Around the BTB offices it is, as you would expect, "All Cowboys, All The Time - 24/7". If we are not writing about the team, then we are chatting amongst ourselves. Hey, it's what we do. Sometimes we drink the koolaid, sometimes we don't, as shown by where our "biggest surprise" conversation went after we settled back in at our desks. It did not take long for someone to turn the debate 180 degrees and ask "So what is the biggest letdown of the season?" Like everything else, we all have a different take on the issue and it led to an interesting discussion.
Joey: My biggest disappointment is how much Ernie Sims is playing. I know Bruce Carter had a rough game against San Diego, but he is CLEARLY a better player than Sims, and should not come off the field unless the team is in a Dime look. Throughout camp we heard about how well he (Sims) was playing prior to his injury. But every time I see him on the field in game action, he's hurting the team.
OCC: Yeah, I have no clue what the team sees in Sims. I'm completely baffled how the guy is even playing in the NFL.
Dawn: I expected better of Ernie this season. His efforts last season, plus the early returns out of training camp really had me pulling for the guy to make the final roster. He had his best seasons as a pro when he played for Rod Marinelli in Detroit, and I figured that we would see some flashes of the talent that made him a first round draft pick in 2006. So far that has been wishful thinking, and I don't see it changing.
Joey: Most of the time it's his hyper-aggressive style that gets him in trouble. Whether he's biting too hard on a play fake, and abandoning his underneath zone, leaving Brandon Carr & the rest of the DBs exposed to an 87-yard slant by Calvin Johnson, or trying to run up inside and make a big play and getting caught in the traffic while the RB bounces the ball outside, he is out of position too often. He was single-handedly responsible for 81 being so open on the first big play... He ran up like a puppy chasing a Frisbee, and Stafford threw it right to his spot.
Dave: That leads us right into what has frustrated me the most. My biggest disappointment continues to be the Cowboys pass defense. It seems insane that when you have three competent corners like Carr, Scandrick and Claiborne, with two quick and talented linebackers like Lee and Carter, that you continue to be ripped apart by opposing offenses. Maybe it really is true that 90% of pass coverage is a good pass rush.
Dawn: That is a good point, Dave. At this level, DB's can only cover for so long before a receiver breaks free. Compound that with the fact that, in the NFL, most of the quarterbacks can hit their target in one-on-one coverage and it becomes clear that a good pass rush is necessary to having a top flight pass defense. My biggest frustration is knowing what could have been. Jerry might have caught some flak over his boast about the defensive line, but I was really excited to see a healthy DWare, a dedicated pass-rushing Anthony Spencer and a rejuvenated Jay Ratliff along the Cowboys defensive front. Add in Jason Hatcher and you have a line that can more than hold its own with anyone in the league. Sadly, we will never know what might have been; the football gods are a fickle bunch.
Tom: Not to say that the defense is not a major cause for concern, but if the Cowboys were putting some points on the board, their record would look pretty good right now. There have been a lot of close losses. My biggest disappointment is how lackluster, even bad, Tony Romo has been in many games. He had an incredible performance against Denver, but has seemed really off since then. The team desperately needs him to find his mojo again.
I wonder if there is some nagging issue, or even if he has just lost his nerve somehow?
Dawn: Could be. You're right; Dallas has the arsenal to be explosive, but so far the offense has been something of a dud. We have witnessed Terrance Williams emerge and the down roster guys stepping up, but sometimes it seems to me that the old reliable weapons are not coming through for Dallas like they used to.