After watching Eli and his Band of Backups completely annihilate the Panthers after a short week; I came to the realization that the problem with the Dallas Cowboys over the last decade is not with the product on the field, but the men standing on the sidelines and sitting in the box.
While watching Martellus Bennett rope in his 6th catch last night and score his 3rd touchdown of the year in as many games; I began to wonder why Dallas just released this man in the open market without getting something in return. The guy is only 25 years old and clearly has loads of gas left in the tank. He was a second round draft choice (#61 overall) for the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and during his tenure with the Cowboys he had 85 catches and four total touchdowns with zero touchdowns in his final three years with the team. Thus far, in his first 3 games with the Giants, he already has 15 catches (10 of those for first downs), 185yds receiving, and three touchdowns.
At 6'6" 265lbs., and a two sport athlete in college, this guy undeniably has some athletic ability. He actually has the very same build as last year’s top fantasy tight end Rob Gronkowski.
A two sport athlete in college certainly tells me there is some sheer athleticism that comes with this kid. In addition to Marty B; Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, and Todd Heap - all top tight ends in the NFL - played basketball in college also. There seems to be a trend to tight ends who have also played basketball in college and go on to play in the NFL. Clearly, Jimmy Graham certainly won’t be getting released anytime soon, Todd Heap is a solid player and 10+ year NFL veteran, while Tony Gonzalez will in arguably be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The point here is this: Why did the Cowboys "brass" let Martellus go without anything in trade? Further, why did they let him go, PERIOD?
More and more teams are incorporating the two tight end set in the NFL. Maybe that's because the Patriots had so much success with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez playing on the field together that more teams want to emulate their success with their own versions of the two tight end set. The use of this formation helps to neutralize the eight-man fronts against the run; not to mention the problems it creates in the passing game. In addition, with these bigger tight ends, once you put these guys in motion and split them out wide it will inevitably create matchup problems against the opposing teams secondary.
Why didn't Dallas do this with the future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and the 6'6" Martellus Bennett? Dallas used Marty B primarily as a blocking tight end, but after watching his first three games this year it is clear he can catch, run routes, AND block. What were they doing making him stay home to block?!
Did Bennett become dispensable because of the supposed "bond" between Jason Witten and Tony Romo? Terrell Owens whined about their relationship and the hurt it put on his stat sheet. Then Martellus Bennett was released and he proclaimed much of the same thing stating that Tony Romo seemingly played favorites. Bennett eluded to the fact that Eli Manning looks for the open guy despite who you are or what your number is; thereby, essentially saying that Romo didn't throw him the ball because he doesn't wear #82.
This is where solid coaching comes into play. It seems like the coaches and owner are stuck on the guys they pay big money to and they seem to forget about the other lesser paid guys on the roster. I don't care how much you get paid, if you are on the roster you have a role in helping the team. Let the players have a chance to help. There is 11 guys on the field - USE ALL OF THEM!
The Cowboys just got their head handed to them in Seattle week 2 and coaches and players are pointing to lack of focus, lack of mental toughness, and lack of physicality. These things can all be attributed to lack of coaching. We are talking about professional athletes here. These guys eat, breathe, and sleep football but when it comes game time they puke all over themselves and cite lack of focus, lack of mental toughness, and lack of physicality? Really?!
Why isn't the coaching staff preparing them better? Why has the culture in Dallas been "flying high and mighty" one week; only to not show up to play the game the following week? This is not an anomaly but a trend within the franchise. They can seemingly sign stud players, but if the guys calling the shots don't know what to do with that talent then what good is that talent on this level? You can go out and buy a Ferrari GTO with a manual transmission, but if you don't know how to drive a stick then what good is that car? Truth is, it only looks pretty but has no real function.
The Cowboys had Martellus Bennett - a former two sport athlete in college - whom they spent a 2nd round draft pick on and they primarily used him as a blocking tight end? SERIOUSLY? Do these coaches Glenlivet on the job? The same guy goes to a division rival and after three weeks he already has 3 TDs on his stat sheet and is tied for 5th in the league in receptions. Oddly enough, Jason Witten has more drops - FOUR - then Bennett has touchdowns - THREE! That's both disappointing and embarrassing.
It comes down to coaches and general managers knowing how to put together a roster, and more so, knowing how to get the best out of each player each and every week. Do you think Jason Garrett would have gone on the road to play an NFC team on a short week with a depleted offensive roster only to win 36-7 much like Tom Coughlin just did? NO WAY!
Jason Garrett can’t even go on the road complete with a full offensive arsenal and win a game while coming off a HUGE win the week before AND 10 days rest.
The fans, media, and arm-chair QBs alike all want to put the blame on Tony Romo. They want to put the blame on lack of mental focus. They want to blame lack of physicality. No, no, no! The blame falls on poor preparation and poor game planning.
The inability to keep your team focused falls squarely on the coach and his counterparts who traverse the sidelines with him every Sunday.
You can’t question the talent that has been on this roster over the last decade. You can’t deny that each offseason for at least the last 3-4 years prognosticators all clamor and profess their love of the Cowboys and the potential the team has for the upcoming season. These things seem to be a constant. The other constant is the fact that for the last 3-4 years the Cowboys fall short of the ultimate goal and high expectations.
Truth be told, the Cowboys are mediocre and it’s not due to lack of talent, but lack of knowing what to do with that talent. They will continue to be mediocre until we get a game changing type coach on the sideline and a GM who can keep his butt in the box and his pen to the signature line on the paychecks each week.
For now the Dallas Cowboys are a Ferrari GTO, but the person behind the wheel is a 90 year old blind grandmother who hasn't driven a car in over 25 years. Until we put a 25 year old high end executive behind the wheel with experience driving a manual transmission the Ferrari GTO will only look pretty sitting in the driveway and the rubber will never meet the road.