Love him or hate him (and most people do, indeed, hate him quite fiercely), the one thing nobody could possibly say about Jerry Jones was that he doesn’t care about the Dallas Cowboys. Until yesterday: The fact that Wade Phillips is still the head coach of this team, Jason Garrett is still the offensive coordinator, and Joe DeCamillis is still the special teams coach points to the following conclusion: Jerry Jones got his new stadium, and his millions of dollars of money from personal seat licenses, so the Cowboys’ win-loss record means nothing to him.
No matter how much anyone reading this might hate the Cowboys, there is no way anyone who has watched more than three downs of football can look at this club’s roster and the way its defense has been performing and say that it’s a 1-4 football team. Yet, that’s exactly where their record sits right now, and yesterday’s loss to the vastly overrated Minnesota Vikings and dirty old sexter Brett Favre basically ended any chance this team had to be relevant this season.
Some of the same problems cost the Cowboys yet another game, yet nothing is ever done about them.
Penalties: The Cowboys hit double-digits yet again, with 11 penalties for 91 yards, although one was a complete crock of shit, which I’ll get to in a bit. How can one team make the same mistakes over and over and over again? And the penalties are getting dumber by the second: The team has been flagged for celebration penalties after touchdowns for two consecutive games. Um, guys, you’re 1-4: Exactly what the fuck is there to celebrate? The only way to remedy this is to pull any player who commits a bone-headed penalty from at least the rest of the series, and the following series, whether it’s Alan Ball, Miles Austin, or even Tony Romo. The same problem is killing this team game after game after game, and absolutely nothing is being done about it.
Oh, yeah, on to the bullshit call: With the Vikings up 24-21 and driving and a little over two minutes left in the game, the Cowboys stopped them on a third down that would have given them the ball back in decent field position before the two-minute warning, but they were flagged for pass interference on a ball thrown 10 feet over the intended receiver’s head. The team has earned such a reputation for penalties that if anything is remotely close to an infraction, the call goes against Dallas. But that was still a gutless call. The officials know what’s at stake in a game between 1-3 teams. You do NOT end a team’s season, for all intents and purposes, on a very, very marginal call, at best. If the situation were reversed, there is no way in hell the Vikings would have been flagged for pass interference.
On a side note, supposed head coach and leader Wade Phillips barely protested the call. Would an explosion have caused the gutless officials to change the call? No, but the players need to know that their coaches have their backs. That call doomed their season, and Phillips just stood there with the same flabbergasted look cameras catch on his face several times per game. This is not what an NFL head coach looks like.
Special teams: When the practice bubble collapsed in May and injured several staffers, including special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, did anyone bother to check DeCamillis for brain damage? This special teams unit is a sick joke and a disgrace. The kickoff return unit rarely gets the ball past the 20. The one success by the punt return unit was strictly due to individual effort by Dez Bryant. And the kick coverage, both on kickoffs and punts, is abysmal. I feel bad that the man got hurt, and I feel for the other victims, as well. I’m not trying to poke fun at a tragic situation. But the NFL is a results-oriented business, and the results from the Cowboys’ special teams thus far this season have been absolute and total crap. It’s time for a change. Ask the Miami Dolphins about that. DeCamillis shouldn’t have even been let on the plane back to Dallas from Minneapolis.
Play calling: If Jason Garrett is an offensive genius, then I am an expert in nuclear physics. And since I barely passed most of my science courses in high school and college, you do the math. Where is the commitment to the run I keep hearing about? And I know the Minnesota pass rush dominated the Cowboys in the 34-3 playoff beating last year, but barely throwing downfield and barely targeting Miles Austin? Why have weapons if you’re not going to use them? Jason Garrett is a complete disaster as an offensive coordinator.
But a new problem surfaced Sunday, and it has the potential to be a far bigger issue than any of the problems mentioned above. Of all people, Troy Aikman pointed it out during the Fox broadcast of the game. Yes, the bullshit pass interference call I mentioned earlier pretty much drained any hope, but the Cowboys were still in a position to get the ball back with 30 seconds left and no time outs. Granted, the situation sucks, but it’s one last chance, however small it might be. Yet when the camera panned the Cowboys’ bench, all you saw was offensive players sitting there, staring straight into space. Tony Romo and his receivers didn’t bother getting together to talk about their last shot. The offensive line didn’t bother getting together to discuss how to give Romo time for a miracle play. The team had flat-out given up, which should never happen, and which had never happened before.
Apparently, the owner has given up, as well.