Here at The Big and The Brown, we encourage our sexy readers to submit pieces of their own brain for fodder. Hell, sometimes we dare them...Steve, looking in your direction, buddy. Anyways, here's an entry from our famous friend, The Bear.
As always, this is just cut and paste, so take up your bitching with him.
Ok… so if you’re all like me you’re trying everything that you can do to try and put any sort of positive spin on the Cowboys anemic losses the last couple of weeks. Maybe you have a remote control sticking through the screen of your TV and you’re now having to start bargain shop for a replacement? Either way, the Cowboys that we have been watching the last 2 games are playing like crap and should all get a stiff kick in the groin because they “should” be better than they have been playing. Well, maybe I can give a little ray of hope to this team and the fans out there.
What are we dealing with? In business when you have a problem, the first thing to do is get to the root of the issue and correct it. Hopefully turning things around.
Is it… Injuries?
Yes we have had some serious problems with injuries this season. Although last year we were blessed with few injuries and rode that to a 13-3 record and a disappointing playoff ousting to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. But it can’t be just the fact that we have Tony Romo (Pinkie Finger), Terrance Newman (Abdomen), Felix Jones (Hamstring), Kyle Kosier (Foot), Matt McBriar (foot), Anthony Spencer (Hamstring), Kevin Burnett (Calf), Pat Watkins (Neck), Roy Williams (Forearm) or Sam Hurd (Ankle) missing games or limited in their play time? Well… when you look at that list… Yes! It doesn’t help to have a laundry list of injuries to a team where after the starters the depth just doesn’t seem to be what we thought it was. Actually, Brown brought up a thought point during last week’s 30-24 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals if our coverage would be any better with Roy in the backfield? Well… anyone notice who was trailing Donnie Avery’s 42 yard TD grab in the 1st quarter? Yes sir… that would be Mr. Williams himself, and guess where he went after that? To the trainer to look at his “arm.” Although the Cowboys are definitely troubled in the injury department with key losses of Romo, the shifty Mexican Felix Jones and a critical part of the secondary with T New I think the root lies somewhere else.
Is it… Locker Room personalities?
This team is definitely full of personalities with T.O., Pacman Jones (well, not really there now), Tank Johnson (though haven’t really heard from him since arriving here) and dare I say Tony ‘Simpson’ Romo (love the guy, respect the guy, despise his glee for the spotlight). But from all accounts there doesn’t seem to be any rifts in the Locker Room. All the media types will cut, and edit tapes from the game to show Romo with his Sad Panda face, or T.O. barking at anyone in ear-shot and complaining he doesn’t get the ball enough, or Pacman making it rain to make us all believe that there’s too many Type A personalities on this team. I again don’t think this is the problem. As Coach Jimmy McGinty once told Shane Falco about wanting the ball “…winners always do.”
Is it… The Coaching?
Let’s admit it… We all Love Wade Phillips. We all feel that he is everyone’s lovable Grandfather and isn’t hard enough on his players, that the Cowboys are able to roll over Wade Phillips and don’t pay attention to anything he says! Well, maybe he is, but again I say we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe we think we do because we felt privied to a peak behind the curtain while watching ‘Hardknocks’ on HBO during the preseason. Or every time something good happens on the field he’s running and jumping down the sideline fist pumping like it’s the first time it’s ever happened (well lately if something good happened I’d probably do the same thing). Maybe it’s that Brian Stewart doesn’t understand what the term “Defensive Packages” are? Or maybe it’s that we have anointed Jason Garrett as the second coming of Norv Turner (Say what you want, but you can’t discredit his offensive numbers during his tenure here)? I do think that the coaching has a lot to blame through this, but I feel like I will need to pinpoint this, and I will because ultimately all the blame should go on the coaches.
So what does the Bear feel is the problem with this team? THE LINE! What? How can it be the line when everyone touted just how big and powerful they are? How they are bruisers beating people up and wearing defenses down? Well just as how the blame falls on the coaches for losses, the effectiveness of the offense and defense falls on the lineman… Offense and Defense! Everything starts with the play at the line of scrimmage. Having played on the line on both sides of the ball before you know that the game is determined there. If the O Line is able to get a push then that creates room for the Running back. If the D Line is able to get a push that clogs the holes for the Running back. If the O Line is able to pick up a blitz then it gives time for the Quarterback to make his reads. If the D Line is able to get pressure then it prevents the Quarterback from making his reads.
How about the Defensive Line first? After watching these seven games I have yet to see this Defensive front to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Yes, Demarcus Ware has a sack in 10 straight games, and recorded 3 sacks on Bulger, but for the most part… those are coverage sacks. For those who don’t understand what that is… that’s when all the receivers are covered downfield, and the longer the quarterback holds the ball the more time it gives the rushers to get to him. How many times did we just watch Bulger, Warner, Campbell, McNabb just take a 3 step drop and have time to look through their progressions 2 or 3 times? I don’t care if it’s Tarvaris Jackson standing back there, if you have as much time as we’re giving Quarterbacks to throw of course we’re going to get thrown all over. I don’t know what they can do to correct this. Maybe Tank need to bust out his Prison strong mentality and start busting some heads? Maybe we need to start trying out Barbie Carpenter a little more because at least he’s faster than Zach Thomas (Whoa… did I really say that?)? Was the loss of Aiken Ayodele and Jacob Ferguson really that critical to the defensive front? I don’t think so, but we need to play better on the frontline to start pressuring these Quarterbacks, and we can do it. Look at the Cleveland game. The Cowboys did not allow Derek Anderson to get comfortable in the pocket and when you can do that to a Quarterback they will start to force things and that turns into incompletion’s, or possibly interceptions (which we only have 2 on the season).
So how ‘bout that Offensive Line? They’re Big! They’re Slow! They’re getting out smarted! I was thrilled to see in the offseason when the Cowboys brought back Hudson Houck as the O Line Coach. This is the guy that coached Larry Allen, Eric Williams, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei to 22 Pro Bowl appearances among them. But what the hell has happened with this group? This is still a good line, that should be able to do what everyone expects them to… Beat the living crap out of any defensive line they face. Yet time after time they look confused with the different blitz packages teams throw them. They look out hussled on the edge by shiftier, more aggressive Defensive Ends. They look lost! Maybe it is that they hear all the hype about the size, and potential of the line and think they can just show up and pound the line of scrimmage? Maybe the loss of Kosier was more serious than we all thought? Whatever it is this Offensive line is to blame for Romo’s finger. This Offensive Line is to blame for McBriar’s foot! This Offensive line is to blame for TO’s abysmal numbers. I’m sorry if this sounds a little harsh, but Offensive Lineman aren’t supposed to be glamorous attention whores like the drunk girl at the bar who doesn’t care how bad she’s dancing as long as she’s getting attention. Offensive Lineman are the group that is supposed to show up to work before everyone else, leave after everyone else, and at the end of the day when the game is won and all the cameras and reporters are interviewing the Backs they get on the bus and get ready to go back to work for the next week. No Glitz, No Glamour, just Football!