This was perhaps the most frustrating season I have spent as a Cowboys fan. The team showed enough talent and heart at times to make me think that anything was possible. At other times there were break downs in various phases of the game that led to blown leads and horrific losses. At the end of the day, this team is probably where it deserves to be, a 500 club with a lot of holes to fill. I find it hard to think about the good right now, but there was plenty, as well as plenty of the other stuff as well.
Romo – He had a few performances that should be put in other categories, but for the year he was excellent. He made time in the pocket and really excelled on the ad lib plays. As the year went on he really became excellent at knowing when to take chances and when not to.
Murray – He was a revelation. Runs hard and smart with good vision. I was not a big fan when he was drafted, but he is exactly what this team needed and he was missed after he got hurt.
WRs – They all had their moments. Austin was the man in SF. Dez was pretty solid all year. Robinson may have had the most moments. He is a must to re-sign.
Smith – The kid came in and held down the right side as well as anyone around here in quite some time. 21 the guy is 21, has all the athletic talent you could want and the desire as well. This guy is going to be something. You need to go to a game and look at this guy next to other O lineman, he looks out of place. No gut on this dude, he is solid. I look forward to a decade of awesome play from this kid. This was an awesome draft pick.
Witten – He was his normal superb self as a receiver. Seemed to fall off a little blocking, but was still quite good.
Hatcher and Lissemore– Neither was awesome, but they were a hell of a lot better than I thought they would be. They brought some heat from a DE position, not huge amounts but more than we have seen around here lately. We have a couple of solid rotation guys, need a standout DE now.
Lee – He was spectacular before the hand injury, he was solid after it. This was a draft pick that they hit out of the park. He was solid in the run game, pretty good in coverage and the biggest threat on the team to make an int and actually return it a little ways.
Ware – He was his normal dominant self before the stinger. Seemed to be really impacted by that for the rest of the season. He is our pass rush. He face constant chips or double teams or worse and still gets 19 sacks. He is my favorite player and he needs a little help getting after QBs.
Pass Rush – “Leon can’t do everything”. That must have been how Ware felt throughout the year. (For those who don’t remember follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BkIh1R5utY). The time given to opposing QBs was just too much. Eli in the first Giants game 47 passes and no sacks, that can’t happen. There needs to be another consistent threat, and right now there isn’t.
Other LBs – If your name is not Lee or Ware you fit in this category. I struggle with Spencer, he makes some plays, especially in the run game, but he does not drive the action. He is not a difference maker. You would think playing opposite the best pass rusher in the game that he would make more things happen. Brooking and James are just done. They fought valiantly for a long time, but they are out of gas. I think it is time to move on from all three of these guys.
Special Teams – This was definitely a misnomer for the group, there was not a damn thing special about them. The return game stunk, the return defense was ok, the kicker was good, the punter was good until the foot thing and then not so good. The good teams have good special teams, this group needs a dynamic return guy and perhaps a new coach. There were several baffling alignment issues throughout the year, that goes on the coach. The Jets blocked punt was an alignment issue, and they damn near got one blocked last night also.
Secondary – I have heard it said around here a few time that we don’t have a secondary, they are so bad we should call it a tertiary. That might be a little too much credit, I might have to go with quaternary. The only one I was impressed with was Jenkins, he played hurt and played well. Newman was ok after he got healthy but then fell off the map. The last 5 weeks he has been awful. The safties are just a couple of guys. Scandrick baffles me as well. Seems to be in good position a lot but doesn’t make a lot of plays. That is the thing with this group, there is nobody who makes plays. Nobody intercepts a pass, so there is nothing to keep Eli from chucking up a prayer to Cruz that gets completed. If you look at the elite teams in the NFC they all make plays in the secondary, multiple guys with interceptions.
Interior O-Line – This was a huge weak spot and responsible for multiple losses (NE and Ari games come to mind immediately). Costa got rag dolled on multiple occasions. Kosier is approaching the Brooking-James line where the mind is willing but the body is not capable. The post slim down Lumpy was ok, but not anything special. If this can be fixed, then this offense could really dominate.