All week the media has been talking about the disaster that is the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. Most of the criticism has been directed at head coach Wade Phillips. While Phillips certainly is responsible for his share of the problems, he by no means is alone.
With a record of 1-6, the Cowboys are off to their worst start since 1989. The first few losses were viewed as flukes, but the last couple have made this once-proud team a laughing stock.
There is plenty of blame to go around, and it starts at the top. The general manager has made personnel selections that are not working, and created an atmosphere where no one is held accountable.
Head coach Phillips has plenty of blame, but not what is most commonly stated. What we hear most is that Phillips is not a motivator. That may be true, but it
does not matter. These players have millions of reasons to be motivated and they are all green. There are police officers, firefighters, and soldiers all over the country who put their lives on the line for less money per year than these players will make in one game. Most of them do not have a Jimmy Johnson in their face for motivation either. If the players are cashing a check, they owe it to Jerry Jones to play hard. Period.
And then you have the players who will say how much they love the game. Hogwash. They love the game so much that they will hold out of camp or even part of the season during a contract dispute. If they really love the game, they would play it. Only 53 men in the world get the chance to put that star on their helmet and go out on that field. Somehow we get stuck with several players who just don’t appreciate the opportunity they have. All they care about is the dollar. If you disagree, just take a look at the picture with this story. This photo was taken during the final minute of the Cowboys loss to Jacksonville. Not just a loss, but a good old butt-kicking. Jacksonville tore apart the Cowboys defense, especially the secondary. Gerald Sensabaugh, a member of that secondary, is shown laughing and joking on the sidelines. The funny thing is, the Cowboys fans aren’t laughing. It was a miserable game that 80,000 people paid good money to see with the expecation that their team would win, or at least go down trying.
That being said, the bottom line is that we dont care if the players love the game. It makes no difference to the fans if they are playing for money or love of the game. What we want are players who love to win. Or even better, players who hate to lose. The way the Cowboys played, they should be humiliated, not cheerful and laughing. The truly great ones cared. No Cowboy whose name you see in the Ring of Honor would ever laugh while losing. This attitude is the main reason for the Cowboys failures.
Wade Phillips is not the only one to be blamed for this apathy. Although he is a part of it, the majority goes to the general manager. It is the GM who makes the personnel decisions and the contracts. If anyone believes Phillips has any disciplinary power over the team, they don’t know the Cowboys.
Let’s blame Phillips for what he is really responsible for – the vaunted Phillips 3-4 defense. This defense is weak against the run and puts no pressure on the quarterback. This defense makes mediocre quarterbacks look like Troy Aikman. Has anyone really had faith in this defense since they went to the 3-4? By the way, that decision was before Phillips ever arrived in Valley Ranch.
The secondary has been horrible. How many chances will Dave Campo get?
Offensively, the Cowboys are just plain predictable. How many times do we have to see an incomplete pass on 1st down followed by a draw play on 2nd and 10? When was the last time it worked? Does Jason Garret realize that the opposing teams have access to game film? When you call the same plays over and over, the other teams expect it, prepare for it, and stop it. If this is what you get from a Princeton education, then UNT is looking pretty darn good.
Supposedly, Hudson Houck is coaching the offensive line. Unless he is coaching how to false start, hold, and let the defender run by you, he is not earning his keep.
Somehow, Special Teams coach Joe DeCamillis has neglected to inform the team they have to tackle on kickoffs and punts. Dez Bryant’s athletic ability on returning punts may be the only thing DeCamillis can hang his hat on.
Why would we blame Phillips and not these other coaches? He is the head coach, but these are not his selected people. Once again, we have to look at the general manager, Jerry Jones.
After Sunday’s game, Jones said he was embarrased and that there will be changes. All we have seen was the release of a 2nd team linebacker. Wow. Wake up and open your eyes Jerry, only you can make the needed adjustments, in personnel and especially in attitude. You once said “We will win, we must win. To win is the name of the game.” Why don’t you say it again? This time to the players.