After last year's stellar 12-4 finish, the Cowboys have crumbled to a 2-7 record. Only one team, the Browns, has more losses. That is quite an impressive meltdown, and one that can't be explained by Tony Romo's injury alone.
Yet there is a lesson in all of this.
In times like these, when you're facing hard choices and need to make any number of important decisions, sometimes the best way to get the process started is to ask yourself some hard questions. Today we kick off that process by asking, "What would Jimmy Johnson do?"
Not that I think the Cowboys are going to fire Jason Garrett (yet), but for argument's sake, let's assume Jerry Jones brings back the 1989 version of Jimmy Johnson to run the Cowboys as of today.
What Would Jimmy Do?
1. Which players would be looking for a new job tomorrow?
If Jimmy Johnson were to come in today, he'd have a pretty good idea of which players to keep on board and which players would get the boot. To quick-start the change process this team needs, he'd probably start churning the bottom of the roster immediately to send a message to the team and get their attention. Who is the 2015 equivalent of Curvin Richards?
2. Who's the 2016 equivalent of Herschel Walker?
The Cowboys can now safely stop thinking about the playoffs and can start start thinking about the 2016 season. Which Cowboys stars on this team would Jimmy trade to shore up other parts of the team? Start thinking from the very top. No taboos.
Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Dan Bailey, or any other players. Which one (or more) of these players, if traded, could positively impact the future of the franchise with the resulting return in draft picks?
3. Which coaches will 'suffer the consequences'
Jimmy Johnson was a demanding coach, but also a demanding and hard-headed superior for his assistants. Which assistants get to stay or is this an everyone-must-go assistant fire-sale?
4. The writing is on the wall for these players
Two weeks ago I wrote that the Cowboys were all out of the secret sauce and were not going to make the playoffs this year. I noted last week that an eight-game audition process had kicked off for the players to show the team that they should be part of the 2016 Cowboys roster. Both posts incited strong reactions from some of our fine readers who refused to believe that the season was over. Technically it still isn't, but nobody can tell me that this team is just a healthy Tony Romo away from the postseason. The 2015 Dallas Cowboys have been weighed and have been found wanting.
Which players would Jimmy Johnson get all biblical on ("Thou art weighed and art found wanting")? Which of the big name players stay, which go? What core players are you rebuilding the offense and defense around?
Answer these questions and you may have a better idea of how this shipwreck can be made seaworthy again. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.