It had been THREE whole months since my last post on my beloved Dallas Cowboys that I'd forgotten my password. Yeah, that gives you a pretty good, clear idea or indication on how the roof fell in and quickly on my team. Once again, in an even year, the Cowboys fell off of the mountain in what was supposed to be regarded as THE year.(We thought that 2008 was bad) We found out that while this is a very talented team, injuries can quickly destroy a season before it really even begins. There just isn't that fine of a line between winning and losing so critical turnovers and silly untimely mistakes can also spell the difference between what would have been a W that becomes instead a dismaying, disheartening loss. The 2009 season and end result was enough to win Wade Phillips a stay of execution. He wound up being what we THOUGHT he would be if the 2010 season was anything less than 2009: FIRED. Only it was SO bad, the beginning that it happened midseason. I'll back up to the very beginning. A mistake-penalty filled 13-7 loss to the division rival and recently hapless Washington Redskins. The game-winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams as time expired was nullified by a holding penalty on a backup on the O-Line. Then losing their home opener to the Bears(who hadn't been any good for a few years) was up next. More penalties and the defense gave up critical big plays. The defense, which had allowed the second fewest points in 09, would up falling WAY off in 2010. After seemingly regrouping to wax the previously unbeaten Texans down in Houston, the Cowboys had an early bye week. Certainly things were back in order. The Tennessee Titans were up next at home. But a mixture of events happened much like the first two losses. It was a 34-27 loss and certainly a big determining factor on how the rest of the year was going to play out. It was a game that the Cowboys absolutely, without question, should have won. But as it turned out, it wasn't just that simple. Had they come out and taken care of business like the should have and won, perhaps we're looking at something different entirely. Next up, another blown game up Minnesota to a suddenly mortal 41 year old Brett Favre and the equally dissappointing Vikings. At 1-4, the New York Giants were coming to town. THIS was the game in which the Cowboys were going to finally right the ship once and for all or else, 2010 was to be an OH WELL WAIT 'TILL NEXT YEAR song. It started off well as the Cowboys got up 20-7 with the aid of two intereceptions of Eli Manning and rookie sensation WR/Kick returner Dez Bryants 89 yard punt return for a touchdown. Then Romo dropped back and completed a pass and got drilled in the upper chest area by an unblocked(a blown assignment on a rookie fullback)Giant linebacker (Michael Boley) and he was down and out with a broken collarbone. The Giants roared back against a suddenly passive defense. Backup Jon Kitna, rusty for the two quarters which saw the Giants take control of the game with 31 unanswered points, led a rally that fell short as the Cowboys sank to 1-5 on the year in the 41-35 loss. The Cowboys lost more than the game though. Romo was done for the year as it would turn out. He was able to play in December but it was pointless with the Cowboys playoff hopes out of reach by then. The next two weeks following the Monday night Oct. 25 loss to the Giants and the loss of Romo, saw two absolutely miserable showings that gave Owner/GM Jerry Jones absolutely NO choice but to let Wade Phillips go. Another embarrassing home loss to an average Jacksonville Jaguars team and the plain WE QUIT ON WADE FORFEIT up at Green Bay which made the firing an absolute NO OTHER CHOICE. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Troy Aikman's backup in the 1990's, was promoted to be the interim head coach.
At 1-7, the Cowboys still had another half of a football season left to play. Garrett took over with a 38 year old backup quarterback and the team all of a sudden started to show up on the field again. In his debut, Garrett let the Cowboys up to the Meadowlands and knocked off the Giants 33-20, exacting a measure of revenge for what had happened earlier. The Giants had been 6-2 and flying high heading into that contest. Garrett put an emphasis back into mixing it up on offense with more running and screen passes. The defense also forced 3 turnovers. Then came incredible as it was and sounded, their FIRST home win of the season, in a 35-19 win over the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys would go on to win 5 of their 8 second half games. Wins over the Colts, Redskins and Eagles to go along with the wins over the Giants and Lions. Their three losses(the Saints on Thanksgiving, the Eagles in their other game, and a loss to the Cardinals on Christmas Night) were by a COMBINED 7 points. Seven points from going 8-0 in the second half of the season for Jason Garrett. This was despite losing Kitna, Dez Bryant, and LB Marcus Spears along the way for the season as well. The Cowboys beat the Eagles in the regular season finale with their third string QB Stephen McGee. Well a disappointing year in 2010? Definitely overall. Especially considering that the Super Bowl is going to be played in Big D and that sparking Cowboys'Stadium in about a month. But are things looking up? Certainly. I have maintained that the Tony Romo led Cowboys would have turned things around had he not gone down for the season. But Wade Phillips being canned? Would that not have happened? It seemed like the team quitting on him was the bigger issue. The defense, very dominant a year ago, surrendered the second MOST points this year after allowing the second fewest the previous year, as I mentioned before. They seemingly played hurt all year, except maybe for DeMarcus Ware. But obviously, the Cowboys look to improve on that. Romo will be back ofcourse next year but a couple of others on offense may not. Roy Williams and Marion Barber are names that are being mentioned as being on that possible casualty list. The running game could very well be potent with Choice and Felix Jones. Gronkowski, who missed that blocking assignment that nearly got Romo killed, would need to develope more as fullback, especially catching and blocking. Columbo is another possible casualty on the offensive line. Austin, Witten, and Dez Bryant will only get better. I would say that the Place kicker shouldn't be David Bueller.. He was too inconsistent. He's like the Raiders Sebastian Janakowski. He can nail a 55 yarder and miss a PAT in the same game like he did in the one point loss to Arizona.
I won't speculate anymore on the roster. I DO think that Jason Garrett did enough to be the Head man. 5-3 record, that easily could have been 8-0 in the second half of a season where the wheels had come off in the first half. He knows the organization, the players, and he brings the energy, passion, and discipline as seen so far. It was a dissappointing year in Dallas in 2010. But sometimes it happens to good teams. And sometimes it's necessary to take a step back sometimes before putting a best foot forward.