Over the next week or so, I'll be doing a lot of review on the season gone past and the roster spots that need help, plus I'll be keeping a watch on the Tuna decision. Then it will be on to free agency and the draft, and ultimately the return to training camp. All of that might seem a million miles away at the moment, but after a few days of mourning everyone will be transitioning to offseason mode, where the speculation and the rumors run wild.
But before I get there, let me clean up a few things that I felt happened in the Seattle game.
To some extent we got a bum deal with the referees. They were calling a lot of touch fouls on our secondary extending some of the Seattle drives. They were borderline calls, and sometimes that stuff will go against you, but how about some reciprocity. I watched two different plays where the Seattle offensive line had blatant holding calls that weren't called. But the big call was the reversal of Jason Witten's first down. When I first watched the play, I thought we got a generous spot and that Witten was not past the first down marker. In the NFL, the burden of proof is absolute to overturn a call; you have to have conclusive proof to make a reversal. I submit that there is no way from the replays that you could definitively say where the ball was when forward progress was stopped. Even though I think everyone kind of knew that the spot was too generous, there was no conclusive proof from the angle of the replays. The call should not have been overturned based on the letter of the law.
As for the pass play to Terry Glenn that he fumbled for a safety, I'm not that bothered by the play call. Believe it or not, during the commercial break I actually thought to myself if they try to jam the middle and they play their corners off the WR's, a safe little hitch pattern would work well. And it did, except for Glenn's uncharacteristic mistake. If he handles that ball cleanly and doesn't slip trying to run, he probably gets five yards which we desperately needed. On the other hand, running a QB sneak to pick up a yard or two and give them a little breathing room would also have been a good call. I'm not going to fault the coaches or Romo if he indeed did use an audible call on the play; it was simply a case of Glenn not executing.
Now where I will get on Parcells is the 3rd and half-a-yard call early in the 4th quarter. Why Parcells refuses to run a QB sneak in these situations is beyond ridiculous. Watch the replay and see how easy it would've been for Romo to fall forward on Kosier's side. I thought he would've learned his lesson from the many times we've blown short-yardage runs even with MB3 in the game over the season. This is just flat-out stubbornness on Parcells part and hurts the team.
Roy Williams is a subject of much debate after this game. Let me say that we are not going to trade him. Forget about that, it's not going to happen. But the Cowboys have to realize his limitations in coverage and work to hide it next year. Personally, on the nickel I would put Roy in Bradie James' position and move a true cover safety into his spot. It's not like Bradie can cover anyway. Otherwise, they'll just have to live with the blown coverages, or start playing a lot of Cover 1.
As for Terrell Owens, he has to come back or we have to replace him with another big-time WR. Terry Glenn is getting older and is always an injury risk and none of the other WR's are ready to assume the role of a #1 WR if Glenn was hurt. So either Owens comes back - I do believe he has slipped a little in his ability, but he's still pretty good - or they bring in some free agent talent. Of course, the best scenario would be to trade up and get Calvin Johnson, but that's unlikely.
The question of Parcells coming back is one I have no idea about. I guess I want him to come back, I like the idea of having some continuity and not having to retool a team to fit a new coaches' philosophy, especially if we are changing from the 3-4 defense with a new coach. If you bring in a new coaching staff, the odds of winning next year are a little longer. It's not always the case, but it usually takes a new staff a year or so to get the players they want that fit their system. Normally, this wouldn't even be an issue for me because I would want Parcells back just because I think he's the best coach we could get. But after the collapse of the last month, and losing that playoff game in the way we did, maybe it's just destiny that it's not going to work out for Parcells and the Cowboys.
But before you're ready to boot him out the door, please have a list of possible candidates available to replace him. You might not find that much of an improvement. If Parcells does come back, he needs some new assistants. Mike Zimmer did an admirable job running the 4-3 defense here, but he's just not a 3-4 coach. He doesn't have the experience and creativity in the system needed to get the full effect of running it. I'd have to say that his contract just needs to expire, and the Cowboys need to go after a defensive coordinator with a long and successful track record running the 3-4 defense.
Finally, Romo, who I believe will be the Cowboys starting QB come next season and that he will go into the offseason as the #1. Now, over the summer, Parcells will play games with him and say he needs to earn that position and that he's being evaluated like everyone else, but in the end he'll be the starter. If it's a new coach, I still think Romo will be the guy. But we do need to sign a veteran to be his backup and maybe another vet or late-round draft pick to be the 3rd QB.