The core reason that the Cowboys haven't won a super bowl or made more than cameo appearances in the playoffs since the Jimmy Johnson teams isn't a problem with the quarterback, the lack of a running game, the problems with the secondary, or the lack of a pass rush.
The problem is hidden inside this quote.
" . . . just hours ago I thought this core group had an opportunity to go very far into the playoffs,” Jones said. “So I’m very disappointed. I’m frankly surprised that we didn’t do better . . ."
Really? Now, if the Cowboys had blown just two of the three big fourth quarter leads and if they had won 7 if their last eight and if Romo's hand wasn't swollen and DeMarco Murray hadn't been on the shelf, then surely there would be nothing wrong with Jerry seeing sunshine.
More after the break.But you don't have to be clairvoyant to know that this team was going to have a hard time beating the giants much less making a deep run in the playoffs. And that's the problem.
Jerry the owner is all that any fan could wish for. He's built the best stadium imaginable. He is willing to poor money into the team. And like all great business leaders, he is a cheerleader extraordinaire. That positive attitude sells tickets and numerous promotional deals that helped fund the stadium and the high payrolls. It allows him to pay premium dollars for coordinators or whatever else might help.
Unfortunately, it's not a quality that is helpful in a GM. A GM can't view teams with rose-colored glasses. A GM needs to be a super realist. Otherwise, you give contracts to guys who are past their prime or who haven't really warranted big dollars (Scandrick, anyone?) and you don't churn the roster enough.
It actually looked this off season like the Cowboys were going to change their ways and get rid of a lot of deadweight. You can only hope that the bloodletting continues.
Somehow, Jerry needs to understand that our secondary is a mess. It's not a mess just because the pass rush is non-existent without Ware or a blitz. Ball shouldn't be in the NFL. Elam is a bench player on a good team. Sensabach doesn't like to tackle and isn't that great on coverage. He's only acceptable if you have a real play maker at the other safety spot. And let's not even get started on Terrence Newman, a guy way past his prime.
And then there is the defensive line. Ratliff had a couple of good years but he's nothing special now. The rest of the line is comprised of rotation guys. None of them are horrible. But no one in that group will go to a pro bowl.
Sure, Ware and Lee are studs. Maybe Bruce Carter will be next year's Lee. I sure hope so because James and Brooking are done. Spencer is at best just OK. He's not a difference maker and this defense needs a few of them.
Yes, Rob Ryan helped. But unless anyone failed to notice, Wade Philips made a Houston team elite on defense this season. So maybe it isn't about just the coaching. Maybe it's about talent.
What makes this situation all the more desperate is that Ware, Romo, and Witten will all be 30 years old or older next year. That's not a good age to be in the NFL. At best, those three have two more good years left together. At best. It won't be surprising for any of them to spend a lot of time next year or the year after on the injured list. That's what happens to older players. They break down. Just look at Newman over the last few years.
Are there good pieces on this team, outside of the core three? Sure. Murray looks like a guy that can win a rushing title. The three receivers are going to be very hard to deal with. Sean Lee is an all pro caliber linebacker. Smith will be a fixture at tackle.
But this team needs some serious talent infusion. Unless Jerry is a miracle worker, and there's nothing in his GM track record to suggest he is, then there won't be enough cap room, draft picks, trades or free agent signings to transform this team into a super bowl contender next year.
I just wish Jerry the GM knew that and started being the realist we need him to be.