A Weird Dallas Cowboys Season Is Not Over Yet
After a season that saw ecstatic Cowboys Fans follow Their Heroes to an NFC East Division Crown and come very close to appearing in the NFC Championship game, it is safe to say that expectations were rather high coming into the 2015 season, especially on the heels of the best draft class the Cowboys have seen since the early 90’s.
Add to that the signing of free agent Greg Hardy during the off season and his teaming up with Rolando McClain and Shaun Lee, the prospects seemed almost limitless for the even tempered, Jason Garrett-led Pokes.
At the same time, the departure of DeMarco Murray left a question mark on the Cowboys offense that never seemed to be answered leading up to the first game. While Garrett and staff, backed up by the ever positive affirmations of Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones, continued to offer the company line, the consensus of football gurus was that the supposed running back by committee approach was not the most desirable approach to take in order to build on the success of 2014. Even the signing of Darren McFadden failed to supply any true positive assurances that the running game would be truly OK.
Regardless of expectations, positive or negative, not one Pokes prognosticator possessed prophetic connections powerful enough to either foresee or foretell the strange tale that has proven to be the 2015 season. And it began with the first game.
Dez Bryant, fresh off of receiving a 70 million dollar contract, breaks his foot against the Giants, yet the Cowboys survive with late play making and unlikely help from
the Giants and their game clock management.
Tony Romo, himself possessing a 100 plus million dollar contract, breaks his collar bone against division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cowboys survive again with a victory.
With such key personnel losses in the first two games, the Cowboys were hoping to eke out some wins with Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden and survive to challenge for the 2015 NFC East crown down the stretch. In what proved to be a prophetic move a few days after Romo’s injury, Jason Garrett made a trade with the Buffalo Bills for quarterback Matt Cassell.
Six consecutive losses later, three each for Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassell as starting quarterbacks, the Cowboys find themselves in the strangest of positions. Please, don’t misunderstand reality, for it speaks plainly. The Cowboys defense, what many thought would be an asset with the off season addition of Greg Hardy and the return of Rolando McClain and Shaun Lee, have been anything but an asset. While playing solid at times, they lead the league in not causing turnovers and have performed miserably when it counts at the end of Games. They have not been able to stop anyone when they absolutely needed to. The offense, with the exception of Darren McFadden in the past three games, has shown very little to praise, much less depend on. For the most part, they have been simply inept, showing occasional flashes of promise, yet no consistency whatsoever and unable to take advantage of leading the league in time of possession. The special teams, with the exception of Dan Bailey, have been abysmal.
However, in almost any other division in the NFL, six consecutive losses would be a declaration of death for your season, with no hope of recovery to make the playoffs. The NFC East finds itself as the second weakest division in the NFL so far, led by the New York Gaints with a record of 5-4.
Here is the strange part. If the Giants lose this coming week to the Patriots, which is considered likely by most football gurus, and the Cowboys win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then Miami Dolphins the following week when Romo is scheduled to return , the Cowboys would find themselves only one game behind the Giants with six games remaining.
Of course, we can’t mention strange without acknowledging the Cowboys Master of the Strange, Jerry Jones. Known for his wild and crazy antics in extreme response to
duress and perceived boredom, the Cowboys Owner and GM has been strangely docile in the midst of this losing stretch. No rash personnel moves involving players or coaches. No controversial or inflammatory remarks out of the ordinary. Not even a threat. Just the most positive and encouraging words relayed to all media outlets willing to point a microphone and camera his direction. When asked after the loss to the Eagles what still gives him hope, his reply was immediate. “First of all, the intense way our team is competing, and it’s competing on both sides of the ball,” Jones said. “They’re basically doing, from the standpoint of effort, their passion, their competitiveness, they’re going right down to the last play and have for the last several games, so we want to keep that. We have to have that. We have to put the pieces together to get a win.”
As I said earlier. Strange. Weird. Very Weird.
And we are only halfway through the season. Eight more games of the strange and weird to come. Stay tuned.