After the spectacle that was the Cowboys' Week 17 demolition, I got to thinking about how much this team had achieved just getting to 11-5 and winning the NFC East. If that was all there was to the season, then I'd be ecstatic. But surely, there will not be a shortage of people clamoring to belittle the NFC East title and hollering about the playoff drought
So despite the euphoria of getting to the playoffs in great, nay formidable, shape, there are still games to be played, and some questions linger...
These are questions that I have been wrestling with for some time and, judging by my addiction to BTB, so have a few of you. There should be no doubt that this postseason is poised perfectly to give the kind of closure that has been sought, especially when this Cowboys team has arrived in the playoffs on a hot streak. The benefit to this good play is that it has really taken away a lot of the other distractions that would keep you from an unequivocal answer. Without further ado:
Does Wade Phillips deserve to keep his job next season?
Never hated Wade. With all the characters that inhabit the locker room and the turmoil of last season, I just didn't think he was the type of personality that could sort it all out. But lo and behold, suddenly a team that fits Wade started performing and kept on believing. The defense, oh the defense, has just been an absolute joy to watch. I think Wade stays.
Has Evil Tony been suppressed?
You remember Evil Tony. He was the guy that made the unnecessary reckless play and made you want to tear your hair out. Yeah, he has slowly started to phase out of Tony's pysche ever since the first Giants game. Looks like Romo has gotten a handle on his play and feels less pressure to put it all on himself. I'm sure the emergence of Austin and the new, improved Dallas D has a little bit to do with it. But more than that, we are witnessing a QB grow before our very eyes. So I only worry because the mark left by Evil Tony is indelible. But I think he's gone for good and good riddance.
Can the defense hold for 60 minutes in a close game?
Until the Saints game, the answer to this was just a flat-out NO. The good vibes would stop emanating around mid-4th quarter, and I could just tell they were gassed and done. No more -- this D is just built different. Two guys who have taken it to the next level (Jenkins and Spencer) plus two all-worlders (Ware and Ratliff) plus three transfers that were better than advertised (Olshansky, Brooking and Sensabaugh) equal only part of a unit that looks ready to deliver. I think they're ready to show that they can lock down a playoff game.
Will Roy Williams remain a Cowboy?
I swear the years tick by, but the name and the associated disappointment remain. Here it is, the current version's best chance to prove he's worthy of contributing to a playoff run. The only thing that bothers me is that it's been one and a half seasons, yet we're still talking about his inability to be on the same page as the QB. Forgetting the draft picks, I'm disappointed because he's got the pedigree, the size and the skill to be everything we hoped he could be when he first arrived. But he's not, and I feel that cutting an overpaid "#1" receiver is much easier the second time around.
By the end of the Philly game on Saturday, you too will be able to answer these questions without a doubt. Nonetheless, it's fun to speculate until the postseason actually gets going. If you've got questions that you think the playoffs will answer, please feel free to post them below.
It's the time of year where the Cowboys earn their name, prestige and stars. Playoffs, baby!