It's been discussed and analyzed more than the Zapruder Film. What was Dez Bryant doing on the sidelines during a few particularly animated moments in Sunday's game? You can read all about it at just about any sports site that covers the NFL. It's all anyone seemingly wanted to discuss after the game. Even my own mother, a very casual watcher of football, wanted to know about it.
Fine. Let me address it briefly, then look at the real issue. Was it the best thing for Dez to be doing? No, the same information could have been dispensed to Tony Romo and Co. in a less-impassioned way, that's the way it's usually done by players. Now, was it a catastrophe? No, in fact it's debatable if it was actually any kind of negative in the game. Is it on the list of "100 Reasons Why The Cowboys Totally Collapsed And Lost Even Though They Had No Business Leading The Game That Late In The First Place"? Nope, not on that list. I will stipulate this one thing, if the Dez outburst starts becoming a regular thing, then you'll have issues. Otherwise, I've seen hundreds of sideline blowups in the NFL, 95% of the time they amount to a big, fat zero.
That's my opinion of course, you probably have your own.
But one thing is for certain, all that attention to Dez Bryant has obscured what really needs to be talked about. And that's issues. The Cowboys currently have many.
When a team makes as many mistakes as Dallas did down the stretch of a game, all because of bad game management and poor execution in situation awareness, then the head coach needs to take a little heat. Jason Garrett, your team has to know they can fair catch a kickoff instead of wasting precious seconds running to the sideline. Tony Romo should have been told to take a sack if needed instead of throwing out of bounds on the Cowboys second-to-last offensive possession (besides the final one-play possession). They need to be told not to freelance on running plays at the end of a game especially when you're just trying to run clock. They need to know absolutely no penalties in that same situation. Dallas seemed wholly unprepared when the stress of the end came, that's on Garrett.
And what's going on with Tony Romo? His command of the offense has been trending downward and Sunday was a very poor day with his accuracy (and some decision-making). Is he just going through a bad spell? Were the Lions heavy hits on him early in the game affecting him? Is he being used incorrectly by the offensive coordinator? Nobody has the definitive answer, but until Romo gets going again this team is in trouble of being super-mediocre once again.
Monte Kiffin's defense can't contend with a decent quarterback. They give up huge plays on a consistent basis. They are racked with injury, but they still should be better than historically bad against good teams. If they could play halfway decent when facing decent quarterbacks, this team would be contending instead of treading water.
How much of this can we lay at the feet of Bill Callahan? The Cowboys have a ton of weapons at receiver and tight end, and the offensive line has actually been playing well this year. Why do we have games against bad defenses where we struggle to score points? How do we explode one week then look dormant the next?
Is the Brian Waters' injury going to blow up the line? Why does our running game have such issues? Can DeMarcus Ware come back from injury and re-invigorate the defensive line?
Now I know why everybody was talking about Dez. It's because that situation has easy answers, you get your opinion and you just know it's right. Answering what is really wrong with the Cowboys is a much harder proposition. Still, they're in first place in the NFC East, so it can't be all bad.