Sound Familiar? Cowboys QB Shuffle, Offensive Struggles Draw Comparisons To 2001 Squad
While writing the book Decade of Futility, the thought crossed my mind that America might never again see such offensive futility as the Dallas Cowboys exhibited during their 2001 season. Lo and behold, I was wrong.
These 2015 Cowboys are not only bringing back memories of Dave Campo’s bunch, they are proving to be even more adept in the art of pigskin mishaps. From ignominious franchise records, to wins and losses, to the revolving door at quarterback, this team has gone where no Cowboys team has gone during the last twenty-five years.
Here’s a comparison:
The Cowboys won five games in 2001 with an inexperienced, unproven quartet of quarterbacks. Quincy Carter was the franchise’s first opening-day rookie starter since Troy Aikman in 1989. Anthony Wright was a third-year signal-caller with only two NFL starts to his credit going into the season. A rookie free-agent signee out of Arkansas in 2000, Clint Stoerner had played sparingly in mop-up duty during his rookie season. And everyone remembers what Ryan Leaf had left behind him in San Diego.
The Cowboys have managed just four victories this season with a far superior assortment of quarterbacks. Tony Romo and Matt Cassel, who have combined for eleven starts in 2015, would unhesitatingly be granted as better quarterbacks than each of the signal-callers that graced the Texas Stadium turf fourteen years before. Now in his fourth season, Brandon Weeden’s abilities are comparable to those that Carter possessed as a rookie. (What Weeden lacks in mobility, he more than makes up for in arm-strength.) After just one start, Kellen Moore easily compares with Stoerner and Wright.
Below is a statistical review of several critical offensive categories. League ranking is in parentheses.
2015: Yards-Per-Game…(28th) 323.3
2001: Yards-Per-Game… (29th) 275.1
2015: Points-Per-Game… (31st) 16.8
2001: Points-Per-Game… (30th) 15.4
2015: Yards-Per-Play… (19th) 5.4
2001: Yards-Per-Play… (25th) 4.6
2015: Third-Down Percentage… (26th) 35-percent
2001: Third-Down Percentage… (26th) 33-percent
Here’s a few additional notes that may be of interest:
- Dallas is 0-4 this season when failing to score a touchdown. The 2001 Cowboys were 1-3.
- The Cowboys have just one victory (Miami) in 2015 outside the NFC East. The 2001 Cowboys didn’t win outside the division until their Week 16 upset of playoff-bound San Francisco.
Of the eight combined quarterbacks from each squad, none tossed more touchdowns than interceptions during these particular seasons.