As the Cowboys season came to an indecent end, we were all left wondering what went wrong. How did a team that had won four straight games – and doing it in dominating fashion – be so unceremoniously bounced in the playoffs? How did a team that completely dominated the first quarter of the playoff game end the quarter down 7-0? How did a team that got inside the opponent’s 40-yard-line in its first three possessions end up with just three points after those possessions? The answer is simple: the offense flat out stunk. Which brings up yet another, more troubling question: are we expected to believe that the status quo will be the correct way to address the team going forward?
This year’s Cowboys team accomplished something that they hadn’t done in 13 years. They also accomplished something that Wade Phillips had never done in his career. They even turned the tables on the hated Eagles by pulling the rug out from under them and stealing the division title. But it still feels like someone kicked your dog on Sunday, doesn’t it? That’s probably because we all saw a mirage. We thought we’d seen an oasis in the desert. But when we got there, all we saw was more of the same. That’s a pretty discouraging feeling.
Even more discouraging is the thought that the mirage of a playoff win against the Eagles may prompt our butcher of a GM to maintain the status quo. Raise your hand if you want to see Wade Phillips patrolling the sideline in 2010. Ok, that one’s too easy. But at least he has some redeeming qualities (aka, he is a good defensive coach). Jason Garrett, however, has no such defense. He has the dubious distinction of running an offense that was second in the league in yards per game, but was 14th in points scored. He is also the guy that is notorious for abandoning a running game that was seventh in the league in yards per game. To be fair, a lot of the team’s failures fall on the shoulders of the players. But there were many situations in which the players were not placed in positions to succeed. The blame for that goes all the way to the top.
When is Jerry going to realize that his boy genius is anything but? Jason Garrett was brought in to do two things: 1) teach Tony Romo and 2) coach an offense with enough talent to be an elite unit. After three seasons, he has marginally taught Romo. In 2009, Romo committed the least amount of turnovers of his career. But when the chips were really on the table, he reverted back to his careless ways – committing three turnovers. As for the offense, they were second in the league in yards per game. But they had trouble scoring to the tune of being middle of the road in the league in scoring. They were also 17th in red zone scoring at 50.9%.
If the organization knew the meaning of the word accountability, they would be looking to upgrade the person running the offense. But since this is Jerry’s toy, we will likely not see something like that happen. Having won the division and the playoff game will likely give Jerry enough bravado to think, “See? My way does work!” So we’ll have to live through yet another season of Tweedledee and Tweedledum running the team. And we all know what happens when you continue to pound your head against the wall. In the end, you get the same result. In this case, it’ll be 9-10 wins and a gut-punch of an end to the season. But hey, at least it’s an improvement over the Dave Campo years, right?