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Cowboys would prefer to say farewell to their bye

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Rosenthal started writing team-by-team looks at the state of each franchise as it enters the bye week.  He did it without telling me.  But since he has a new baby, I can’t fire him.  For now.

While perusing the calendar to determine the socially acceptable point at which a pink slip can be issued to a man who pays Manhattan rent and who has a brand new baby and a lovely wife, I realized that I actually liked the idea.

So I decided to horn in on it, cherry picking the team about which I wanted to pontificate.

The loss to the Lions could linger.

The biggest collapse in franchise history comes at the worst possible time.  As the Cowboys enter the bye, they have two weeks to obsess over what may have been.  And in turn they must wait way too long for a chance to scrub the sour taste out of their mouths.

With the first game after the bye entailing a trip to New England, the Cowboys may have to wait until October 23 for an opportunity to get another win, when the Rams come to town.  Even if the Cowboys can turn it around, that loss to the Lions could make it difficult when the time comes to compare records and/or tiebreakers after the dust settles on New Year’s Day.

The cheap way isn’t always the smart way.

When the Cowboys dumped center Andre Gurode in order to create some cap space before the season started, they entrusted the job to Phil Costa, an undrafted free agent who joined the team in 2010.

In Week One, Costa snapped the ball before quarterback Tony Romo was ready, at a time when the Cowboys were trying to force overtime late, after blowing a 14-point lead.  In Week Three, the Cowboys overcame several bad snaps by Costa to beat Washington.  Though the team claims that the Redskins were simulating the snap count, we’ve got a feeling that Gurode would have known when to snap the ball, and when not to.

Run the ball.  Run the ball.  Run the ball.

The Cowboys have three potentially potent tailbacks:  Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, and DeMarco Murray.  And yet the Cowboys have run the ball only 38 percent of the time.

The imbalance reared its head in the Lions game, with the Cowboys inexplicably choosing to pass when leading by 24 points with 25 minutes left and a first down from their own 27.  The pass resulted in an interception, which resulted in a touchdown, which opened the door for the Lions to come back and steal the game.

Trust Tony Romo, but help him succeed.

The Cowboys remain committed to Tony Romo, who is now 31 years old and demonstrating an awareness that, with so many inexperienced players, someone has to act like the adult.

But the true adults are the coaches, and the coaches need to know when to unleash Romo — and when to rein him in.  FOX’s Jimmy Johnson recently told Dan Patrick that Romo’s periodic recklessness potentially traces to his time as a scout team quarterback, given that scout team quarterbacks typically are told to throw the ball into coverage, so that the defense work on playing defense.

Thus, it’s on coach Jason Garrett to harness Romo the same way Mike Holmgren put a leash on Brett Favre, getting the most out of his talents, while also minimizing his weaknesses.

Hold Dez Bryant accountable.

There’s no denying Dez Bryant’s talent.  But there are plenty of signs that he does whatever he wants.  Though most of the tangible stuff relates to off-field failures to do things like pay for stuff he has purchased, Dez seems to be unwilling or unable to get the absolute most out of his physical abilities.

Apart from the fact that he’ll never last into his 30s if he relies solely on his God-given talents, he’ll continue to be dogged by injuries and late-game ineffectiveness if he doesn’t get himself into peak shape and keep himself there.

Though the Cowboys have been careful to coddle him, Garrett seems to be commencing the process of sliding the gloves off, publicly complaining about Bryant’s conditioning.  Hopefully, Garrett will have the full support of owner Jerry Jones if/when Garrett decides to manage Dez more aggressively.  He could be truly great if someone gets through to him, and it’s time for someone to try.

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46 Responses to “Cowboys would prefer to say farewell to their bye”
  1. Cowboys-Forum says: Oct 6, 2011 8:47 PM

    Hey, if Dez isnt in shape he isnt in shape, why baby him it doesnt help him one bit.

  2. toiletking says: Oct 6, 2011 8:50 PM

    Watching this team fail is almost as funny as watching those wall street protesters from my window.

  3. truthserum4u says: Oct 6, 2011 9:03 PM

    Wow! There’s actually valid points and good advice in this piece.

  4. legeisyaj says: Oct 6, 2011 9:06 PM

    I like the comment about Bryant. Well said.

  5. johnny1979 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:15 PM

    Starting looking ahead to 2012

  6. lionhunter909 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:19 PM

    Dear Cowboys, thanks for blowing that game. Now
    you can get your act together.

    Sincerely,

    Lions fans

  7. yevrag3535 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:19 PM

    Cowboys are frauds, plain and simple !

  8. dccowboy says: Oct 6, 2011 9:20 PM

    Your commands of the English language is somewhat lacking. Garrett wasn’t ‘ publicly complaining about Bryant’s conditioning’, he was explaining that Bryant’s injury was affecting his conditioning because he couldn’t run or condition during the week. But then, that isn’t what you wanted it to be so you just made it up as you went alnog.

  9. redrifle14 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:23 PM

    If their smart they will say farewell to Romo too. Good statistically but cant win the big ones. 1 playoff win in 5+ yrs doesnt cut it.

  10. bigshirk says: Oct 6, 2011 9:26 PM

    Screw the Cowboys

  11. tigeralum2010 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:29 PM

    I’m a Cowboys fan and that choke vs the Lions was the most mind-numbingly awful thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even feel sick to my stomach like the Seahawks game.

    That being said… I think at least half the blame for that choke lies with Jason Garett for not running the ball 80% of the time with a 24 POINT LEAD.

    All credit to the Lions, though. Their defense actually came up and started pressing the Cowboys receivers and their D-line started to get through to Romo. Once Stafford settled down in his homecoming game and started looking for CJ, it was game. That catch by CJ in triple coverage (!!!) in the endzone was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen

  12. favreforever says: Oct 6, 2011 9:32 PM

    Good job, Mr. PFT. That will make downsizing in these tight economic times, a lot easier. A “pink” slip to show sensitivity to the new mother and daughter. So much nicer than a black ticket or a boot in the rear.

  13. favreforever says: Oct 6, 2011 9:34 PM

    Dang, we were so close to being able to berate Rosenthal in person, on a street corner somewhere.

  14. eaglesandravens says: Oct 6, 2011 9:47 PM

    “Though the team claims that the Redskins were simulating the snap count, we’ve got a feeling that Gurode would have known when to snap the ball, and when not to.”

    Didn’t andre gurode ALSO mess up on snaps?

  15. boswivel says: Oct 6, 2011 9:49 PM

    Does anyone else remember how Andre Gurode used to snap the ball to Romo. It’s as if he raised this Costa kid from birth.

  16. boswivel says: Oct 6, 2011 9:50 PM

    Hey, I parroted what eaglesandravens said.

  17. 303bengalguy says: Oct 6, 2011 9:58 PM

    Did you say “horn in” on it??? Perhaps meaning “hone in”?

  18. fissels says: Oct 6, 2011 10:09 PM

    Even though they’ve really played some bad and dumb football over the first 4 games they’ve also played some good football. I’m just hoping they can keep improving. Maybe 9 wins will get them into the tournament

  19. smellmyface says: Oct 6, 2011 10:09 PM

    You mean Romo isnt in Cabo???

    It doesnt really matter, we all know the girls play their best ball in December.

  20. kappy32 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:23 PM

    Jason Garrett is a horrible coach. When he came in last year, his accomplishments were blown out of proportion. Wade Phillips lost that team & could no long effectively coach them. Herm Edwards, maybe one of the worst coaches in the history of the NFL, could have gotten that team to play better than they were at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the team’s turnaround forced JJ to remove the interim tag on Garrett. I truly believe that had Garrett faltered one bit, Rob Ryan would be the coach & I really believe he’s going to be a good one (he will make his brother look like Rich Kotite & his 41-57 all-time record).

    When Garrett came in, one aspect he pointed out was that the team wasn’t running the ball enough & that he was going to change that (frankly, it made no sense at the time because he was the OC & had complete autonomy in the play-calling; it seemed like he was blaming Wade for his inept & horrendous management of the offense). Nevertheless, almost a year in, his inept play-calling is back. While I am not sold on Felox Jones, as a matter of fact I think he’s a terrible RB, DeMarco Murray has the potential to be a stud so long as he can stay healthy. Giving a guy with his potential only 3-5 touches per game is unconscionable. It is even more dumbfounding when you realize that their WRs are beat up & injured, including one of the NFL’s best WRa in Miles Austin. On the other side of the ball, half of the defense is either on IR or injured, but Rob Ryan is getting these practice-squad-caliber players to play above their skill & potential. The bottom line is that the Cowboys are way too talented to struggle the way they are this season. While it is highly unlikely that Garrett will be fired before the offseason, changes need to be made. As you pointed out above, no one is pushing Dez Bryant. He is inexplicably being treated with the respect of a veteran when all he’s done is show that he’s an immature a$$hole who has all the talent in the world. Potential-wise, he is head & shoulders above Hakeem Nicks, but production-wise, Hakeem Nicks is making a case for himself to be on the level of Megatron, Andre Johnson & Miles Austin. Garrett needs to get tough on him. It is also an absolute must that Garrett call more runs & give Murray mOre touches. Another change that needs to be made, and it has been stated ad nauseum, is that JJ needs to relinquish his role as GM & Emporer of the Cowboys. He’s the owner & should have some say in personnel, but under no circumstances should he be the sole personnel decision maker. His drafts have been absolutely terrible & he may only be outdone in bad drafts by Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets. Any other GM in this league would be out of a job after drafting Felix Jones over Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice & Jamaal Charles. Going into the draft it wasn’t even close; Jones was seen as a 2-3 round talent while Mendenhall & Johnson were mid-to-late first round talents. He chose Jones solely because they shared an alma mater, Arkansas. I have to give him credit for taking Sean Lee (while also slap Jerry Reese for passing up on him for Linval Joseph), but that is the extent of his successful draft day moves. It’s still unfathomable that he traded 2009’s 1st, 3rd & 6th round picks for Roy Williams. As long as JJ & Jason Garrett are leading this team, they will continue to be America’s Mediocre Team.

  21. damnyoulinelliot says: Oct 6, 2011 10:24 PM

    I’d prefer to say farewell to the Cowboys, period.

  22. thefiesty1 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:28 PM

    CowBabies!

  23. thejuddstir says: Oct 6, 2011 10:30 PM

    1) Cowboys knew that Dez had all kinds of baggage coming out of college but after missing out on Randy Moss years ago, “Jerrah” wanted Dez.
    2) We’ve heard about Felix Jones “potential” for almost 5 yrs now……when does it stop.
    3)Jerrah gets his “high” from being best friends with his “stars” and thus will always undermind whoever is the headcoach.
    4) Tony Romo…..see #2
    5)Jerrah thinks he knows football and wants to be headcoach.

  24. crazyrayisdead says: Oct 6, 2011 10:30 PM

    With all of the mall walking that DEZ does he should be in excellent shape!!!! Maybe the Cowboys should put a jewerly store in each end-zone and Dez would be able to perform at a high level for the entire game.

  25. str82dvd says: Oct 6, 2011 10:40 PM

    Funny how we rip this site when we’re totally addicted. It’s like a crackhead ripping on his dealer.

  26. howley1 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:41 PM

    If their smart they will say farewell to Romo too. Good statistically but cant win the big ones. 1 playoff win in 5+ yrs doesnt cut it.

    —————————————————-

    Right, get rid of Romo and do what?

  27. whatwouldlombardido says: Oct 6, 2011 10:41 PM

    It seems like Garrett thinks he’s smarter than he really is. Throwing the ball with a 24 point lead? Why? Are they awarding style points in the NFL now? Romo is an average QB, but the Cowboys can win with him. They’ve done it in the past. But they need to adopt a “run-first” mentality and stick to it.

  28. howley1 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:43 PM

    2) We’ve heard about Felix Jones “potential” for almost 5 yrs now……when does it stop.

    ————————————–

    Nice research. He hasn’t even been in the league for four years.

  29. howley1 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:46 PM

    DeMarco Murray has the potential to be a stud so long as he can stay healthy. Giving a guy with his potential only 3-5 touches per game is unconscionable.

    ————————————-

    The only thing holding Murray back is that he sucks in protection. Jones/Choice are much better in that regard right now and it is a major concern for the Cowboys given the inexperience on the OL.

  30. howley1 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:57 PM

    Any other GM in this league would be out of a job after drafting Felix Jones over Rashard Mendenhall

    —————————-

    Jones averages a full yard per carry more than Mendenhall over their careers and is WAY better catching the ball. So far this season Jones has more yards on fewer carries and has 12 catches to Mendenhall’s 5. And he’s been playing with a separated shoulder. Mewelde Moore (7.2 YPC) and Isaac Redman (4.9 YPC) are both outperforming Mendenhall (3.0 YPC) on a per carry basis. Murray and Choice are not outperforming Felix Jones (4.3 YPC). Neither is averaging more than 2.8 yards per carry.

  31. eleventyeight says: Oct 6, 2011 11:42 PM

    Jery Jones needs to stop micromanaging his team, hire a GM and follow the chain of command: him- GM-HC-AC’s-players.

    Until some kind of structure and football knowledge and authority enter that franchise it’ll be perennial chaos and constant coulda-been’s.

  32. eleventyeight says: Oct 6, 2011 11:42 PM

    BTW- I hate the CowBOYS.

  33. wttoolman says: Oct 6, 2011 11:47 PM

    Dear Lions,

    You’re not that good.

    Sincerely, Anyone with a brain

  34. itsmammoth says: Oct 6, 2011 11:52 PM

    Nice picture and Good Job Jason!

    Make Tony do push-ups every time he throws an INT!

  35. ccous says: Oct 7, 2011 12:19 AM

    if your comment is a novella, you get a thumbs down from me

  36. Soulman45 says: Oct 7, 2011 12:19 AM

    Dallas I would like to thing you for having me over for Sunday game I must say it was a great day.
    I know it didn’t end the way you would like but a great day, give me a call I will come back any time at your wish.

    Your Best Friend For Life

    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS

  37. bobhk says: Oct 7, 2011 1:42 AM

    thejuddstir says:
    Oct 6, 2011 10:30 PM
    1) Cowboys knew that Dez had all kinds of baggage coming out of college but after missing out on Randy Moss years ago, “Jerrah” wanted Dez.
    2) We’ve heard about Felix Jones “potential” for almost 5 yrs now……when does it stop.
    —————-
    A lot of people said that Cowboys got a steal in Felix Jones and that he’s actually better than McFadden. Well, now we can see McFadden really producing for the Raiders and see why he’s better than Jones.

  38. carpetpissers says: Oct 7, 2011 6:33 AM

    eaglesandravens says:
    Oct 6, 2011 9:47 PM
    “Though the team claims that the Redskins were simulating the snap count, we’ve got a feeling that Gurode would have known when to snap the ball, and when not to.”

    Didn’t andre gurode ALSO mess up on snaps?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    All the time. But you actually have to watch the games and not just write whatever you like in order to know that!

  39. carpetpissers says: Oct 7, 2011 7:59 AM

    Could possibly be that this is just a dumbass headline. Maybe they are actually looking forward to their bye week since after it they will be getting back their starting WR, a healthier starting WR, a healthier starting RB, getting a healthy corner back in the line-up, getting another corner healthier and so on and so on.

    This team will be fine.

  40. ham1 says: Oct 7, 2011 8:11 AM

    dallas sucks
    Opie is just another tool. What a hire, (cut the strings on the wade puppet and hookem up to opie). Staggering improvement. Cheers.

  41. jmota222 says: Oct 7, 2011 8:33 AM

    Just hinting towards the fact that dez isn’t in game shape speaks volumes about his desire to be great!! Hes paid a kings ransom to be in top notch shape and can be a top 5 receiver if he gets his head out of his ###!!!

  42. RomosRibs says: Oct 7, 2011 8:55 AM

    Dez isnt in shape??? That’s THE 1st time Ive heard anybody say anthing even remotely similar to that.

  43. hellswitch says: Oct 7, 2011 8:58 AM

    To tigeralum2010 – Well said. My thoughts exactly, dude.

    “I’m a Cowboys fan and that choke vs the Lions was the most mind-numbingly awful thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even feel sick to my stomach like the Seahawks game.

    That being said… I think at least half the blame for that choke lies with Jason Garett for not running the ball 80% of the time with a 24 POINT LEAD.

    All credit to the Lions, though. Their defense actually came up and started pressing the Cowboys receivers and their D-line started to get through to Romo. Once Stafford settled down in his homecoming game and started looking for CJ, it was game. That catch by CJ in triple coverage (!!!) in the endzone was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen”

  44. buschleaguebandit says: Oct 7, 2011 10:06 AM

    @ KAPPY32

    There are a lot of good points in your write up…I would have to agree that the blame should be on Garrett & JJ and not on Romo! Going into the 3rd quarter, my former highschool football coach could have called a better game ‘Hylton HighSchool’….. we could have run the ball every play and went 3 & out and won the game!! When is Garrett going to learn that we need to run the football! I agree that Murray needs at least 10-15 touches a game, whether he runs or catches screens out of the back field, the dude needs to be on the field! Dez has the talent to be the best WR in the league..he needs to spend the off-season training with Fitz and Jerry Rice, someone needs to get through to this KID……..

    Go Cowboys!!

  45. spytdi says: Oct 7, 2011 1:26 PM

    Rigged

  46. spharrgcs says: Oct 12, 2011 12:27 PM

    Finally a Cowboys team that is under the radar. The whole football media world is having group orgies with the Lions, Bills and Niners, which is fine with Cowboys fans. Of the 4 categories that matter: Pass /Run Offense and Pass/Run defense, only the run offense is ranked worse then 10th nationally. They have handed two 3-1 teams their only loss, and had Jets and Lions dead to rights before Romo got careless. The bye came actually at a good time, as they can get very healthy going into New England, by far the toughest game on the schedule. The early bad mistakes will only serve to toughen them up, and Garrett has them getting over things quickly, as well as playing smart and mistake-free football. 11-5 and NFC East champions is very realistic.

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