The noise from all of the Dallas Cowboys haters has been deafening. My cell phone and e-mail box have blown up since the Arizona Cardinals blocked Matt McBriar’s punt to beat the Boys in overtime this past Sunday. I guess the facts that the Redskins lost to the Division III Rams, the Giants got schooled by a Browns team that Dallas trounced 28-10 in Cleveland in week one and the Eagles barely beat the 49ers went over a few people’s heads.
So go ahead, kick dirt on the Cowboys’ season. But may I recommend Texas Pete’s hot sauce for the crow you’ll end up eating later this season.
That is, of course, if the Cowboys do a few simple things.
• It’s time to start blitzing. The secondary has been a weak link on this team for years. With Terrance Newman hurt and Pacman Jones falling back into the world of stupidity and getting suspended, it’s even weaker. The argument against blitzing is that it leaves a weak secondary exposed. My counterargument: What’s the difference? They play like they’re exposed, anyway. Opposing quarterbacks have had way too much time to throw against the Cowboys and, naturally, found wide-open receivers. Even a great QB can’t complete passes with a forearm across his facemask. The Boys need to pressure the quarterback, period. DeMarcus Ware is one of the best football players I’ve ever had the privilege of watching, but he can’t do it alone. Bring some heat. Bring it often.
• This one will have to wait about three weeks due to an unfortunate hamstring pull, but Felix Jones needs to touch the ball more. I’m not suggesting starting him over Marion Barber III. But get him the ball. Line the two of them up in the backfield together. Throw him screen passes. Throw him quick passes in the flat. The man has speed the Cowboys haven’t had at running back since Tony Dorsett. Use it. It will only make Barber’s brute strength more effective.
• This may be the toughest suggestion to implement because of the enormous egos involved, but Terrell Owens MUST buy into the idea that newly acquired Roy Williams will only help him. I love Patrick Crayton (although I’m still livid that he dropped the pass that cost Dallas the playoff game against the Giants last year after running his yap all week), but Crayton is far better as a No. 3 receiver in the slot. Defensive coaches don’t game-plan to stop Crayton. They’ll have to game-plan to stop Roy Williams. Maybe T.O. won’t get as many passes thrown his way, but they’ll be much better quality opportunities. After all, what’s the difference if a pass is thrown your way when it sails over your head because you’re double-covered tightly? Even if the Cowboys overpaid, the Roy Williams addition was solid.
• Don’t rush Tony Romo back. Brad Johnson is a perfectly capable quarterback who has played on several playoff teams and won a Super Bowl. Obviously, Romo is better, more mobile and more dynamic. But if he can’t grip the football, having him in the game is insanity.
With all of the craziness, the Cowboys are still 4-2 and the Rams are on tap. This season is far from over.
But it’s time for Wade Phillips and his staff to make some much-needed adjustments.