Monday, September 13, 2010

Offensive Defense: "Sky is Falling"

What's awesome about week 2? Failing epic-failure in front of a millions of football starved citizens!

What has changed? If we look at the Cowboys roster from a purely personnel standpoint, the team is virtually identical to that of the previous years'. The coaching staff is the same, as so too is (sadly) the GM and owner Jerry Jones. Jones' prowess on the GM front has been exhibited this last summer by:

A) Not drafting young up-and-coming O-linemen to rebuild and help replace Romo's increasingly brittle, aged, and mentally suspect protection group.

B) Deciding to make a kick-off specialist a field goal kicker, who is 1 for 3 in two close games.

C) Picking up St. Louis (yes, ST. LOUIS) reject and perennially flagged misfit, Alex Barron. So let me get this straight, you cut Flozel Adams - the second most penalized player in the NFL - and replace him with the MOST penalized player in the NFL? Really? Jerry Jones total facial reconstructions may not have been a cry for help, but an early indication of dementia.

So after the Cowboy's second week in a row flop at home to the Chicago Bears what good if any is there to take away of a group that was projected as the top of the NFL class. The vaunted Defense and the saving grace (for optimism's sake) in week 1 was exposed by one of the most highly intercepted quarterbacks in a two year period, as Jay Cutler went on to have one of his highest passer ratings EVER. The secondary was destroyed by the long bomb as Cutler's protection tightened (which curiously coincided with Wade Phillips dialing-down on blitzes), but there were opportunities for interceptions left on the field. The biggest problem in the secondary seems to be the players trusting each other in man to man coverage, as the DBs and safety continually over-pursue past tipped or errant balls to support.

The final score may indicate a step up on offensive production, but once again Romo amassed many yards for little return as the offense only managed one touchdown again this week (the other TD being a special teams kickoff return by Dez Bryant). It seems like no one was on their game, as lone brightspot Miles Austin coughed a pass into the hands of the Bears, as did tight end Jason Witten (admittedly because of an off-target throw). The final comeback attempt was snuffed out when 3rd string (5th string) receiver Roy Williams fumbled any credibility he had left. Some will decry the abandonment of a "promising" running-game, but credit should go to the Bears D for breaking through the supposed healthy Cowboys line (clearly Columbo is not in game-shape).

Which brings up my first thought - what has changed? The coaches are the same, the owner/GM is the same, most every skill position (except kicker lolz) is the same. All the stars of big D are unchanged, so why are they so flat? Why is there no urgency? Is the team mentally so weak and ill-coached that they are crumbling under the weight of expectation since Dallas is hosting the Super Bowl? Once again, from a personnel standpoint, the math just doesn't make since for this kind of start.

But perhaps "potential" and "expectation" are too strong and dangerous of words for these leaderless Cowboys to overcome. Who is going to lead them into hot-handed Houston next weekend if they can't lead themselves? Oh yeah...this guy...

Cya at 0-3!

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