. Skeptical fans might see the importance of Tony Romo.
It’s stunning to me how a quarterback with one of the highest passer ratings, yards-per-pass, and winning percentages in NFL history can be hated by so many fans. Do people not remember the days of Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, and Drew Henson? How about Brad Johnson? Remember his three-game stint a few years ago that resulted from Romo’s broken finger?
Jon Kitna is much better than all of the aforementioned former Cowboys quarterbacks, but he sure isn’t Tony Romo. This season will represent another opportunity for those on the fence about Romo to see the light. Appreciate what you have.
4. There will be little to no pressure on the Cowboys in 2011.
When expectations are high, the Cowboys crumble. Even though they are extremely talented, it will be difficult for anyone to have seriously high expectations for them in 2011. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Super Bowl-caliber teams win regardless of outside opinions. At some point, champions must win when expectations are through the roof. Low expectations might help the Cowboys early, but what’s going to save them once they’re a “great” team again?
3. Dallas could secure a high draft pick.
The Cowboys need to get young on the offensive line in a hurry. Unlike some other positions, rookie offensive linemen can come into the NFL and often make a fairly significant impact. The Cowboys figure to have a top 15 (and probably top 10) pick in the upcoming draft, which should be more than enough to obtain a very talented offensive lineman.
2. The ‘Boys have an opportunity to discover what some young players can do.
I have a feeling the Cowboys are going to continue to give the bulk of reps to the usual suspects–Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, Keith Brooking, and so on. But now is a perfect time to uncover some possible gems hidden in the back end of the roster. Players like Phil Costa, Sam Young, Brandon Williams, Victor Butler, Jason Williams, Sean Lee, and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah need to acquire significant playing time before season’s end. The first step in moving in a positive direction as an organization is knowing where you currently stand.
1. Dallas can attempt exotic schemes/plays they normally wouldn’t try.
I thought the Cowboys should bring a unique approach to both sides of the ball to start the 2010 season, but it didn’t happen. The major problem here is that the coaches, who are all trying to save their jobs, will be hesitant to attempt anything too outlandish. They’ll want to remain conservative and implement what has worked in the past to try to win as many games as possible right now.
But that approach is only valuable to the coaches, not the entire team. The 2011 Cowboys would benefit from offensive and defensive experimentation in 2010. Jerry Jones might want to step in here and give the coaches some sort of incentive to be a little “crazy” (i.e. innovative) in their play-calling and overall approach to games.
Because if I see another punt on 4th and 3 from the opponent’s 39-yard line. . .