Welcome to a very sullen and dejected edition of What They're Saying. Not that losing to the Giants was surprising. I predicted a Cowboys victory with my heart, to keep my own spirits up going into the game...but did my head really believe we would win? Not really, I knew we were out-gunned going into the game and that the Giants are a better football team at this point in the season. So losing wasn't a shock to the system. But losing in the way we did, that was kind of sickening. We looked like a Pop Warner team out there and while the injuries were certainly a factor in losing, there was more going on than just that in the way we performed. Tony Romo returning will certainly help this team but it's not a magic elixir that will cure all our woes. The players better understand that and the coaches better understand that. If they don't then our season will not end up in the playoffs but on the scrap-heap. And that will be one ignoble fall for a team that had such high expectations.
From the start, the Cowboys couldn't stop the Giants. The first drive of the game ended with the Giants celebrating in our endzone. Still, Eli and company were determined to keep us in the game by making their own mistakes. Unfortunately, Brad Johnson was too busy returning the favor to do anything about it.
"We never really put ourselves in position to be in the game tonight," [Brad] Johnson said. "We didn't play as good as we needed to . . . I didn't do my part."
That slant pass that was picked-off when the Cowboys were driving was just the beginning of a long downward spiral. Almost every observer of the game knew that that was the point when you pull Brad and go with Brooks Bollinger. When Brad is turning the ball over, he's basically useless as a QB. Still, Wade couldn't pull the trigger. I don't want to hear that it was Jason Garrett's fault that we didn't change QB's then, Wade Phillips is the head coach, he is the guy who has to make the decision, he has ultimate authority on the field and he failed. Instead we get lame quotes like:
"We're playing from behind, which when you have your backup quarterbacks in there it's not a good position."
"Just another quarterback," the head coach said, pretty much summing up his alternatives.
I don't know, Wade is starting to lose me as a fan. I'm wondering if he's starting to lose the players. This "golly-gee what do you want me to do" act is wearing very thin.
Of course, when they finally made the change at halftime, it didn't exactly work out. Bollinger immediately dropped an INT on us.
"It's a tough one. It's disappointing," Bollinger said of the pass intended for tight end Jason Witten,... "I was just in a little bit of a hurry and it was a little quick for Witt. Poor decision."
"Looking at it in hindsight," Jerry Jones sheepishly said of his choices in backup quarterbacks, "we might have done things differently."
Ya think! I know it's easy to use hindsight to pick apart the failings of a football team, but the reason NFL GM's are in the position they are in is because they are supposed to use foresight to see these things. In our case, the GM is in the position he's in not because of foresight but because he owns the team.
When Tony Romo returns, things should improve on the offensive side of the ball, we should at least become competitive again. Unless he doesn't return immediately after the bye which still isn't a certainty - just ask Romo - who was asked that question after the game.
"Don't know," he said after the game. "Haven't tested anything yet."
"That begins this week," Tony said. "We will know more then."
Oh lordy, he better come back for the Washington game. The Cowboys managed to keep themselves in contention by winning the Tampa Bay game but their margin of error is razor-thin and going to Washington without Romo would probably be more than we could overcome.
To tell you the truth though, I'm tired of the Romo excuse. The rest of this team is supposed to be of championship caliber but they sure don't play like it and they sure don't seem to have the fire and fight needed to make a run. Patrick Crayton can say the wrong things at the wrong times, but he definitely had some accurate quotes after this game.
"It's time for us to stop letting people take shots at us," Patrick Crayton said. "They're taking power shots at us, and we're just trying to get up against the ropes and survive. I'm tired of using the Romo injury as an excuse."
I think that quote may be the most compelling thing any Cowboy has said in a while. The rest of the team needs to pick it up when major injuries come, but it hasn't really happened for us.
"I don't have any answers," Ellis said, when asked if the injuries had sapped the Cowboys' competitiveness. "You would hope not.
"They don't cancel the season just because you lost your starting quarterback."
No they don't but I don't think the Cowboys players and coaches got that memo.
Click below to keep reading as the Cowboys players talk about what comes next.
In the Giants game, most of the fault lies with an offense that couldn't score and continually turned the ball over, putting the defense in difficult situations. Still, the defense wasn't blameless, they allowed the first drive of the game to be a demoralizing march right down the field for a TD. That basically set the tone and the Giants racked up impressive totals in the run game. Our defense was soft for the most part.
"We knew we had to hold it together," inside linebacker Bradie James said. "We gave up seven points. If we could have given up three points, it could have been a different dynamic. We ended up getting some sacks and turnovers but it still wasn't enough, no matter what we were able to do. It still wasn't enough to win the game."
Right now, the Cowboys are teetering on the edge of a major disappointment. They have the bye week to get some injured players back and they have the bye week to get their minds right about how they want this season to end. They don't need just an infusion of healthy players back on the field, they need a complete overhaul of they're attitudes and their performances on the field. At least they're saying the right things.
"It's very frustrating," safety Keith Davis said. "We just got to go back to the drawing board. It's not over by any means. We're going to keep fighting and keep competing and get this bye week and get some people we need to get healthy, and some other guys are banged up. We have to refocus, and we'll have a tough one against Washington next week."
"It's not where we thought we'd be after nine games, but I don't think anybody is panicking and saying the season is over," said tight end Jason Witten, who played Sunday after receiving two pain-killing injections around his broken rib. "We've got to make a run at this, and we all have got to understand we have to get better. It's not just going to happen because Tony [Romo] is coming back."
"The bye couldn't have come at a better time," Owens said. "It gives us time to reflect and clear our minds. When we come back after the bye, we better be ready to play. It's a test of character. But no one is giving up hope. It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
"We better be good quick," Thomas said. "We've got no room for error. But give them credit. They won in every category. You just gotta keep having faith and hopefully it will come together for the second half of the season."
We are now out of excuses. Whatever comes our way over the next seven games we have to make it work. Injury excuses are over, Wade Phillips protecting the players is over, the players not getting the job done is over. Every single thing you can think of that can be pointed to as a contributing factor to this poor first-half of the season has to be over.
"We know where we are and it's not where we planned to be at all," team owner Jerry Jones said. "It's very disappointing. We just didn't look anything like we had hoped to look."
You have seven games to get a new look. Seven games to make us forget about what's transpired so far. Seven games to prove it's not over.