The Dallas Debacle

I needed a day. I needed a day to write a post-game analysis about the Dallas Cowboys. I am use to criticizing the Cowboys at the end of games. I mean, this is the same team that now currently has a 136-137 record since 1997.

I’m not going to lie, I did not see the first few minutes of the first quarter of yesterday’s game against the 49ers. I walk into my house, turn my TV on, and I see that the score is 7-3 San Francisco. I’m not too upset because I’m thinking in my head that Dallas’ still has a shot in this game.

I then see 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick literally go right down the field and throw a 29 yard wide open TD pass to his Tight End Vernon Davis. It was then 14-3 San Francisco. Fox Sports then proceeded to show an aerial view inside of AT&T Stadium. It showed a vast majority of fans wearing red and gold. Yes, there were a good amount of 49ers fans that dominated the home of the Dallas Cowboys. I personally believe that they were the majority. Knowing the Cowboys’ history, it is very sad that it has come down to this.

The Dallas Cowboys first became known as Americas Team because their fan base would dominate other teams’ stadiums. To see the home of the Dallas Cowboys dominated by the opposing teams’ fans, I literally felt disappointed.

My disappointment quickly turned into disgust midway through the first quarter when Tony Romo threw his first of three interceptions of the day. His intent was to throw to Dez Bryant, but he threw into triple coverage and was picked off by 49ers safety Eric Reid and was able to run all the way into Cowboys territory.

Tony Romo’s interception turned into a 49ers 2 yard TD from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis. The score was now 21-3. It was getting so ugly that I wanted to turn the game off and the 1st quarter wasn’t even over yet.

The second quarter was not better for Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Romo threw two interceptions in the second quarter including a pass that should have been a wide open touchdown to Dwayne Harris but it ended up being intercepted by Patrick Willis.

The 49ers went up big late in the 2nd quarter when rookie running back Carlos Hyde put San Fran up 28-3. AS you can tell, things did not get better for Dallas and company.

In the 2nd half, Tony Romo did not throw an interception, and the defense did not give up any points. Dallas got a 3rd quarter touchdown by running back DeMarco Murray and then a 4th quarter touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Terrance Williams. The final score ended up being 28-17 but the score did not reflect the atrocity that took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas yesterday.

The Cowboys have issue, did Tony Romo just have a bad day or is this the new surgically repaired back Tony Romo? With the Cowboys defense being incredibly thin, if Romo and the offense perform like this during the course of the season, it is going to be a long horrible year for the Dallas Cowboys.

From what we saw yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys are not a good football team. The bit of glimmer of hope that Dallas Cowboys fans can give themselves is that it is only week one and things can change quickly in the NFL. That doesn’t seem likely for the Cowboys but we will have to find out next Sunday in Nashville Tennessee as the Cowboys take on the Tennessee Titans.

Dallas Cowboys Make Right Move, Cut DeMarcus Ware

The Dallas Cowboys cut future Hall of Fame defensive end DeMarcus Ware today, in a move that must have been difficult despite being necessary.

Ware, 31, recorded 117 sacks in his nine seasons with the Cowboys, but had seen his numbers decline over the past few seasons, which were riddled with injuries. He had his lowest tackle and sack totals of his career in 2013, largely due to missing three games for the first time in his career and never looking completely healthy when he was on the field.

The cut, which many will view unfavorably, saves Dallas $7.4 million on the cap this season. The Cowboys now have about $8 million in wiggle room to try and sign a free agent or two to bolster a terrible defense. Cutting Ware also keeps Dallas from restructuring his deal to push more money beyond 2014, which would strap the Cowboys even more in future seasons. So, while it may not be fun to watch a Cowboys legend walk away, it is necessary.

Ware is the problem Jerry?

The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of problems. Demarcus Ware is not one of them. The Dallas Cowboys have to make a decision on what they plan to do with the defensive icon of the Dallas Cowboys for the last decade in Demarcus Ware. Will they restructure his contract? Will they trade him? Will they release him? These are the options that one of the best defensive players in Cowboys history faces this offseason. Why? We all know why. Because Jerry Jones’ decision making has forced the Cowboys to make painful financial decisions involving their roster for the future.

The financial situation for the Cowboys is one of many problems they are facing. The issues the Cowboys are facing are not something that came out of thin air. It has been 20 years in the making. This past season was another painful year that Cowboys fans have sadly become accustom to.

March 29th 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the resignation of head coach Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy Johnson and Owner, General Manager, and Team President Jerry Jones had an internal dispute which forced Johnson to resign. A lot of Cowboys fans believe that Johnson was actually fired, and that Jones and Johnson agreed to a “resignation” to avoid bigger media frenzy. It’s possible right? Jones was the same guy who fired Cowboys legendary head coach Tom Landry and general manager Tex Schramm. The Jones-Johnson dispute came after winning two superbowls in a row. March 29th 1994 is a day that will live in infamy for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. Since this day, the franchise has been on a consistent yet inconsistent roller coaster.

The Cowboys haven’t won a Superbowl since the 1995 season; just two seasons after Jimmy Johnson left Owner, General Manager, and Team President Jerry Jones with a really good thing that was hard to mess up. It was the 5th Superbowl in franchise history. That Cowboys team was built by former head coach Jimmy Johnson and was “lead” by head coach Barry Switzer.

The 1996 season came; the Cowboys went 10-6 and won the NFC East. They beat the Minnesota Vikings in the wildcard round of the playoffs until their eventual loss in the divisional round to the Carolina Panthers. Little did the Cowboys and their fans know that for the next 17 seasons, they would only win one playoff game which came during the 2009 season against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium with a final score of 34-14. The Cowboys would then get blown out by the Minnesota Vikings just one week later with a final score of 34-3.

Barry Switzer left the Cowboys after the 1997 season. Owner, Team President, and General Manager Jerry Jones has tried everything. Players have changed, and most importantly coaches have changed. Jerry needed to find a new Jimmy Johnson. Jerry tried everyone from Chan Gailey, to Dave Campo, to dragging Bill Parcells out of retirement, to Wade Phillips, to current Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

During that span, the Cowboys have only had a winning record seven times, a losing record six times and a .500 finish four times including the last 3 seasons. The last tree seasons also featured the Cowboys losing the NFC East on week 17 to define their 8-8 seasons. Sure there were a few fun times during this span. The 2003, 2007, and 2009 seasons come to mind but even those seasons at the end of the day ended up being a failure.

When Jones’ dragged Parcells out of retirement, at the time it looked like a great decision. Only a man like Jerry Jones could turn a great thing bad, I mean this is the same Jones who had a dispute with a head coach who bought in a load of talent which ultimately led to three Superbowl’s. Jerry would surely learn from his own mistake. Nope, it didn’t happen. After the 2006 playoff lost to the Seattle Seahawks, Bill Parcells retired, and Jones bought in Wade Phillips. Phillips was hired over Assistant Head Coach and offensive coordinator under Bill Parcells in Sean Payton.

During this time period between 1997 and 2013, the Cowboys have a record of 136-136 with one playoff win, the poster board of mediocrity. The Cowboys have changed QBs, RBs, and receivers. They have changed players on the defense, they’ve changed scouts, they’ve changed coordinators, and as I mentioned earlier, they’ve changed head coaches. One person a part of the Dallas Cowboys franchise has not changed, and that person is the Owner, General Manager, and Team President. That person is Jerry Jones.

This leads us to today. Jerry Jones now wants to get rid of Demarcus Ware. Demarcus Ware came in drafted in the first round as an outside linebacker from Troy University during the 2005 season. Parcells drafted Ware. From 2005-2013, nobody in the NFL has more sacks then Demarcus Ware.

Ware has served as a captain on the Cowboys defense since 2007. Ware is tied for the record of most seasons leading the league in sacks. Those seasons came in 2008 and 2010. By the end of the 2012 season, Ware had recorded 10 or more sacks in 7 straight seasons. This came in a season where Ware was injured most of the 2nd half of the season.

Then came 2013, the Dallas Cowboys had another new defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin who replaced Rob Ryan after Ryan was fired by Jerry Jones. In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys ranked last in the NFL in total defense. Ware played in 13 games and had six sacks. Ware’s six sacks were the lowest since his rookie year. Ware at age 32 has been riddled by injuries over the last two seasons. Some have started to wonder is age and “father time” catching up with Ware. Ware is expected to make $12.5 million this year. Ware is also expected to count $16 million against the salary cap.

Some may say with Ware’s age and with Ware’s injuries that the Cowboys would be in better position against the cap to compete with better and younger talent. With that said, this is Jerry Jones that is running the Cowboys. With his record of blaming and firing everybody else but himself and his record of leading to years and years of being average and mediocre, one can make a strong determination that releasing Ware will do nothing to make the Dallas Cowboys a better football team and with the hard work, leadership, and loyalty that Demarcus Ware has given the Cowboys, the last thing Demarcus Ware should have to do is pay for Jerry Jones’ mistakes.

The Dallas Cowboys Will Play in London in 2014

The NFL has announced that the Dallas Cowboys will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London next season, as one of three games at Wembley Stadium.

NFL announces Cowboys-Jaguars, Dolphins-Raiders, and Lions-Falcons will be the three London games in 2014.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 24, 2013

This is something that Jerry Jones has wanted for a while, and it seems that he’s finally going to get his way. Expanding the Cowboys brand is always at the front of Jones’ mind, and what better way to do that than to play in a different country?

Jacksonville will be the “home team” in London, so Dallas will not lose a home game in 2014.

Here’s Roger Goodell’s statement, in a release from the NFL:

Our fans in the UK continue to demonstrate their passion for more football. Next year for the first time we will play three regular-season games in London. We have scheduled three attractive games with four teams playing in their first International Series game. The growing enthusiasm for the NFL internationally is exciting and we look forward to continuing to respond to this interest in our game.

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Dwayne Harris, Defense Step Up in Dallas Win

Tony Romo didn’t have to do it all himself on Sunday.

Instead, Dwayne Harris, Jason Hatcher and the rest of the other two units for the Dallas Cowboys stepped up in a big way as they beat the Washington Redskins 31-16.

Harris totaled 222 return yards, including a 90-yard kick return, and an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also recorded a tackle in the fourth quarter on a Redskins punt return.

Hatcher recorded six tackles, including two sacks, as the Cowboys defense turned up the pressure on Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick all had big days, locking down the Washington receivers.

However, the biggest play of the game came from a reserve defensive end, Kyle Wilbur. Wilbur, playing the majority of the second half due to a quad injury to DeMarcus Ware, came up with a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery trifecta in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas the ball on the Redskins 3 yard line. The play set up a Joseph Randle rushing touchdown, the first of his career, and put the Cowboys up 31-16.

On the day Romo had just 170 passing yards, with a touchdown and an interception. It was nice to see that he didn’t have to have another monstrous game just to keep the Cowboys in it. Rather, the team stepped up and got a big win over a division rival.

Same Old Tony Romo? No.

(Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty-Images)

Tony Romo, once again, made a terrible mistake late in a game. It’s a story we’ve all seen unfold before, in Washington last year, and in New York and Philadelphia before that. This time, it came during Tony Romo’s single best performance of his career, and it’s infuriating. However, Romo should not be #1 on blame lists on Monday. Because Sunday was anything but Classic Romo.

Romo threw for a career high 506 yards and 5 touchdowns. He had three receivers with over 120 yards receiving. He also connected with Terrance Williams on a two point conversion in the fourth quarter. This game is not on Tony Romo. Not 100%, anyway.

No, instead, we need to start pointing some fingers at a defense that has forced one punt in the last six quarters and has allowed passes to be completed at an 80% clip in the last two games. Instead, we need to look at a defense that has allowed 81 points in the last two contests. We need to look at a defense that hasn’t recorded a sack in the last 6 quarters. We need to look at a defense that allowed Peyton Manning to roll out and scramble for a touchdown, his first rushing touchdown since 2008. I’m pretty sure he prancercised into the endzone, too.

Sure, the quarterbacks were Phillip Rivers and Peyton Manning. Peyton is having one of the best, if not the best, seasons by a quarterback ever. Phillip Rivers is seeming to make a bit of a comeback after two pretty terrible years. However, this Cowboys secondary is giving up yards and points by the gallon. Here are some fun facts.

The Cowboys defense gave up 517 yards of total offense on Sunday, along with 34 first downs. The Broncos converted on 3rd down 9 of 13 times. The Cowboys did not force a punt in the game.

Against the Chargers, Dallas allowed 506 yards of total offense, along with 27 first downs.

For those who are counting, that’s over 1,000 yards of offense given up in the last two games. Unacceptable.

Figure it out Monte Kiffin.

Now, is Romo completely blameless? Of course not. He threw a pick in the last two minutes, that’s unacceptable in a game like that. But if the defense forces a punt or two, does that pick matter? Does that pick even happen?

If Dallas could have gotten one stop, and they have the lead with the ball in the last two minutes, do they still throw, or let DeMarco Murray try to run the clock out?

It’s a frustrating conversation to have after a game like this, because it was such a display of brilliance and idiocracy all bundled up into a nice little package. don’t blame this loss all on Tony Romo. The defense needs to be held responsible too.

More importantly, the defense needs to figure it out before next Sunday night or the Cowboys will watch the Redskins run right past them.

Figure it out Monte Kiffin.

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Grading the Dallas Cowboys Defense After Week 1

(Photo Credit: LM Otero/Associated Press)

It’s not often you see a team force 6 turnovers in a single game.

It’s even less often that a team forcing 6 turnovers wins by less than a touchdown.

That’s exactly what happened to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Cowboys forced and recovered three fumbles, and intercepted Eli Manning three times, yet only won 36-31 when it was all said and done.

So, what went right? What went wrong? We review below.

What went right: Six Turnovers

This is the most obvious. Picks by DeMarcus Ware, Brandon Carr and Will Allen, along with three fumble recoveries by Barry Church, DeVonte Holloman and George Selvie show that the new mentality Monte Kiffin has brought to this defense is working.

The biggest two turnovers were the fumble recovery by Barry Church, which he returned 27 yards for a touchdown and Brandon Carr’s fourth quarter interception, which he returned 49 yards for a touchdown. Carr’s interception came with less than 2 minutes left in the game, and put the Cowboys up 12. Sure, Carr’s interception came off a tip, but he was in the right place at the right time to make the play.

Besides the turnovers, the defense did a good job getting pressure on Manning for most of the night. They hit Manning five times and sacked him three.

What went wrong: Consistency/Communication

You may think it’s nitpicking to discuss what went wrong when you see that a defense forced six turnovers, but they still allowed almost 500 yards of offense and 31 points, so clearly there was some inconsistency.

Two big plays come to mind when thinking about miscommunications, especially in the secondary. The first came in the first quarter, when Hakeem Nicks got loose for a 57 yard reception. Fortunately, that didn’t hurt Dallas.

The second was Victor Cruz’s 70 yard touchdown reception where Mo Claiborne and Will Allen clearly got confused on who was supposed to stick with the dynamic receiver. By the time they realized he was behind them it was far too late.

All in all, Eli Manning threw for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns in this game, and on a normal night, that beats you. So, Dallas needs to tighten the screws a little bit. I’d like to see Claiborne and Carr press a little more at the line. I felt like they were giving too much of a cushion for most of the game.

So, Dallas has a lot to improve upon heading into Week 2 against Kansas City. The Chiefs don’t have nearly as dynamic of an offense as the Giants, but they looked pretty good against the Jags. Jamaal Charles is a strong runner, and Alex Smith is capable of spreading the ball to a few talented receivers.

For Week 1, I give the Cowboys defense a B+.

What do you think?

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Anthony Spencer and Dallas Cowboys End Contract Talks

Anthony Spencer will become a free agent after the 2013 season, according to Pro Football Talk, after the veteran outside linebacker and the Dallas Cowboys decided to end negotiations to sign Spencer to a long term deal. Instead, Spencer will play this year on the one-year, $10.6 million franchise tender he signed earlier this year.

The Cowboys’ front office was basing their negotiations off of other contracts signed this offseason, specifically Elvis Dummerville’s $5 million/year contract with Baltimore, and Cliff Avril’s $7.5 million/year deal with Seattle.

In 2012, Spencer recorded 95 tackles and 11 sacks, both career highs by a long shot. However, I think the Cowboys would be wise not to sign Spencer to a contract based on those numbers. For his career, excluding last season, Spencer averages 53.2 tackles and 4.3 sacks per year. That, to me, is not worth another franchise tender for 2014, more or less a contract that nets Spencer a total of $20 million or more.

So it looks like this will be Anthony Spencer’s last year wearing the star. Seeing what he did in a contract year last year, that may not be such a bad thing. It looks like Dallas can get another year of great production from a guy who will then turn 30 and return to mediocrity elsewhere.

Bill Callahan is the New Dallas Cowboys Playcaller

(Photo Credit: Gary Tramontina/Associated Press)

It was just another day at Valley Ranch, as Jerry Jones was doing Jerry Jones things, until the Dallas Cowboys’ owner let slip that Jason Garrett will no longer be the playcaller for the Silver and Blue.

Instead, that job will fall to offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who last called plays when he was the head coach at Nebraska in 2007. Head coach Jason Garrett had been calling plays for Dallas since he joined the team as the offensive coordinator in 2007.

In an interview with ESPN, Bill Callahan said:

I’m flattered and as I said this a long time ago when we were visiting in January and February, everybody has a stake in this, Callahan said.

It’s a compliment to our staff and it tells you the way our guys work on the offensive side of the ball. It’s been productive all the way around. I’m really encouraged, I’m honored and just do the best job for our fans and our team.

Meanwhile, Garrett would not confirm that he had, in fact, been stripped of his play calling duties.

I, for one, am happy with this change, as we saw Garrett mishandle late game situations all season last year, as he tried to get a play in, and discuss challenges/timeouts/etc. simultaneously as the play clock ticked down.

This also reinforces the statements made by Jones earlier in the year that Tony Romo will have more influence on play calling, as he and Callahan will likely work out where Romo has a little more freedom (the first thing that pops into my head would be the two-minute drill).

So, do you think this is a good move? Vote, and let us know why (or why not) in the comments.

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