New Mantra – No Punts
Just after halftime, about the time the Bears kicked a field goal to make it, 27-14, Chicago over the Cowboys on Monday night from Soldier Field, it became official: I was rooting for the Bears not to have one punt in the entire game.
Unfortunately, I got my wish.
It’s come to that for me; looking for statistical anomalies (negative ones usually) which are more likely to happen than big wins in December for the Cowboys. If I can’t have the playoffs, give me a train wreck.
I used to really care about this team. I really did. That went away years ago, when there still seemed to be some belief in the star on the side of the helmet and what it stood for.
Jerry Jones has taken that away from me, and most Cowboys fans. Yet, the fans still pay big bucks to go to the games and watch them on TV. I’m guilty of the TV part, though I probably haven’t watched every snap of a game in several years now (kids’ soccer games will do that).
We all know what the problem is – an owner acting as GM who refuses to hire a real football man to do the job. The man would never, ever, be able to get a job as a general manager in this league otherwise. And I think he’s gotten worse over time.
It really comes down to the draft. If Jerry could ever figure that one out, he MIGHT be ok. But it has been April’s failures that have led to over 15 years of mediocrity.
Face it – Jerry can’t draft to save his life. It seems the only time that the Cowboys get good players for the roster is when there’s a “football man” hanging around, having a direct influence on the decisions.
Bill Parcells has been gone for seven years, and his influence is still being felt. Current Cowboys who Parcells acquired are still some of the best on the team – Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher. Even 2005 seventh round pick Jay Ratliff was on the field Monday (for the Bears). I’ll give Jerry Sean Lee, but like DeMarco Murray, he’s as fragile as they come. Tyron Smith has been a solid top-10 pick, but that was a no-brainer.
Back to the lack of forcing punts and what it means. It’s clear that this team needs an overhaul on defense. Since they’re closer to rock-bottom, let’s get there. The problem with a top pick in the draft, though, is that you need to hit a home run. The move Jerry made to get a top-5 selection, trading up to get Morris Claiborne in 2012, hasn’t made nearly the impact it should (at least thus far; it’s still early).
And then there’s the coaching staff. That’s been a mess since the moment Parcells left. Wade Phillips was the chosen successor in 2007; a questionable decision, though fans of the Ticket are still thankful for the content it has provided with Fake Wade.
We were all curious to see what Jason Garrett could do with the head coaching reins, and he has been massively disappointing. Don’t get me started on his clock management (or lack of ability to do math). Anyone else tired of hearing, “It’s a process” as the answer to any questions about what the team is doing? How about some fire and brimstone every now and then? How about getting mad after a loss every now and then and saying anything to the effect of, “That was unacceptable; we were awful and that stops right now.”
Nope. Haven’t heard it and won’t.
Garrett could take a few notes from the man whose number was retired by the Bears on Monday night. Mike Ditka, while not the most perfect coach in the world, showed emotion and clearly wanted to win. I think he actually hated to lose more, and it drove him. Garrett? I have no idea what drives him. I guess it’s the process.
Bottom line – this team is bad. Jerry was quoted after Monday’s game as saying that the team “needs to take more risks” to improve the results on the field. Really? That’s the answer? Okay.
We can ask for changes to the coaching staff, make some trades and pick up some more free agents. But we’ve been there, done that.
Maybe Jerry should start by doing something he’s never done – look in the mirror and make the only change that will possibly turn things around.
Until then, I continue hoping that the next punt by an opponent is a long time coming. I’m still waiting. Who is the Bears’ punter, anyway?