"I didn’t expect this. I didn’t see this coming," Jerry Jones said yesterday, when asked whether he was surprised by the result of Sunday’s game.
Every week, we review the picks made by various football experts and pick ‘em panels for the upcoming Cowboys game. On Friday, the tally was 67-3 in favor of the Saints.
The only time our panel was more lopsided was the previous week, when the Cowboys were 71-0 favorites to win against the Vikings.
The fact that the heavily favored Cowboys eked out a 27-24 win against the Vikings should have sounded all sorts of alarm bells - if for some bizarre reason those alarm bells had stopped ringing after the Detroit game - and no way, no how should anybody have been surprised at the outcome of Sunday’s game.
Disappointed, sure. Surprised, no.
The Cowboys are 5-5, and that is not an accident. The Cowboys are an average team, and have been for quite a while. Everybody knows it, except the Cowboys themselves and perhaps some of their most ardent fans.
In 2010, when the Cowboys finished 6-10 after starting 1-7, Coach Wade Phillips was used as a convenient scapegoat for a disastrous season. Since then, the Cowboys have had two successive 8-8 seasons, and now find themselves at 5-5 once again. Who’ll be the scapegoat this year?
Right now, it’s looking like Monte Kiffin, at least that’s the general direction Jerry Jones pointed a finger when he admitted that his decision to fire Rob Ryan and hire Kiffin is now open to criticism.
"We thought it was best for us to go in the direction we are, and it doesn’t look good right now," Jones said. "Hopefully we can make it look good, but I have all the feelings you have any time you look back at a decision, and I realize when some of them work you have to have a few things go along with it."
But it’s going to take more than a new defensive coordinator to fix the mess the Cowboys are in. Sure, the Cowboys still sit atop the NFC East. And yes, they now have a bye week to get healthier and prepare for the next game in New York. But unless the Cowboys suddenly find their groove on both offense and defense, this season is going to be yet another ugly season.
And please, spare me all the talk about how talented this roster is, or how a roster with this much talent should have produced better results. Stop it right now. The talent on this team got us to 26-26 over the last 52 games. The freaking New York Jets have a better record than we do this year. The Jets!
"You are what your record says you are." How often in the last 24 hours have you read or heard somebody use that quote from Bill Parcells?
The Cowboys’ record says they are and have been an average team, and they look like they are headed for a third straight 8-8 season. Do you know when the Cowboys last had three straight seasons with the same record?
In the three years before Bill Parcells took over the Cowboys: From 2000-2002, Dave Campo led the Cowboys to three successive 5-11 finishes. You could of course argue that both the record and the circumstances were very different under Campo than they are today under Garrett, and you would be right, but the results could easily end up being the same: three seasons without a winning record and no playoffs.
If that were to happen, and if we were to follow the Campo analogy to its logical conclusion, who could be next season's version of Bill Parcells?