This season has obviously been a very different one, in many ways the polar opposite, than that of a year ago. The Cowboys enter Week 17 done as opposed to resting.
There are many a misfortune that befell Dallas in 2017, some self-induced and others completely out of their control. It’s one of the former that we’re here to discuss today.
Back in the early days of June we noted that it appeared the Cowboys were experimenting with Chaz Green at left guard. This wound up being true as he was the opening day starter at the position.
You’ll remember that a season ago Green served as this team’s swing tackle, filling in quite nicely for Tyron Smith when he had to. Many minds believed that he was, in terms of just overall talent, the fifth-best overall lineman, and a lineup that included him was the best possible combination over one that hypothetically included Jonathan Cooper.
The lineup was the one used as the Cowboys prepared for 2017. Cooper’s camp existed, but things moved forward with Chaz Green. He spent the entire offseason and every portion of preseason preparation planning for and learning to play left guard. The kick inside is not for the faint of heart.
Predictably, as some would say these days, the experiment failed. The combination including Chaz Green was not the best overall unit, and thanks to injury, Jonathan Cooper made his first start against the Rams in October, and never relinquished the job.
Six weeks later Chaz Green’s services were called upon again though, due to injury to Tyron Smith. Dallas trotted him back out as their swing tackle of sorts and asked him to start at left tackle, despite preparation and practice inside.
Chaz Green is a professional football player. Responsibility should fall on him, and he did not live up to it in Atlanta. We all agree with that; however, he was left on an island by the Cowboys coaching staff.
The day from hell unfolded sack after sack in front of, and behind, Chaz Green’s very eyes, all while the Cowboys refused to give him help to chip away Adrian Clayborn.
Jason Garrett and Co. crossed their fingers and hoped that the player who spent, per their instruction, the entire offseason-plus perfecting an entirely new position would magically return to perfect form in his old one. With every sack the crossing got tighter, before they waved a white flag and yanked Green in meaningless minutes.
Think about that and give the thought the proper marinating. Again, Chaz Green deserves blame, but the Cowboys were insistent that things would work out despite their own previous ideas, and they insisted so hard that they just left Chaz in place. Either the idea would work or it would inevitably work was not sound logic.
Ultimately the Cowboys just swept Chaz Green under the rug, demoting him beneath Byron Bell for the rest of the season. Another problem swept under the rug, and the next would work because football players have to rise to the occasion, or some other justification.
The same way the Cowboys insisted that Chaz Green would work because they said it would is the same way they believed they could operate the same without Ezekiel Elliott, that they could force the ball to Dez Bryant over other smarter options, or that Jaylon Smith could be a fully functional middle linebacker when clearly he could not.
There are a many number of examples to be used here, and Chaz Green serves as the flag for the nation of them all. If the Cowboys say it, they believe it, even if it blows up in their face.