Things are bad now. I mean really bad. Tony Romo threw three picks and then got himself hurt on Thanksgiving Day. Again. And the offense was really bad at tackling people as the Panthers defenders had way too many yards after the catch. But it's the holiday season and I don't want to scrooge it up for you so let's take a moment to focus on some of the reasons Cowboys fans should be thankful.
The Front Office
You don't have to have your ear to the ground to realize that the popular opinion of Cowboys Nations is that the organization got their hand caught in the cookie jar when it came to their backup quarterback situation. What the team saw in Brandon Weeden didn't match what he gave them on the field. And the team's next choice of backup, Matt Cassel is still a sizable downgrade from Mr. Tony Romo. While it hasn't been a full on dumpster fire like some fans will try to convince you, the play of the backup quarterback has still hurt the Cowboys chances to win football games. This is an area that the front office needs to be diligent in addressing heading into next season.
But that's one thing. Take a look around. How do you feel about other things? Whether you credit the Cowboys de facto GM, Will McClay, Stephen Jones, or Jason Garrett - this organization is making good moves. The Cowboys have been sharp when it comes to their first-round draft pick selections. The teams last six first-round picks include Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Morris Claiborne, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Byron Jones. Before the season started, there might have been some (like myself) that would try to tell you that the Claiborne pick was a complete bust. And while the investment was still too high, he has started to demonstrate some valuable skills. Before he got hurt, he was a very reliable starter. All these first-round picks are starters. Four of them are Pro Bowlers, and two of them are All-Pros. And from what Byron Jones has demonstrated so far in his rookie season, he is going to be a very good player in this league.
The front office isn't perfect by any means, but they do a lot of things right. This is a young team that keeps gaining more experience. The level of competition for the bottom roster spots is much higher to where solid players still get cut.
Many fans can't make up their mind whether or not Jason Garrett is a good football coach. Last year he was a good coach. This year he is not. So which is it? Did he suddenly get worse, or was he never that good in the first place? It sure doesn't look like he is getting the most of his players. If he's got his team fighting so hard, then why are the Cowboys getting worked over so badly in the second half of games? And aren't you getting sick of him always clapping and only saying positive things when all this chaos is going on around him?
Well, I don't know how you answered any of those questions, but all those things are legitimate concerns. However, there isn't a doubt in my mind that he's good for the Dallas Cowboys. Garrett is building a culture. He knows what he wants and knows how to get there. He never makes excuses. He never complains about the officiating. And he always respects his opponents. Garrett, in all his calmness. is a very serious coach. While everything going on around him isn't what he had in mind, he'll be diligent in fixing it. And if it's not fixed the next time, he'll keep trying to fix it. That's what he does. This team got better because of Jason Garrett, and they'll eventually be great because of Jason Garrett, so don't give up on Redball just yet.
NFC East is a train wreck
It is disappointing that the Cowboys cannot take advantage of the poor play of their NFC East foes. And while that is an opportunity squandered, there is still some things about this that feel good. For example, are the Philadelphia Eagles just in a rut or is it looking more like the Chip Kelly experiment is about to implode? While Cowboys' fans are excited about the quality of players that they are drafting in the first round, I doubt Eagles fans would say the same thing since Chip took over. Their last two first-round picks have done very little to help their team. The Washington Redskins are still trying to overcome all the draft resources they lost in the Robert Griffin III trade so if they're going somewhere - it won't be tomorrow. And the New York Giants still have Eli Manning as their quarterback.
None of these teams are trending up, whereas that is not the case with the Dallas Cowboys.