This glass of Kool-Aid isn’t going down as well as I thought it would.
Romo is being hung out for hits like a piñata and the receiver-QB connection looks like something out of my flag-football days. I won’t even go into the running game . . . or do we even have one anymore? I forget. Sure, the defense is holding stout, but seldom is the defense expected to win games by putting points on the board. So wherein lies the problem? I’ve heard a lot of possibles--from fans, players, and coaching staff, ranging from just plain “poor execution” to Doug Free, Doug Free, and Doug Free. But I don’t think it’s necessary to go all analytical on this one. Having served in the Navy for nearly a decade, I firmly ascribe to the old “accountability of rank” premise. And from how I’ve heard him speak in nearly every press conference, Jason Garrett does too.
So, let’s get right to the bashing, shall we?
Excuse # 1: The offensive line, with the exception of Smith, is lacking in skill level.
Retort: I’m not that familiar with salary cap issues (clarification welcome in comments), but it seems to me that had the front office and coaching staff put a higher off-season priority (read $$$) on front line talent versus defensive busts like Conner, Poole, and Spears, problem lessened if not eliminated. And Orton was surely a great bet . . . but only when playing the “Romo will likely get injured because of a lousy front 5” card. In my playbook, it lands entirely on the coach’s shoulders. He must be the one to take the reins and steer the front office and scouts regarding position needs. Garrett is coach and as coach he must establish his authority in this arena, even among those who pay his salary. Considering the amount of punishment Romo took last year, getting a decent, experienced line this off season should have been a no-brainer.
Excuse # 2: The offensive line is still trying to come together as a cohesive unit.
Retort: After three weeks of experienced NFL veterans working together, this is no longer a valid excuse, and although the line coaches can be faulted, final accountability falls on the Head Coach’s shoulders. If Free or Dockery are missing assignments and failing to open running lanes, then they need to be motivated and coached. If the players are messing up the snap count, they need to be coached. And the person(s) responsible for motivating and coaching them on proper execution? HC—JG
Excuse # 3: Offensive strategy is too predictable.
Retort: Responsibility—Offensive coordinator, Accountability—Head coach.
Not surprised they are one in the same.
Excuse # 4: Witten
Retort: What the hell is Witten doing playing while recovering from a lacerated spleen in the first place? I understand the New York inspiration thing, but he should have been very limited there, and then benched for two or three weeks to heal properly. Phillips and Hanna have proven themselves more than capable of filling in. If the argument is that Witten hasn’t gotten enough practice (this from Garrett himself), then why oh why did Garrett opt to play him, and for almost every snap?! Accountability/responsibility: Coach.
Excuse # 5: Poor execution by skill players, not on the same page.
Retort: Offensive coordinator, Head coach.
Excuse # 6: Doug Free
Retort: He played well in 2009-2010, so it’s not for lack of talent. Coach him.
Fate and Bad Luck don’t fly as excuses, and there must be accountability for grid-iron performance. And while the penalties and mental errors and missed assignments are certainly correctable, they are not endemic to the start of just this season. That’s troubling. But what I find most troubling is an apparent lack of fire or inspiration from the sideline (with the exception of one animated, passionate defensive coordinator of course).
Wade Phillips was the quiet type, who preferred letting players step up and inspire their teammates. It didn’t work. I don’t see it working under Garrett either.
Of course, I agree that week one’s performance shows what this crew is capable of, so I’m not putting down my glass just yet. And I like Garett’s philosophy of attention to detail and game-to-game focus. But he clearly needs time to step up and fill his Head Coaching shoes. I’m willing to give him time and the benefit of doubt for now. But not too much time, and there is most definitely doubt.