Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Where to start? With so many problems in Valley Ranch, that is a very tough question. Like very, very tough. The players lack heart, the coach lacks assertiveness, the team lacks chemistry, and the owner lacks decision making skills. Thus, it is hard to place the blame on one person or on one aspect of this team. All they way around--every angle--the 2008 Dallas Cowboys are a failure of a team. And that may be an understatement. Sp, instead of harping on everything that went wrong and will continue to go wrong, we at DallasDedicated want to look at the glass being half full. If that's possible. Let's look at how the 'Boys can get out of this rut:
1) Let's assume that Wade Phillips remains the coach as Jerry Jones says he will. This leaves us with a few options:
a) Get new Coordinators
Worst case, get rid of Jason Garrett, who has gone from coaching phenom to the coordinator every defense can't wait to face. His schemes are too simple (says Tony Romo, "his schemes are too simple") and he has no variation in his play calling. Wade Phillips, so long as he can get the defense to play in crunch time, can handle the D. In fact, he is a great defensive coach. Since taking over the play calling duties from Brian Stewart, the defense improved dramatically. The offense, however, Romo-less or not, has not been up to par. Or even up to bogey...if that's a phrase. It's definitely not a talent problem, we know that. But Garrett had 10 games to get stand out Roy Williams involved, and never did. How do you get a complimentary threat opposite Terrell Owens and not even utilize him at all? On top of that, you could argue--very convincingly--that Terrell Owens wasn't even used near his potential. Both receivers deserve to be very frustrated. Let Garrett take the Detroit job and look elsewhere for a coordinator that can properly use his weapons.
b) Let Phillips "change" as he says he will.
I don't know how a grown, 62 year old man can change the way he is. The mild manners of Phillips couldn't have been more exemplified than when he sent out the punt team on Sunday against Philly and Romo--by himself--sent them back off. I don't see how Wade can instill discipline in this team after all the breaks and excuses he has made for them. The players WANT discipline, just ask Bradie James, he's been open about this. James, Zach Thomas, and others have been critical of the squad's chemistry. But, when asked about this problem Wade brushed it off as "not a problem". Great. More Confusion. But change is still an option, supposedly.
2) Let's assume Jones goes back on his word and decides to relieve Phillips of his duties (which isn't looking likely)
a) Hire Mike Shanahan. He is a proven winner, and an offensive specialist. He has a great record of keeping his players under control as well. Lastly, and most certainly, he really had no cause for his firing this week. He will assuredly be one of the hottest coaches on the market. Though not likely, don't put it past Jones to go back on his word and pursue this vacancy no one foresaw. However, what an option this would be--definitely one to brighten the spirits of Dallas fans. Update: ESPN News is reporting that Dallas is a possible destination for the ex-Denver coach. Impossible, you say? We will see.
b) Hire someone else. Before Shanahan went on the market, the only real option was Bill Cowher, who wants too much control for Jones' taste. I believe this is one of the reasons Jones decided to keep Wade on staff--the lack of options had he decided to fire him. So consider this option hopeless.
Only a few options for Cowboys fans this offseason--few of which seem to satisfy the fans after another disappointing season. Jerry Jones can whip out the pocket book as often and as heavily as he wants, but we've come to learn that doesn't build chemistry...or a Super Bowl win...better yet, a playoff win. Or a playoff appearance, for that matter. Something has to be shaken up in order to avoid a repeat of this season. So far, though, nothing seems to be in the works. If the only change we can count on is "change" from Wade Phillips, don't have any expectations for the 2009 season, even if it is in a billion dollar stadium.
Coming this week: The First Annual Dallas Sports Awards 2008