Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Few Early Offseason Thoughts

It is really hard to watch the playoffs because the Cowboys are missing yet again. But I have definitely realized that the Cowboys had no business being a playoff team this season. The NFC playoff teams were all much more deserving than the Cowboys to be in the tournament. And I think the Cowboys would have lost to every team on the NFC side.

Dave Campo is out as the defensive backs coach. I have mixed emotions on this move. When Campo was the head coach in the early 2000's I attended a training camp practice in Wichita Falls. He actually took about 5 minutes of his time after practice to talk with my friend and me about the team. I'll never forget that. He is a great guy. But, as a coach, it was time for him to go. I know a big part of the problem is the players but the cornerback play has been sub-par for years. There are a lot of teams in the league doing more with less talent at cornerback.

I will be thrilled if Tony Sparano comes back to the Cowboys. He would help shore up the offensive line and, more importantly, he could be a great advisor to Jason Garrett. Garrett's best season as a play caller was in 2007 when Sparano was around helping out with the offense. I hope he is willing to come back to team up with Jason Garrett again.

Rob Ryan should be back as the defensive coordinator. I know that he should shoulder a big part of the blame for the embarrassing performances by the defense to close out the season. But, with a full offseason to teach his scheme, I think we could see big improvements in the defense. I expect a much greater understanding of the defense by all of the players after an offseason to learn the schemes and pre-play adjustments.

The Cowboys need to find another young quarterback to groom. Tony Romo will turn 32 in April. He probably has 2-4 good/great seasons left in him. After that the cupboard is pretty bare for the Cowboys. Stephen McGee has flashed potential a few times but I have no confidence that he will be able to develop into a starting caliber player. I'd like to see the Cowboys bring in another young quarterback to develop. They might even need to bring in another older veteran to serve as the backup in the short term and draft another young quarterback to develop for the future.

There has been a lot of talk that the offensive line needs a complete overhaul. I'm not sure that I agree with that. The Cowboys are set at tackle with Doug Free and Tyron Smith possibly switching sides next season. And Phil Costa and Kevin Kowalski did a pretty good job at center. Where the Cowboys are hurting is at guard. Kyle Kosier is aging and becoming injury prone. His play isn't good enough to cross your fingers and hope he stays healthy. Bill Nagy and David Arkin should battle for one starting spot next year. But I'd like to see guard addressed in either the draft or free agency.

The biggest needs for the Cowboys seem to be on defense. There is a major need for impact players. Outside of Sean Lee and Demarcus Ware there just aren't any players that make game changing plays on a regular basis.

Jerry Jones is promising changes this offseason. I hope he isn't just blowing smoke to quiet the angry fan base. There are gaping holes on the roster that need to be addressed. And there are aging veterans that need to be cut loose.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Better Team Won

I'm just going to write a few thoughts after the season ending loss to the Giants.

The Giants were the better team. I really thought the Cowboys were better than this but I guess I was just seeing things with my heart and not my head.

The Cowboys secondary is terrible. It is time for Newman to retire or get cut. Why don't the Cowboys DB's ever make a play on the ball? Eli Manning basically closed his eyes and threw the ball up to Victor Cruz with the Cowboys down 7 trying to get the Giants off the field on 3rd down. Scandrick had position but just got outplayed by Cruz once the ball was in the air.

The defense and the offensive line lost the game. A 21-0 deficit was just too much to overcome without a few boneheaded mistakes by the Giants. Maybe with a full offseason the defense will be able to grasp the complex Rob Ryan defense. There was way too much confusion pre-snap in the defense.

I knew the offensive line would be an issue heading into the season when the Cowboys cut 3 former pro bowlers. Unfortunately their youth and inexperience really showed in the most important game of the season.

Tony Romo is a great quarterback. He was the only reason the game wasn't a complete disaster in the 2nd half. He was sacked 6 times and I think there could have been at least 6 more if he wasn't making free rushers miss.

Why did it take until halftime for the Cowboys to adjust on offense and defense? By halftime it was really too late to comeback without playing nearly flawlessly in the 2nd half.

I came to the conclusion after the first embarrassing loss to the Eagles that the Cowboys were a mediocre team. So 8-8 is a fitting finish to the season.

There is a lot of work to do in the offseason. The secondary needs a serious makeover. And the offensive line needs major improvement.