Amazingly, despite two painful losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens over the past three weeks, the Dallas Cowboys still control their playoff destiny. Win Sunday’s game at the hated rival Philadelphia Eagles and they clinch a playoff spot. The season ends with a loss.
Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, the only way Wade Phillips should be the head coach next year is if the Cowboys go on a run like last year’s Giants or the Steelers a few years back and win the Super Bowl as a wild card. Anything short of a Lombardi Trophy and he absolutely has to go.
This squad is, for all intents and purposes, the same team that went 13-3 last season and featured 13 Pro Bowl players. There is no excuse to go 10-6 or 9-7, depending on Sunday’s outcome.
Granted, not all 13 of the Pro Bowl bids were deserved. As much as I personally like the guy, Roy Williams (the safety, not the recently acquired wide receiver) belonged in the Pro Bowl last year about as much as my fat ass did. But that’s not the point.
The same frustrating, unnecessary mistakes have continued to dog this team all season, along with a shocking lack of discipline.
Being among the league leaders in penalties is inexcusable. Even more inexcusable: the number of completely avoidable and silly penalties — false starts, lining up offsides, illegal formations. This team has zero discipline, and the finger must be pointed squarely at the head coach.
There is clearly zero accountability on this team. I’m not saying the head coach has to explode at every little mistake. But when you have one guy, Flozell Adams, averaging one penalty per game over two seasons, something is very, very wrong. There is absolutely no fear of reprisal.
I’m also not saying the head coach has to berate officials after every call that goes against his team. As the old saying goes, the refs aren’t going to change the call. But how about showing some emotion and letting your players see that you have their back? There was a highly, highly questionable personal foul call in Saturday night’s game against Baltimore that kept a Ravens drive alive, and when the camera focused on Wade, he was just standing there, completely passive, with no fight or emotion whatsoever. Absolutely inexcusable.
Injuries are no excuse, either. Sure, the Cowboys lost Tony Romo for three games and only had explosive rookie running back Felix Jones for a handful of contests, but the Cowboys’ injury issues were no worse than those of any other team.
The bottom line is that this was a Super Bowl-caliber team crippled by mistakes, and the finger (specifically the one in the middle) must be pointed at one man if this squad doesn’t rally and win the Lombardi Trophy.