Incorrigible. An adjective meaning "incapable of learning or being reformed." An adjective describing, perfectly, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys, who right now would lose an IQ contest to a slug, amoeba or paramecium.
We've all heard the pop culture definition of insanity, right? You know, "continuing to do the same things the same way and expecting different results"? This, my friends, is insanity. Double-digit penalties against the Titans? Let's do it again in Minneapolis. Another end zone celebration penalty, a week after it contributed to a loss? You got to be kidding, right? Followed immediately by an out of bounds kickoff? Groundhog Day? Can't cover kickoffs? A late interception to seal another loss? This video is playing on an endless loop.
And there were other painful flashes of deja vu. Three straight Marion Barber runs on the 'Boys' first possession netted a first down. Followed by three pass plays, two incomplete, that netted a punt. I think I once heard an old coach, or fifty of them, tell me, "If they ain't stoppin' the run, keep runnin' it until they do." I guess Jason Garrett missed those lectures at Princeton.
Three more PI penalties against Mike Jenkins (the last one admittedly questionable)? Apparently those "teachable moments" last week against the Titans were lost on Mike. Lesson clearly not learned.
Troy Aikman let Romo off the hook on the second of his two interceptions by E.J. Henderson. I won't. Romo "didn't see Henderson"? He should have. There was nothing particularly exotic or inscrutable about that coverage. Not that Romo should have been in that position in the first place. It was third and one at the Viking 23. Marion Barber was a perfect, perfect, 5-5 on third and fourth down conversions at that point in the game. He should have been given the opportunity to make it 6-6. Instead, 5-step drop, pick, disaster, leading to the Minnesota winning field goal. There's a reason why we call the obvious the obvious, Jason. Because it's obvious. Don't overthink the obvious, Professor Garrett.
Miles Austin is a prodigious athlete. He proved that by cleanly vaulting over the head of the 6-3 and helmeted Roy Williams, a move that any male would approach with trepidation. And Austin displayed impressive upper body strength in bench-pressing Viking cornerback Asher Allen, thus negating a 68-yard touchdown pass. The heck of it is that Austin didn't have to push off. He already had inside position on the rolled-up Cover 2 corner.
Alan Ball's holding penalty wiped out a 37-yard punt return by Dez Bryant. Charming. The only thing "special" about the Cowboy special teams right now is that they are 'specially rank. Can't get 11 guys on the field for a punt? Let's call timeout. Still can't get it together? Let's take a delay penalty.
Despite the chaos, didn't you think the 'Boys were in control at halftime? I did. Favre was taking a pounding, getting sacked once and knocked down four times on his first seven pass attempts. Romo was in a nice rhythm (as a passer and a runner), and the Vikings seemingly had no answer for Roy Williams on the slant. But my halftime sandwich turned rancid when Percy Harvin took the second half kickoff 95 yards to the house. And was there even a second's worth of doubt that Harvin was gone? In the words of Brad Sham, "The Cowboys' kick coverage team is terrible." Eloquent.
Another chronic problem: The Cowboys cannot play an effective zone coverage, and opponents are locking in on that. Example? Dallas, like most teams, wants to play man coverage in the red zone. But from the Cowboy ten, the Vikings used a "tight bunch" three receiver triangle, forcing Dallas into a zone. Greg Camarillo's easy TD reception tied the game at seven at the end of the first quarter.
Same story. Same mistakes. Same excuses. Incorrigible. Insane, really.