I am still pretty heartbroken from that Packers loss. I've never done something like this before, but that unacceptable humiliation has made me. Here are just some of my thoughts, either from the game or the season as a whole.
-Jason Garrett: I really went from backing Jason Garrett, to not being his fan, to just barely putting up with him and I have finally reached a breaking point: I hate Jason Garrett. He needs to be replaced. While Jerry Jones is the issue with this team, that's a useless complain; Jones won't fire himself. It's at least a consolation prize to get rid of his horrible head coach. Garrett has had blunders that have cost this team (Arizona time management 2011, Ravens 2012, Packers 2013) and his biggest issue is the mentality he instills in his team. Yes, Landry had a similar approach. Yes, Landry struggled in his first few seasons before putting on a sports record 20 winning seasons in a row. But as Dallas has learned this year with Monte Kiffin (more on the defense later) this old coaching style has been outdated, for a while now. Some teams may be able to make it work, but the newer coaching is making its mark on the NFL. And that includes mental toughness. This team doesn't have that swagger that is needed to be a contender. They don't intimidate anyone. And when games matter, and its the end of the season where a team just needs to bite their tongue, shut their eyes and suck it up to win some hard games, they fail. They simply don't have a killer instinct. If they did, they would have denied Detroit the comeback in 2011. Stamped their foot and say hey we have a big lead here and were gonna freakin finish it. Then in Detroits home stadium this year. Up by 10, Dallas just has to develop execution style football and not become limp and let the game fall out of their hands. And of course, the latest debacle. Up by 23. this team has to have that mentality to not let the Packers take control. This team doesn't have the winning personality, the tenaciousness, the hardheaded will to win. And that starts with Jason Garrett.
-Tony Romo: I just want to state my opinion on Romo. I love him. This game was not his fault, and he is not a choker. Those who really read deep into Romo (like me) know that he has the highest fourth quarter rating since 1990, has a very low turnover ratio in the last 7 minutes of a game with a score differential of 0-8, and has proven time and time again that he can win close games. But, being the Cowboys quarterback, everything is blasted out of proportion. Did you know that Tom Brady threw a pick in the endzone earlier that day against the Dolphins with 2 seconds left to lose the game? Did anyone make a big deal of that? Oh and did anyone make a big deal of it when the same Brady threw a pick on the final drive of the game against the Bengals? Not familiar to you? How about when Peyton Manning threw an interception in the final quarter of the game against the Patriots and their comeback? Already forgotten Mannings big mistake by throwing is right into the hands of the Ravens defense in the AFC divisional round playoffs last year? No one makes a big deal of these stories, and that's cause those QB's aren't Tony Romo. Romo is a very clutch quarterback. If you don't believe that, read up on it. Right here at BTB, we've got some quality articles and fanposts that will explain to you why Romo is a clutch quarterback underneath who doesn't get his due when he wins games, and gets ripped on when he loses. It's unfair. Oh and, I don't blame Romo for this game in the slightest. The defense had one job: Don't allow more than 32 points to a backup QB in one half. Do that, and we'll win. The fact that the defense allowed 34 in a miserable showing to a BACKUP at that makes the fact that Romo was even throwing the ball ridiculous. It is the defenses fault for putting the offense in that position (and Bill Callahans) but not Romo's. Yes, he killed Dallas at the end but it wasn't supposed to come down to that anyway.
-Hey guys, we have this running back named DeMarco Murray. He was having a great game and could have won it for us if we fed it to him, but somehow he only got 7 touches in the second half with Dallas protecting a 23 points lead. Hmm.
-What the hell.
-Bill Callahan: You have got to be kidding me. What was Bill Callahan doing? He is in no position to be getting his quarterback to pass so much with such a huge lead. Bill Callahan's play calling simply sucked. Yes, Romo checked out of runs a couple times but even if he did, Murray should have closed the game before that happened. Murray should have gotten at least 15 touches in the second half. He was tearing that defense up, Dallas could have ridden him the entire second half to drain the clock and earn a victory. Callahan literally refused to use what was working and in a way chose to lose this game for Dallas. If Jason Garrett earns the blame for the past two and a half years, Callahan has to split the blame with the defense for this game. He needs to be fired immediately. I'll go ahead and apply for offensive coordinator myself.
-Defense: I know. Injuries again. Lee was out Durant was out, Sims was out, Carter was out, Spencer was out, Claiborne was out. But even a defense entirely of second stringers has to do better than allowing 34 points in one half. Against a backup QB at that. What happened to them? I was extremely excited for Monte Kiffin, but good Lord he has failed miserably. Yes his defense was banged up badly, but he's got to do a better job than that when he's still got Jason Hatcher, Brandon Carr and Barry Church on the field. Awful performance. Don't tell me Romo choked away this game. Tell me the teams refusal to run and Kiffin choked away this game.
-DeMarcus Ware: There's a reason I didn't list Ware along with the 3 other defenders in the previous point. Ware recorded one tackle and one pressure in this game. The truth is, we can't expect a change these next two weeks from Ware. He had a great career, but he's nearing the end. He no longer is that game changer from 09. He is serviceable, and I guess we just didn't realize Ware's career fly by while Dallas continued to waste it by not making it worthwhile. Unfortunately, this star has faded.
-Dez Bryant: Leaving the field was wrong. That's true. He really should have stuck with his teammates. However, if this mistake has any silver lining, its the fact that this guy is truly committed. He wants to win, and he wants Dallas to win. We all know he grew up a Cowboys fan and he has a great relationship with Tony Romo. The fact that this loss meant so much to him that he had to go and cry since they lost tells me he is intense, he cares about this club, and he is all in. We need more guys with Bryants sort of passion. I really only see Romo, Bryant, Witten, Lee, and to an extent, Bailey as the true believers on this team who give it everything they've got to win. Not sure about the rest of this team, or how much they even believe in Dallas anymore.
-Free agency: relating to the last point, do the players in Dallas want to be in Dallas anymore? It's obvious that being a pro athlete comes with some glitz and glam but is the spotlight in Dallas too big? Is the pressure cooker too intense? Dallas gets scrutinized like no other professional team. Dez Bryants sideline outburst is a great example. Thats something that happens a lot. But Bryant was singled out. And it turns out that analysts were wrong about what he was saying anyway! I would hate to see some of our best players leave this team for steadier waters, but in all honesty, I couldn't blame them.
-Backups: Dallas has faced 3 backup QBS in a row. They're 1-2 over that span and have been grilled the past two weeks. Now they've got kirk cousins coming up,and they need to handle him. They're play against backups has been atrocious. Unacceptable. What will this defense do if they make it to playoffs and are pitted against the Saints?? Oh yeah we know...
-Most importantly guys, this loss doesn't devastate the season. Philadelphia was supposed to beat Minnesota, Dallas was supposed to beat Green Bay. Its a pretty equal payoff when they both lose again. Dallas simply needs to focus on beating a 3-11 Redskins team submerged in internal chaos right now, and it will set up a week 17 showdown for the crown. And Dallas will have homefield advantage as well. I know Dallas missed a big opportunity, but too many people seem to be writing the Cowboys off, failing to recognize that the situation would be no different if the weekend had played out as expected with Philly and Dallas both winning. Now it's just one game. Dallas needs to beat Washington to set up that crucial showdown. Let's hope Dallas recovers quick, brings passion to these final two games, and makes a return to the postseason.