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RGIII deserves credit, but...

The Cowboys have hit critical mass. It would be easy to blame the coaches, and unfortunately those that are looking for an easy target will attack Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan following yet another tough loss. While inevitable, the criticism would be unwarranted.

I thought about leveling harsh criticism to Jason for garnering a couple of three and outs, two interceptions, a fumble, three punts, and two lousy field goals from the red zone through 43:22 minutes of play. It crossed my mind to bash Rob Ryan for surrendering drives of 93, 49, 59, and 33 yards on consecutive second quarter drives, and supervising a defense that cannot make a stop in the fourth quarter (82-yard drive and 50-yard drive), yielding 38 points.

But I prefer to avoid criticizing individuals that have forgotten more about the game that I have for fear that it will reveal how truly ignorant I am. As the great Abraham Lincoln uttered, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Perhaps it is that I give thanks on this day for the opportunity afforded me to live out my athletic fantasies. Because of that experience I clearly recognize that sometimes coaches can only do so much.

The real story of this game is below:

Position

Projected starter

Player on Thanksgiving

Roster depth

LT

Tyron Smith

Jermey Parnell

2nd string

C

Phil Costa

Mackenzy Bernadeau

4th string

G

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Derrick Dockery

2nd string

WR

Miles Austin

Dwayne Harris

4th string

WR3

Kevin Ogletree

Cole Beasley

5th string

RB

DeMarco Murray

Lance Dunbar

3rd string

That was the offense, now the defense:

Position

Projected starter

Player on Thanksgiving

Roster depth

NT

Jay Ratliff

Josh Brent

2nd string

DE

Kenyon Coleman

Marcus Spears

2nd string

ILB

Sean Lee

Dan Connor

2nd string

ILB

Bruce Carter

Ernie Sims

3rd string

CB3

Orlando Scandrick

Mike Jenkins

2nd string

SS

Barry Church

Danny McCray

2nd string

Analyzing the three receiver sets and nickel schemes on defense demonstrates that the Cowboys were playing with less than half of the starters intended to play their respective positions. The offense is utilizing 4th and 5th string players on a regular basis. The defense is replacing more than half of the starters with players that are either 2nd or 3rd string players.

I know that the Green Bay Packers won a Super Bowl in Arlington a couple of years ago when plagued with injuries, but upon further investigation, it is clear that most of the Packers' injured players were back-ups (http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/10/26/3559278/the-2010-packers-never-lost-a-player-the-caliber-of-sean-lee). Comparing the injury situation in Green Bay with that in Dallas would be a poor and inaccurate analogy.

Nobody on this blog will hear Jerry or Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, or any player use injuries as an excuse. Personally, I do not think that this matter of decorum is realistic or appropriate in the salary-cap controlled NFL. If every team has limited resources to spend on talent, the only way to have back-up players that are as good as the starters is if the starters are just not that good. In that case, the overall talent level for the team would define mediocre.

But the starters on the Cowboys are not mediocre...when healthy.

Romo threw 62 passes (after launching 50 on Sunday) with only 2 interceptions (3.2%). Without Romo this game would have been an embarrassment on national television. Tony made big plays and gave Dallas a chance with 4th, 5th, and 6th string receivers opposite Dez Bryant. Tony also had Lance Dunbar in the backfield, and had to hold his hand throughout the entire game, directing him as to how to line up, run a route, and so forth.

Dez Bryant is growing into the number on his jersey. His fumble was unfortunate, but he fought the urge to belt DeAngelo Hall after Hall struck him in the face: an occurrence that the replacement...err real officials missed. Avoiding being drawn into a penalty and then focusing that frustration back into his game was truly impressive.

Jason Hatcher was effective stunting with Ware. Spencer made some plays. Morris Claiborne flashes brilliance.

DeMarcus Ware is among the best defensive players in the NFL, and perhaps ever to play. Jason Witten is destined for the Hall of Fame.

Mackenzy Bernadeau was not the main reason that Dallas is now 5-6. Brandon Carr was not the problem in coverage. Gerald Sensabaugh was the best safety on the field. Dwayne Harris is intriguing.

Everyone else is either injured or not playing at a level that is expected of a NFL starter. Of course, most of the players left on the field in the final five minutes of the game Thursday did not begin the season as starters.

Wasn't it Parcells that said something to the effect of, "If they're going to ask you to make the dinner, they should let you pick the groceries."

Some of what was on the field was not easily digestible.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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