Consistency, that's what the Cowboys have shown this season. Inconsistency on O and Drop-Dead D. And coming on to this game, I kept seeing demonstrations of confidence on the team in this blog. I'm a glass half-full kind of guy, so being a Grinch hasn't ever been my forte, but I couldn't help but wonder why? What makes you think that the Cowboys can find their D when they have failed to do so almost all season long? And consistency on O? The only thing in which they have shown consistency is in making collective efforts to cripple drives.
Ever since the Saints game, I've had my expectations set at low, and this game still got to me. Why? Because at the very least I was expecting to see fight in the players.
And I saw no passion at all.
That's what got to me, another failure in a season in which I've seen so many of them.
Back 7s have a purpose.
I keep reading and hearing about all the injuries along the DLine and how it makes it hard on Kiffin and his schemes. But I can't help but see that all of the completions don't come from 5 or longer step drops. When the QB takes less steps to throw the ball it's extremely difficult to get to the QB. Ware knows this, when he was in his prime many of his career pressures come from situations just like this, 2 and 3 step drops from the QB.
What's the vaunted Cover-2?
We've heard about deep coverage in halves from both Safeties, but it's more than that. The deep halves are actually the glaring weakness of the scheme, right in the deep middle, because it's a muddy zone where responsabilities from one Safety go to the other.
What about short throws? Underneath coverage is supposed to be a strength, with deep support by the Safeties, CBs aren't supposed to let the Receivers get in front of them to receive quick slants, or squares, or quicks, or curls. They are also supposed to jam, quick tosses are all about timing and physicality at the Line breaks it all up.
What have we seen?
- It's a Defense that gives cushions because it doesn't trust that it's Safeties are going to keep stuff in front of them.
- It's a Defense that doesn't adjust when teams exploit those cushions.
- It's a Defense that doesn't understand Zones.
- And a Defense that can't read the QB eyes to save their lives.
Sure, all the injuries along the DLine don't make things easy on the Back-7, but after seeing many snaps of what's headed to become one of the League's worst Defenses of All-Time, you know that the DLine is an excuse in a lot of those allowed plays.
They should be embarrassed.
This is me with a plan, Rod Marinelli is known for giving players messages, so, this is what I would do if it were up to me. If after this game effort, some of the players aren't embarrased, I would make sure that they get to.
How? Remember Tiki Barber and how Coughlin forced him to carry a Football everywhere he went in risk of getting fined if he was seen without it? And that included unscheduled visits to his house, just to see if he was complying...
So, I would give defenders this 2 items to take to their homes and bring with them:
If that doesn't embarrass some of them, I wouldn't want them on the team in the future. But I don't think that this Front Office and Coaches are capable of doing something like this, in the end the Head Coach is a motivator, not a discipline kind of guy.
Can we afford higher expectations that basement low?
Looking at the games that the Cowboys have won, I can't help but see a few things, the things for which the Cowboys are known for on O, most of those teams did it better. Collective efforts to cripple drives.
QB's missing open receivers? Check.
Receivers dropping perfectly catchable passes? Check.
OLine missing pass protection reads? Check.
Fumbles and interceptions? Both checks.
Do I think that this team can clean the table and head to the Playoffs? Yes, I think that they are capable of limiting their mistakes on O and see that the opposing O made more. Do I look up for it? No, I don't. Seeing them in the Playoffs and facing Carolina or San Francisco or Detroit isn't exactly a dream scenario, it's more of a nightmare one.
Is it preferable to see the Eagles losing in the Playoffs than our team being completely humbled by a better team? I'm not sure and that's sad.
Blowing it all up after the season and hiring another guy with Cowboys ties in the past?
Even if they clean the table and head to the Playoffs I expect this to happen. If it doesn't, I'm going to keep my level of expectations at basement low for next season and that would be seriously sad. It's too darn long of a time.
So, which are the candidates? I can't help but look at one of them and look at his past with the team, and I can't help but continue to be amazed by some of the things that he did... He had some really solid Defenses and his roster wasn't all that to write home about. Sure, Dexter Coakley and Dat Nguyen were good. Greg Ellis was respectable. We've been missing good Safety level of play since Darren Woodson had to retire. But compare the rest of his rosters to current players in the Cowboys and you can't help but wonder...
Glaring example: Brandon Carr - Mario Edwards.
Yes, I'm talking about Mike Zimmer.
If it's a wrong time to think about a guy with past ties to the Cowboys for the Head Coaching position because there's an obvious red headed guy in the position right now, I understand. But I can't help but wonder what if....