It’s Hard To Imagine These Cowboys As A Playoff Team
The Dallas Cowboys had a landmark day on Sunday. They played the type of game that enables an organization to settle on a plan.
That is if the organization is no longer in denial and recognizes the truth.
The Cowboys are as close to being a playoff team as Tampa Bay. That is to say the Cowboys are in no way, shape or form a playoff team this season.
Their wretched performance in a 10-6 road loss to the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium should end that pipe dream, if not literally, at least figuratively. A playoff team does not stink up the joint, as the Cowboys did.
The Cowboys managed only 216 yards and 10 points against a Buccaneers defense that entered the game allowing an average of 350 yards and 27 points. The Cowboys could not put away a team that had lost twelve of thirteen at their home stadium, failing to expand upon a 6-3 advantage that lasted the better part of three quarters.
On Sunday, the Cowboys had ill-timed penalties, dropped passes, poor play selection and virtually zero pass-rush from their defensive line.
That is not how a playoff team operates with their backs to the wall, no matter how much Jason Garrett praises his team for their “relentless spirit and effort.”
The Cowboys are 2-7, and have lost seven consecutive games. They could win out – highly improbable – and still fail to reach the postseason. They are more likely to finish with the Dave Campo specialty: 5-11.
For the Cowboys, this is good. Front-office management prepared for this season under the delusion that this roster was filled with all-star talent. That, perhaps more than even the injury to Tony Romo, is what has caused all these problems, and is the mystical “flaw’ that Jerry Jones referred to during his postgame briefing with the media.
Behind the proverbial “best offensive line in football,” Darren McFadden rushed for just 32 yards on 17 carries against a defense that was stacked ready and waiting to stop him.
Dez Bryant, the $75 million wide receiver who spent his week fuming at the media for slighting him, finished with 45 yards on five receptions, and had two critical second-half drops that could have prevented the Cowboys’ late collapse.
Greg Hardy, the troubled defensive end who was supposed to single-handedly carry the defense, made himself out to be the team’s invisible leader against the Bucs, tallying just one tackle.
In the event that the Cowboys stumble into the off-season, it will be tempting for the Jones family to look back and point to the Romo injury as their team’s undoing. That thinking is why “America’s Team” has won only two playoff games since 1996.
After seven consecutive defeats and more than one fourth-quarter meltdown, it should be obvious to all Valley Ranchers that the Cowboys need a backup quarterback, a credible top-flight wide receiver who doesn’t fold his hands and his brain in crunch-time, a trouble-free pass-rusher, a play-making linebacker to pair with Sean Lee, a cover corner, and a safety. The sooner that the front-office gets started fulfilling these tasks the better.
Despite what Jerry may be telling himself at this moment, the Cowboys are one quarterback and miles and miles away from being playoff-caliber. Only a complete overhaul of the organization’s current psyche – and not to mention a complete miracle from the golden arm of Mr. Romo – can help them to cover that much ground in seven short weeks.