I started this in the thread of football mensa's post, but it got long so I decided to put it on it's own. I don't post much, and haven't written anything this long in a while, so it may ramble a bit.
Let's face it, last night's game sucked. But, I have to admit I'm not going nuts today because I could see it coming. Whenever we face a team that has a bad OLine or whose QB is playing bad, they end up playing well against us. We see it over and over again. So I kinda saw it coming.
To be upfront, I'm a big fan of Romo and Garrett. It looks like most on this post are ready to dump one or both of them (and I understand why), but I think they will work it out (although probably not this year). Let me see if I can say this in a non-rambling way (don't count on it):
1) This team has no depth. This has been a problem for quite a while. This is where Jerry the GM has really killed this team. I think we'd all agree there are some REALLY good starters on both sides of the ball (Offense: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray. Defense: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Brandon Carr, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff, Morris Claiborne.). But as we saw last night, when any of those guys go down, we have nothing. As much as we all hoped that Victor Butler would live up to his promise, the true story is that he's not that good. He was a liability last night. McCray may have made a play or two, but I don't think he had the best game last night either. Ogletree is not consistent. Special Teams have struggled for the last two years. These are depth issues. Look at Houston last year, they lost multiple starters on defense and still played great. Yes Wade is better as a DC then HC, but also because when they say "Next Man Up" their next man can actually play. For the most part, our next man is a major drop-off. I think JG and Stephen Jones know this, but this one takes a while to fix.
2) We have line issues. No really. We do. The team decided they could only fix one major issue this year, and they chose the Secondary. That's fine. Except for last night, the Secondary has been great (going back to depth, I think McCray and Jenkins are major drop-off from Church). The Oline just plain sucks. They tried to patch it with low-end FA's and a new coach, but it's not working. Say what you will about Spears, Hatcher, Lissimore, etc, overall, I don't think our DLine is very good either (they practice against our OLine, so their not exactly getting pushed to greatness). Rookie Crawford looked great in training camp, but he was going against our OLine every day, so who knows how good he really is. Look at the 49ers. You can talk all you want about how amazing Harbaugh's job has been there, but they invested heavily in their OLine before he got there and it's helping them tremendously. Smith and Gore have much easier jobs when there is time to throw and holes to run through. 2011's draft was offense. Last year's draft was defense. I expect next year's draft will be all linemen (both O and D). And hopefully a Safety or two (you know, for depth).
3) Coaching. I really like Garrett's philosophies. I think he knows what it takes to build a team in the long run. I think he’s an above average playcaller (not great and not horrible). In my mind (and maybe I'm being apologetic here) I think it's hard to call plays when the OLine is as bad as ours. I don't think the play calling last night was bad. Romo missed two TD's on overthrows. If he makes those, this game is entirely different. Sean Payton might be the only guy in the league I would consider a universally great playcaller. Everyone else is stuck with some serious highs and lows. Rob Ryan got beat last night. I really think the loss of Church and Spencer hurt this team against the Bears. They used Carr as a Safety last week and it was new and different and TB's crappy OC didn't exploit it. The Bears had a week to prepare. And Carr didn't play well last night. And Butler didn't play well last night. Again let me reference Houston. Poll anyone two years ago, and I think they'd say Gary Kubiak sucks as HC and they need to fire him. Now? He's got the best team in the league. This is why I'm not ready to give up on Garrett. The guy is smart. He's going to learn. He knows what's wrong. He's trying to work around it right now ("It" being the OLine). I know it’s a Win Now league, but quick turnarounds turn into big regressions easily too. I think if they stick to the plan, the team is going to get to a level of sustained success.
4) Romo. Look, he's my favorite player on the team. When he plays bad, it kills me because I know he's going to be killed in the media and on this site for weeks. I understand how everyone feels, but I still like the guy. And I still think the team can win a Super Bowl with him. But I (like you) am always expecting to see the big screw up a couple of times each year. And I (like you) am tired of hearing the "I'll have to evaluate the situation and make changes" speech. I don't blame him for what happened last night (let me apologize now for the apologizing that follows). The first INT was both on him and Dez. The second is entirely on Ogletree. Without a good replay, I still think the third was just the ball being hit out of his hand and not him attempting to shovel pass it, but I could be wrong. The last two were bad, but the game was done by then and he was in "I have to do it all" mode. I don't like that, but I'm not going to get crazy on it. If we fix the OLine and he still can't get it done, then we can talk about getting a new QB. Until then, it's a moot point (in my opinion).
5) Mental Toughness. This takes time. This team has been through some serious lows. It’s understandable that they go through some of the same emotions we do. They showed serious mental toughness beating the Giants in the Meadowlands. Since then it’s just been tough. Honestly, I think it’s ok to go through this early in the season. Look at the Super Bowl winners the last few years. Going all the way back to Indianapolis, every team has had rough starts or stretches. It happens. This is how you develop the mental toughness. I’m hoping that happens with this team. I'd rather go through the tough times early than fall apart at the end. Hopefully we won't do both.
This team has some serious flaws. Those flaws cut deep and take some time to fix. While I held out some hope we would see that start to turn around this year (and still do to an extent) I think the OLine problems are just going to be too much to overcome this year. But I still believe this team is on the right track. They have some really good, young talent. I am choosing right now to believe in the future even if the present sometimes takes that hope and crushes it into the ground.