The title explains what I have been doing the past 3 weeks. Dallas hasn't been healthy this entire year, yet they have been competitive in every game. Honestly, for the way the backups have stepped in and produced for the most part has been promising. Being 5-4 and atop the NFC East is something many of us fans will take it. Riding a high with the comeback victory 4th quarter drive by Romo, Monte Kiffin having the D forcing turnovers and giving up less points than Rob Ryan did at this point last season, and we have Demarcus Ware coming back, I am all about drinking the Cowboys being contenders Koolaid.
Monte Kiffin's bend but don't break Tampa 2 defense has had its moments this season. They give up the 5-6 yard routes, then swarm the ball and try to force turnovers. T-2nd in takeaways this season has been very crucial in Dallas being 5-4 instead of a potential 4-5 or even 3-6 season. Coming into Sunday Nights game, the DLine has been banged up as we are well aware. The projected starting 4 coming into this season was supposed to be Demarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, and Anthony Spencer. With Spencer on IR, Ratliff cut from the team (Good riddance), and Ware/Hatcher being in and out of the lineup each week, and playing unhealthy isn't helping. The lack of depth at these position has been the poison of this defense as well. With Bass and Crawford on IR since camp there hasn't been that staple in the middle of the D. Selvie has emerged as our best answer, but he cannot be the only backup worthy of NFL playtime. The lack of consistency at LB has been rough all season. Bruce Carter not being as good at coverage as he showed signs of, Durant not being able to read a QB, nor having Ernie sims on the field helps. Sean Lee is the leader of this defense and quite honestly the team. He has been one of the few bright spots this season. DB's have had a tough time adjusting to the new scheme of zone, but are still physical which if for nothing else is always nice to see a nice hit. Wilcox if healthy is becoming a solid safety that we can mold, and Church is putting up pro bowl type numbers and is potentially the best DB this season.
All that said last night was my final straw with Monte Kiffin. He didn't design enough blitz packages to get pressure on Brees. The lack of ability to stop the run was sad. Mark Ingram has been on the bench for a reason and he runs for over 100. All three of their backs had massive running lanes, easy cuts, and hardly had to pass block. The team looked deflated in the 3rd quarter, and gave up in the 4th. Demarcus was the only one grinding until his body shut down on him. I am aware that Lee and Carter going down doesnt help at all, but Holloman is a promising young talent, and you practice as if you are going in the very next play no matter what. Kiffin was out coached because talent wise we were close to them, Jimmy Graham wasn't 100% but neither was Ware and we missed Claiborne. Injuries can be a factor in how you play coverage, but there is a point where the system was unsuccessful from the starting gate. I think Rod Marinelli could at least save face with this season if he took over the reigns.
Need to move forward from this, because I am not going to be very critical because injuries were a major factor in the loss. I don't like to make excuses but when you have a league leading number of defensive lineman to have played for you thats not a statistic to brag about. Also losing two of your defensive captains and one of your most athletic LB's isn't helping either. Monte needs to go as we saw last night that Rob Ryan may not have been given enough credit. Also Jason Garrett needs to learn how to hold his players accountable. Penalties to start the game were crucial on the opening drives. We were running the ball at will but had to throw due to long 3rd downs. There was no emotion from the team in the second half. People criticize Dez for complaining, but I would be mad if my defense was that horrific. The offense couldn't carry over any continuity from the first half into the second half. Those long 3rd downs were the factor of the low scoring. Not being able to convert due to lack of effort and penalties is sad.
Thank God for bye weeks to get some healthy rest which will be much needed. The attitude needs to be adjusted, and needs to happen fast. Having a big rivalry game and 2 weeks to prep should be the perfect medicine to heal all the wounds and bleeding gaps that are holding us back from being a winning team. Need to be pissed off about this loss and the Detroit loss and need to come out with bad intentions. The team needs to play clean, fundamentally sound football to be successful. We have the talent to be a good playoff team, so nothing fancy just need to run the ball and then air it out against smart matchups. As for defense keep the ball in front of you and be physical. I am still on the 9-7 bandwagon and it starts with the Gmen! This coming from a bro from New Jersey, I would love to see them embarrass the giants. As for drinking the koolaid I will always believe, but won't have that false sense of confidence until proven otherwise.