Cowboys 2013 – Where to Start?
Let’s start with the premise that the Cowboys will not get rid of their ineffective general manager. Despite very mediocre results the past 3–8–17 years, the Cowboys GM is the most secure person in pro football. Owner Jerry Jones apparently loves the guy (he must have revealing photos of Jerry or something right)? So until Jerry decides that .500 ain’t so great, the Cowboys and their fans should expect 2014 to look a lot like 2013.
The one thing Jerry does well is sell a dream. Not surprising since he made his first fortune in oil and gas where you have to convince a lot of very wealthy, smart individuals that you’re going to drill a big hole in the earth and gold will pour out of it. Back in training camp last summer, Jerry was all smiles and handshakes and convinced a lot of people that THIS was the year. The past couple of seasons were a warm-up for Jason Garrett to get a feel of the job, learn how to be a great NFL coach. Jerry spouted 2013 was the year the gold started gushing. Problem was, and is, Jerry runs the show and Garrett is just his field manager. Jerry decides where to drill, how deep, who does the drilling and how much to pay everyone. Garrett gets propped up like a cardboard Cowboy cut-out at one of those fake western towns where things look real until you look behind the scenes.
Having said that, this year’s teams still could have made it to the playoffs without all of the last game drama. Had Dallas beaten the Chiefs instead of the one point loss, and maybe Romo doesn’t throw the crucial late interception against Denver, both very realistic possibilities, then the Cowboys start the year 4-1 instead of 2-3. Maybe it would have been that simple to push them over the hump, by getting off to that kind of start instead of the finger-pointing, head-scratching start they had. Confidence and momentum are everything. Then the Cowboys beat the Redskins and Eagles easily as they did and it’s 6-1. Even if you accept the horrible finish to the Lions game and take a loss and the other games play out as they did, the Cowboys could have headed into their bye week at 7-3 instead of 5-5.
Those little changes, non-mistakes, smart play calling and the season would have been totally different. The Eagles, Skins and Giants were all in the tank in the first half of the season. Dallas would have been in total control. It’s that fine of a line.
Sure DeMarco Murray could have carried the ball more, everyone and his brother had hamstring injuries and DeMarcus Ware couldn’t stay healthy. BUT even with all of that, just a few plays were the difference going into the bye. Even if the final six games went as they did, 10-6 would have been good enough. Good teams find ways to win, not such good teams like the Cowboys always seem to turn those wins into a couple of loses that ultimately kills them.
No way will Monte Kiffin be back next year, as the saying goes “I’m too old for this sh*t,” fits even IF Garrett wanted him back. Bill Callahan will take his 3 yards and a dozen passes philosophy to another team next year (remember it was the Cowboys GM who wanted Rob Ryan out, Kiffin in and Callahan to call the plays; check, check and check). Romo had a decent season, like always, with nothing to show for it, like always. He won’t be gone until Jerry feels he’s gotten enough service to justify the $100 million…at least 4 more seasons.
Garrett gets one more chance to break through the 8 win barrier that is his own personal Captain Ahab’s great white whale. Murray has proven that he deserves the ball 20 times a game and will get it in 2014, and Dez will continue to be one of the most talented albeit, emotionally immature, receivers in the league. The defense can make one more interception and be better than this year’s group. All reasons for optimism by the general manager and come next summer he’ll be showing pearly whites talking about a Super Bowl. My guess is, no more 8-8…the Cowboys will play with the big boys next year, and finish 9-7 and just miss the playoffs…..AGAIN.
Cowboys 2014 Opponents:
Home: Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington
Road: Chicago, Jacksonville, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, Tennessee and Washington.