A friend and coworker of mine is the head blogger over at Buffalo Rumblings. I live in Bills country. This time of year here is odd. There is all of the merriment of the holiday season, mixed with the gloom that always hangs over WNY by this time. Another Bills season down the tubes.
Over coffee this morning, I told another friend that I believe the Cowboys season has been far worse than the Bills'.
The Cowboys have more talent, had more expectations. Further, many of the Cowboys losses should have been wins.
After that conversation I realized this season has changed me in a fundamental way regarding sports.
Up until now, I figured the team with the best players (and on the right side of luck) was the team that won. I really didn't put much stock in "coaching" as a reason that teams won or lost. Phil Jackson didn't win in the 90s, Jordan did. Jimmy Johnson didn't win super bowls, the triplets did.
At the end (presumably) of this terrible season, I have changed my mind. I've learned. It's the only excuse I have left.
Now, don't get me wrong. The defense is bad. but is the talent really that lacking? Obviously injuries have had a major impact, but they do on a lot of teams, including the Packers.
So I look at the defense. Brandon Carr. Mo Claiborne. Orlando Scandrick. JJ Wilcox. DeMarcus Ware. Jason Hatcher. Sean Lee. Bruce Carter. These are good players. Maybe not the best at their positions, but they are solid players. Mo is still learning. I'm still hopeful for him. Guys have missed time. But should a defense with those guys be this bad? Historically bad? And who else is sick of hearing people say/type "historically bad?"
Then I look at the offense.
Tony Romo. Love him or hate him, you can't argue that the guy can play football. How many of those end of game INTs wouldn't have matter or happened if we had made a stop or two? Packers game for sure. Broncos pops into my head also. Point is, he's not elite, but he is better than average. Ask any bills, raiders, jaguars, texans, jets, browns, or vikings fan.
DeMarco Murray is a good back. We've seen what he can do in the last few weeks.
Miles Austin has overstayed his welcome, but still, our receiving core is above average as well. An all-world tight end. One of the better young WRs in the game, a chain mover in Beasly, and tWill, who I think has a great career ahead of him.
The line is not great. Maybe even slightly below average now with Waters out. But, it is nowhere near as bad as we've seen in the past two seasons. And I can't remember a lot of games this year where i've come out saying "ROMO HAD NO TIME!"
So what's left? Coaching.
Whose job is it to keep egos in check? Whose job is it to make sure that, with a big lead at halftime, players keep their heads in the game?
Whose job is it to realize in the first few games that the zone defense isn't the strength of our players, and let them play man?
And for the love of everything holy, whose friggin job is it to make sure we run the ball with a double digit lead and a 7.1 YPA for the game?
And don't give me Romo audible out of it. Did he audible out of it 20 times in the second half?
Clock management is the coaches job.
Also, I have to give some of the Hamstring blame to the coaches too. If the players are doing something wrong, it's the coaches job to figure it out and stop it. There is no way 10 hamstring injuries is a coincidence.
So, as much as I don't want to suffer through rebuilding, I think it's time to blow this thing up. The coaching staff that is. We need to keep as many of your young players as possible. It's a shame, because as a few of us on BtB have mentioned, the prime years for many of our starters are being squandered and have been for the past few years. And revamping the entire coaching staff is going to basically guarantee the Witten, Romo, Ware, and Hatcher will not get a ring. And that's possibly the most depressing part of the whole mess.
One final note. While this article was meant to blame the coaches, i can't let it end with this one other thing. Another thing that could have helped a lot of the points above is toughness. I feel like real tough guys don't need coaches as much. guys that have so much heart, they play beyond themselves. And sadly, outside of Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, and Jason hatcher, I don't feel like we have any tough guys left. Guys that would open a vein for this team to win. Especailly on the defensive side of the ball.