Reeling Cowboys Shouldn’t Be Intimidated By Flawed Eagles Team
If not for the College Football Playoff Committee’s organized attack on football intelligence this week, the 2-5 Dallas Cowboys would be at the top of the rankings in the category of national travesties. But that doesn’t get them off the hook from being recognized as an international disappointment.
The Cowboys will reach the halfway pole of the 2015 season on Sunday night at the bottom of the NFC East standings due to a myriad of fundamental shortcomings. They can’t score on offense, and have shown nary an inclination of taking the ball away on defense. That, in a nutshell, is the perfect recipe for a five-game losing streak.
Too many trends like these tend to result in front-office dismissals or mid-season coaching changes. You can talk to Martin Mayhew in Detroit about this. Thus far, Jerry Jones has shown some rare good sense by refraining from such action, even if it is for all of the wrong reasons. Jerry won’t fire anyone because he believes in them too much, and for the fact that Jones loves to pose as the circumstantial whipping-boy in Dallas. The fact that the Cowboys are only two games behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants at this stage is likely in the back of his mind too.
Let’s not get bogged down again with the list of critical injuries and suspensions that have undermined this season. The excuses must stop, both for the starting quarterback (whether it be Brandon Weeden or Matt Cassel) and the coaching staff. As a backup quarterback in 1999, Jason Garrett won a home start versus Green Bay without Emmitt Smith or Michael Irvin in the lineup.
As opposed to the college game, winning (something that has eluded the Cowboys since September 20) is the only criteria that matters in professional football. And it’s something the Cowboys will need to rediscover starting on Sunday night versus Philadelphia if they hope to make a late charge at the division title.
There is no reason to think that they can’t. At 3-4 through seven games, the Eagles are anything but the juggernaut that prognosticators envisioned during preseason. Chip Kelly’s high-flying offense has come crashing down to earth with Sam Bradford at the controls, ranking 29th overall with a third-down conversion rate of 32-percent. Their yards-per-play has dropped from 5.6 last year to a lowly 5.2 in 2015, good for 23rd in the league. Add to that a running attack that has made DeMarco Murray look too often like Troy Hambrick and it’s no wonder that the Eagles are scoring seven fewer points per game than with Mark Sanchez on the field.
There are those who believe that a rivalry game requires all statistics to be considered irrelevant. But, considering the earlier meeting between these two clubs when defense and ineptitude reigned supreme, it’s hard to do just that. The same flaws that a national television audience witnessed for three hours at the Linc back in September are the same ones that kept rearing up their ugly head through all of October, minus the abundance of yellow flags, of course.
Don’t expect the NBC cameras to reveal anything different at Jerry World. That, in itself, will give Dallas their best chance to steal a game since Tony Romo’s injury.
A five-game losing skid. A watered-down division race. And a franchise record 10 consecutive quarters without a touchdown at home. The Cowboys don’t have to look far for motivation for Sunday night’s game. Nor do they have to look far to find a team that is ripe for a beating.