The Dallas Cowboys are a slow football team. The rest of the NFL looks like they are running circles around the 'Boys from Valley Ranch. Don't be confused, I'm not talking about the players actual speed on the field. They have plenty of that and can compete with any NFL team on that level. What I'm talking about is urgency, tempo...whatever you want to call it. The Cowboys seem to do everything in slow-motion except when they're actually running a play.
The most obvious case came at the end of the game on the play immediately preceding the Dan Bailey missed field goal. They dumped a short pass off to Dez Bryant, hoping that he would be able to break something on the run-after-catch. That's not bad thinking, but once the play is over, Dallas starts their comedy of errors. Suddenly players are standing around. Tyron Smith, Nate Livings and Phil Costa can be seen looking at Bryant once he was tackled, then slowly turning around and walking back to the huddle. Walking! I mean seriously, is no one aware of the situation and the time on the clock? Dez Bryant is arguing with the ref about the spot instead of getting lined up. The whole offense is moving like a turtle.
“Instantly at that moment you try to run another play,” Romo said. “Saying that, it took a long time to get us in the formation for the play we wanted to get into.
“Once it got below a certain point, it was not in our best interest to run another play.”
Because of the delay they had no shot at another play and had to burn their final timeout. That's just ridiculous. Only Tony Romo seemed to show any sense of urgency. This falls on the players, but most of all it falls on Jason Garrett. He has to have his team prepared, to know the situation, to know exactly what they plan to do on the next play and to make sure everybody races back to the line of scrimmage. I like a lot of things Garrett is doing with this team, but sometime they seem so unprepared for everything besides the actual play.
This example is just one of many times when the Cowboys can't get their act together before an offensive play is run. This isn't the first time I've complained about using all of the play clock before an offensive snap with Romo hurriedly directing the blocking scheme or audibling with the receivers. Now, it's understandable you want to make some adjustments at the line, but if you're going to do as much as Romo is doing, then you have to get the play into the huddle faster, and get the guys out of the huddle and up to the line faster. There's just no excuse for the Cowboys to be rushing everything at the last second.
Defenses aren't letting this go unnoticed. They're timing their blitzes and movements to coincide with this last-second fiasco, knowing exactly when the ball is going to be snapped. They're getting good jumps.
And all those false-start penalties? Maybe that has to do with having to hold your stance so long as the Cowboys go through all the last-second adjustments.
It's called tempo on offense, and Dallas doesn't have it. Something as fundamental as getting the play-call in, getting in-and-out of the huddle, and getting the ball off before one second left on the play clock is eluding the Cowboys. Time and situation also seemed to be beyond their grasp in multiple games under Garrett.
It's fundamental football, and Jason Garrett needs to address it.