Dallas Cowboys Analysis/Reaction
The Cowboys clearly had an agenda in mind going into the 2012 NFL Draft. The Cowboys finished the 2012 Draft with 5 out of 7 picks being defensive, which is something they haven’t done in almost 30 years. Thanks to the draft, it would appear that Rob Ryan’s defense is starting to take form.
They upgraded the secondary with free agent signings of Brodney Pool and Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne, arguably the best DB in the draft, and Matt Johnston. By drafting Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber, they added much needed Depth on their defensive line. Hopefully adding this type of depth will keep the defensive strong late in the season.
The Cowboys also addressed the loss of Laurent Robinson and Martellus Bennett by drafting wide receiver Danny Coale, who has been compared to Wes Welker and tight end James Hanna who has to be better than Bennett.
I think the Cowboys did a great job over the weekend and certainly are going with the “defense wins championships” approach. Is it time to get into camp yet?
I’ve been hearing a lot of “can you believe what Jerry said now” over the last couple of days. There seems to be a little confusion as to what actually said. Calvin Watkins tweeted Monday that "Jerry Jones said the biggest difference between the Cowboys and Giants is Eli Manning.” Because there is only so much you can say in a tweet, what Watkins tweeted led to a lot of confusion. He later tweeted in response to someone that “Can't control the translation of other people.” That’s true, you can’t but you can be a little more careful of what you tweet. The immediate fallout from his tweet, even though he mentioned Jones praised Romo, was a lot of discussion that Jerry obviously doesn’t support Romo.
Here’s what Jerry actually said:
“I thought (Tony) Romo was competing at a level that would’ve given us that opportunity but the rest of us need to play better and get better before we can really gel the way the Giants are,” “I don’t want to take anything away [from the Giants] but the big difference was Eli came up here and started what seemed like a pretty significant [stretch]," Jones said. "But the quarterback play with Eli was the huge difference. We had good quarterback play, but I'd say as a team, they just got better and better near the end," he added. "Their depth, that's how I view us. I had counted -- we had counted -- on getting better, and we didn't. We went the other way."
Honestly, was he wrong to say what he said? Give Jones credit because he said something that was actually intelligent as there was .no namecalling or ridiculous back and forth that we typically see from Jerry Jones. He’s not wrong, what was wrong about this whole situation is that Watkins tweeted what he tweeted. If Watkins wanted to tweet something, why not tweet :
Jones felt Romo competed at a level that would have won but the rest of the team didn't, unlike NY where Eli had support from his team
That was all done in less than 140 characters and relays the message that Jones was trying to get across more accurately but it’s the offseason, I guess you need a reason for people to read your columns at this point in the year.no comments
So we have our 2 Super Bowl contestants and one of them is our hatred rival the New York Giants, who of course we are going to root against. To think, we were 6 minutes away from ending their season and now they are playing in the Super Bowl. It just goes to show you that you don’t have to play lights out football every week of the season, only when it really matters.
Now, for some random thoughts
- Mentally, the Giants are a much better team that the Cowboys. When we played NY in week 17 in a win or go home type of situation, I honestly believed that it really didn’t matter who won that game, both teams weren’t going to make it to Indianapolis. That turned out not to be the case for the Giants but I still believe that would have been the case for the Cowboys. Do you think the Cowboys could have gone into Lambeau Field and beaten the Packers like the Giants did? Could the Cowboys have beaten the Niners twice this season? Would they have beaten up on the Falcons like the Giants did?
- I’m glad to see Robinson wants to return to the Dallas Cowboys and for me, it’s a no brainer. If theyt don’t resign Robinson, this is the depth chart at wideout: Miles Austin,Dez Bryant, Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway. You think that’s a wide receiving corps that rivals the Eagles or the Giants (just to pick out some NFC East opponents). . If you're wondering, Kevin Ogletree and Jesse Holley are free agents and it doesn't appear they will return in 2012.
- I’ve never compare Tony Romo to Eli Manning because there is no reason to. Eli is the #1 overall pick in the draft while Tony Romo went undrafted. That alone says enough. That’s not to say Romo isn’t a decent QB, because he is but there is no need to compare the two. The Giants have an elite QB (no I’m not sold that he’s as good as Brady yet) and very good offensive line. Yes, the Niners got to him A LOT yesterday but last week in Green Bay, he had so much time to sit in the pocket and wait for his guys to get open. The Cowboys O-line never gives Romo much time at all. The Giants pass rush comes from all sides whereas the Cowboys pass rush seems to be focused around one player, DeMarcus Ware. So to sum it up, if next year, Dallas wants to be right where NY is right now, they have to improve their O-line, their pass rush, certainly their secondary and maybe even add more depth to their passing game, all things the Giants have in place already.
- I like the hiring of Bill Callahan because I think he might find success in coaching our younger players. No doubt in my mind that Hudson Houck had issues reaching the younger players on the offensive line. Hopefully Callahan can teach Bill Nagy how and when to correctly snap the ball to the quarterback.
The Cowboys played a lot of close games this year and when you play in close game, sometimes 1 play can be the difference between winning and losing. If that play hadn’t happened, what would have been? Here is my list of the top 5 plays that will haunt me in the offseason, the ones that I believe if they had never happened, the Cowboys would have been better off.
- Week 14 – Home against the Giants: Cowboys were leading 34-29 with 2:25 left to play in the 4th quarter. Miles Austin runs a “go” route and clearly beats the Giants secondary but Romo just couldn’t complete the pass missing Austin by a yard or two. It was a game over, season changing, Giant killing king of play but they just couldn’t complete the pass.
- Week 13 – At Arizona: Garrett ices his own kicker. Yes, he thought time was going to run out and in a split second had to make a decision. It’s easy to second guess that decision knowing the outcome but when you go 1-4 in the final 5 weeks of the season, you have to pick out the things that led to these losses. One more win in those final 5 weeks, I’d be talking about getting ready for Atlanta instead what I am talking about now.
- Week 1 – At the NY Jets: With a little over 10 minutes left in the 4th Quarter, Cowboys leading 24-17, Romo finds Witten for a 64 yard hookup but Witten gets pushed out of bounds at the 3 yard line. How Witten didn’t get in the end zone still baffles me. A couple of plays later Romo coughs up the football trying to dive in the end zone. Had Witten gotten in, it would have been lights outs for the Jets, Cowboys up 31-17 but instead go on to lose 27-24 on a Nick Folk FG.
- Week 17 – At the NY Giants: Some people would put the Victor Cruz 74 yard TD right here but that was so early in the game, I won’t worry about that play. It was the one in the 4th quarter that got me. Giants on their own 28, 3 and 7 with the Cowboys trailing 21-14 with 9 minutes to go. The Cowboys had the Giants doubting themselves for a bit as they were coming back but Manning somehow gets out of a jam and hooks up with Cruz 44 yards down the field that leads to a FG putting the Giants up 24-14, which I believe was the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys. If the Cowboys D gets off the field on this play, game and season could have gone a lot differently.
- Week 4 – Home against the Lions: The Cowboys were 4:22 seconds from putting a dent into the amazing start that the Lions were having. On First-and-10 from the Cowboys 20, Romo tries to throw a ball 25 yards down field from his back foot. Stephen Tulloch tips the underthrown pass before intercepting it which leads the Lions driving the 40 yards for the game winning TD.
So there you have it, the 5 plays that will haunt me in the offseason. The 5 plays that had they not happened we probably would be talking about the Cowboys playing in the post season.
Here is a list of the soon to be free agents that the Cowboys will have to make decisions on. I’ve added my thoughts after each name, let me know yours.
CB Alan Ball: He started the season off as our #4 cornerback but as the season progressed he played more. Problem is, he didn’t play well and our secondary is pure crap. I’m all for fixing our secondary through the draft and free agency which means I’m all for letting this guy find another team to call home.
CB Frank Walker: Same goes for Walker as goes for Ball. The more he played, the more obvious our secondary was a problem.
S Abram Elam: He’s a one-year player as far as I’m concerned. It’s a shame, he’s a favorite of Rob Ryan but Gerald Sensabaugh signed an huge deal (overpaid!!) this season which likely proves Elam will be elsewhere next season.
LB Keith Brooking: He’s in the twilight of his career and with Sean Lee, there isn’t a lot of need from him. However, there isn’t a lot of depth behind Lee but the Cowboys envision Bruce Carter playing alongside Lee next season so I don’t think there is a fit from Brooking.
LB Bradie James: Time to let him go, Dallas needs to get younger and quicker. I’ll give him the slow clap though, his playing time was reduced in 2011 but he never complained
LB Anthony Spencer: He was a first round pick except, he doesn’t play like a first round pick. He’s there to help Ware but doesn’t do a great job doing that. As we saw in week 17, the Giants easily put one guy on Spencer and two guys on Ware which meant Dallas had little pressure on Manning. We need someone to actually help Ware.
QB Jon Kitna: Don’t think it matters, I think he’s going to retire anyway but if he doesn’t, I’m not really in favor of bringing him back anyway.
TE Martellus Bennett: He’s never proved to anyone that he’s worth even one penny of what he’s paid. He makes lots of mistakes and I’d much rather see his mistakes done in another uniform, that way, maybe someday one of his mistakes will pay off for us.
OG Derrick Dockery: He started in two games this season and didn’t do an awful job. Little depth on the line would suggest he could return in 2012. I guess it all depends if the Cowboys choose to fix the O-line of the Secondary in the draft and free agency.
OG Montrae Holland: I look at him like Dockery, it all depends on what issues Dallas addresses in the offseason. He’s wasn’t horrible but not sure he’s good enough where other teams will come knocking.
RB Sammy Morris: Murray, Jones and Tanner = Sammy Morris costing too much money so no, he won’t be back. He did a terrific job when we needed him though.
WR Laurent Robinson: Biggest shocker of 2011. When they brought him in I wasn’t hopefully be he was extremely useful. I’d like to see him return but other teams I am sure took notice of his production. Like I said, I want him back, don’t see it happening.
P Mat McBriar: Probably the biggest watch in the offseason. A healthy McBriar is among the best punters in the NFL and no-brainer to bring back but there is no time table on his recovery.
So as you see, I'm not for keeping many of the free agents which means the 2012 Dallas Cowboys would look a whole lot different if it were up to me. I'd like to address the secondary, then the offensive line through the upcoming draft and free agency.
As a very big Cowboys fan, I tend to let my emotions get the best of me at times. It’s the main reason I don’t post a recap about a Sunday game until Monday morning, because sometimes you need to let the emotion die down a bit. So needless to say, my emotions were at a very heightened state going into halftime against the Giants. I was ready to fire the entire staff and get rid of pretty much everyone. I’ve since calmed down but the one thing that bugs me is that the Giants were 12 points down with 6 minutes to play back in week 14 and they played like a team that was 6 minutes from seeing their playoff hopes crushed. We didn’t see that from the Cowboys last night. A lose or go home scenario and the Cowboys came out of the gate looking like they’d be fine going home. They briefly came around late in the game before the Giants put the nail in our coffin. The reality is that the Cowboys lost 4 of the last 5 to end the season and that one game they did win, they did so against the lowly Bucs. Shouldn’t someone have to be held accountable for their lackluster play in the final weeks?
So what did we learn from the 2011 season?
Many will question whether or not Tony Romo is the guy to get us a championship and he still has to prove to everyone that he is but the one thing you can’t question, his toughness. We saw it last season as he was lying on the ground after a crushing blow from Michael Boley, the trainers were asking their preliminary “what’s wrong, what hurts” question and he only wanted to know if the pass was caught. This year, we saw cracked ribs, a punctured lung and a hand injury that would have put a lot of people on the bench.
We were told by Rob Ryan, on many occasions that his defense was great. Well, that wasn’t very true and at times, I’ve questioned Rob Ryan’s abilities but let’s be honest for a moment, he’s a decent coach, he just doesn’t have a lot to work with yet. His secondary is horrible and that is one of the few things that need to be addressed in the offseason. I watched Jenkins, Newman and Ball get burned time and time again this season. Newman is the closest thing the Cowboys have to a shutdown corner but how awful was he the other night? Ware is the best thing on the line but the Giants easily handled him the other night because he had little help and the Giants were able to double up on him. How many times this season did the entire defense look confused out there? The defense was improved from 2010 but it still has a long way to go. I am in favor of keeping Ryan around, although could we just institute a “no talking to the media” policy to everyone but Garrett? Rob is too much like his brother and his dad.
Is Jason Garrett the right coach? Yes, he is but we need to bring in an offensive coordinator as well and take that burden off of Garrett. When Jimmy Johnson ran this team, he did so with good coordinators on both sides of the ball. To me, that equation just works., one head coach, one defensive coordinator and one offensive coordinator. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Norv Turner return to Dallas in that role should he get let go from San Diego?
The offensive line certainly needs some work. No question that Tyron Smith is going to be a force as his career moves ahead but the line as a whole needs work. The other night against NY, Romo was under constant pressure. And let’s not even talk about Costa’s ability as a center. How many times can you snap the ball early in one season?
The truth is, the Cowboys ended up 8-8 and missing the playoffs and that is exactly where a lot of people had predicted the Cowboys to end up. The core of this team is decent and the coaches leading this team are good enough to get us to where we want to be but there are a number of holes that need to be addressed in the offseason. If the Cowboys address those needs, then they should be in good shape next season. I mean it’s not like we are the St Louis Rams here. I will admit that it sucks to have missed out on the playoffs this year but deep inside I believe that even if the Cowboys won on Sunday night, they were most likely a one and done team. I just hope that since we failed to make the playoffs, the coaches and management can see the problems and fix them for next season. I don’t think this team is that far off from being an elite team.
Coming up later in the week, we’ll discuss our Free Agents and who should stay and who should go. I’ll warn you now, it doesn’t look like I’ll be giving a lot of thumbs up to people.no comments
The Cowboys have lost some games this season where I’ve come away from them feeling pretty bummed but nothing can be compared to the bummed feeling I had after the Cowboys loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. We were supposed to win that game. We were supposed to be up 2 games on the Giants and not have to stress so much on the game this weekend but we lost and now this game on Sunday means the division lead and a leg up to getting into the playoffs. If we had beaten Arizona and found a way to beat NY this weekend, that would have meant 3 games up and pretty much solidified our spot in the postseason but now, now we get to stress.
There are no ifs ands or buts about it, this game is HUGE. You want to control your own destiny so to say that this could be the defining moment of the season could be an understatement.
I am concerned about playing the Giants. I mean they looked REALLY good against the Packers and probably should have won that game but the Fantastic Aaron Rodgers did his thing and found a way to win. I would say that if the inconsistent Giants started playing like that every week, they’d easily make the playoffs.
Romo was great against the Cardinals, so I’m not really too worried about him this weekend although can anyone get the imagine out of their head of Michael Boley running over him last season? It’s the rest of the team I worry about, especially our secondary because as much as I can’t stand Eli Manning, he’s having a great season and making subpar receivers look good.
Our running game hasn’t been very productive over the last few games but hopefully that changes this weekend. Fiammetta has returned from an inner-ear infection and is expecting to play this weekend, which is good news for DeMarco Murray who puts together better games with Fiammetta in there with him.
Hopefully the Cowboys are preparing like champions for this matchup and hopefully each guy on the team knows their job and doesn’t try to do too much. The Giants are 2-0 in our building which I am sure they are well aware of. We CAN’T let them go 3-0.
Hopefully we see a lot of this on Sunday Night…