After the Denver Broncos clawed their way to a victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, the team owner, said, “Hats off to Denver. They’re 4-0 and a good football team.” I am so tired of platitudes. This is the National Football League. I understand the politeness that one team needs to afford another, too, but the Denver Broncos aren’t that good. At least they weren’t that good on Sunday. To quote Denny Green, “They are who we thought they were.” They have a solid defense with a mediocre offense. Their special teams were nothing special, yet the Dallas Cowboys struggled all day.
First, the play calling — the Dallas Cowboys had four plays inside the Denver Broncos’ 10-yard line with time on the clock expiring. What happened? In a nutshell, nothing! The first play was a cross to Patrick Crayton for six yards. Second in two from the Denver Broncos two-yard line. Spike the ball and stop the clock. (If Sam Herd had gone out of bounds on that long fourth down play, that would have saved us a time out and we would have had another down. Mistake!) Third down — spread formation. A slant to Sam Hurd who is being covered by All-Pro safety Champ Bailey. The pass is a little high and inside. Incompletion. Fourth down — spread formation. Almost the exact same play again but this time, the throw is better and Champ Bailey’s position is also better. He knocks the ball down — game over. Sam Hurd is your go to guy in the clutch? Not an inside handoff to Marion Barber who has proven himself multiple times over the last two years. Not some sort of pivot play to All-Pro tight end Jason Witten but an inside slant against their best corner who has already picked off Tony Romo once. To quote Kevin Sherrington from the Dallas Morning News, “… Jason Garrett’s plan to make him the primary receiver on the game’s key play is a little like the Mavs drawing up Matt Carroll for the winning shot over Kobe Bryant.” He is 100% correct. To add insult to injury, Miles Austin was open on the other side of the field. (Granted, he ran the wrong route earlier in the game which cost Romo an interception deep in the red zone. I’m not sure I would’ve thrown to him either.)
Secondly, I don’t know if Tony Romo is hurt or not. If he is hurt, we need to bring in somebody else until he is better. Sure, Jon Kitna has been labeled the human turnover machine but at least we would lower our expectations. I’m not sure that this offense that was reportedly built for Tony Romo is any good. Romo has no touchdowns in eight quarters. What happened to his high powered Dallas attack? Where was this league leading running attack? There weren’t that many wide-open receivers but this is the NFL. The other guys get paid to. We need better accuracy out of Romo. He was missing guys high. He was throwing behind guys who were coming across the field. Maybe he needs new glasses?
Third. When the game was on the line, you couldn’t keep the triplets out of the game. Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin. Yet, our number one receiver, Roy Williams, was on the sideline. After the game, he said, “I’m 5200 feet above sea level right now with asthma, so I’m struggling a little bit. Never in my life have I been hit like that, from Pop Warner to sixth year in the league.” Look, this is football. If you have asthma, and you know you’re going to Denver to play a game, go see your pulmonologist and get your meds adjusted. There are no excuses come game time. Unless Roy Williams has a broken rib or clavicle, he should’ve put himself in position to be there for the final play.
I think it is time to realize that nobody is going to, in the football vernacular, “step up.” The Cowboys are good enough to play with anybody. But, time and time again, they miss assignments, they run the wrong route, they hold, they are offsides, they miss a tackle and we have a flood of excuses and platitudes at post game press conferences. Right now, the Cowboys are playing like a team with two wins and two losses. They are two games behind division leading New York Giants. It might as well be 100 games. Although the season is young, chances of getting to the playoffs with this team are getting slimmer and slimmer.
(How do you give up five sacks to the Denver Broncos?)