Nearly All of the Cowboys’ Gambles Backfired
The potential “big” news this offseason is Jerry Jones’ statement that he will consider making some significant changes. Involving someone. Or something.
Rick Gosselin says that Jerry needs to make dramatic changes.
We know what changes Jerry won’t make, though, so it’s hard to take this talk seriously at this point.
Think about this—the Cowboys’ current playoff drought is as long as the period when Dave Campo coached the team. Yes, the current team has done better than the five-win teams of 2000, 2001, and 2002, but has it really been better as a fan?
Well, not while we watch the playoffs without the Cowboys yet again.
Three teams that played on Sunday—Indianapolis, Washington, and Seattle—took major gambles this year, and each team had fantastic years given initial expectations.
Jerry keeps calling his team a Super Bowl team (tough without making the playoffs), but his gambles in 2012 (and 2011 for that matter) failed quite miserably.
1. Receiving Corps
Gamble: Hoping someone would emerge as a third receiver.
Backfire: Kevin Ogletree had one good game early in the season. After catching eight passes in the season opener against the Giants, he averaged less than two receptions per game for the rest of the year. Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley showed some promise, but the Cowboys stuck with Ogletree for much of the year.
2. Loading Up on Corners
Gamble: Loading up on cornerbacks but not picking up a quality strong safety.
Backfire: Barry Church looked like a decent starter but missed the final 13 games with an Achilles injury. That left the Cowboys with plenty of corners and Danny McCray at safety. At one point, Dallas used $50 million cornerback Brandon Carr as a free safety on passing downs. Other safeties included household names like Charlie Peprah and Eric Frampton.
Speaking of those corners, they combined for a total of four interceptions.
3. Younger Guards
Gamble: The Cowboys tried to get younger by moving on from Kyle Kosier (34) and Montrae Holland (32) and signing Nate Livings (30) and Mackenzy Bernadeau (26).
Backfire: Although the middle of the line seemed to get better by the end of the season, Romo often faced pressure up the middle. Moreover, the team was abysmal running the ball, averaging less than 80 yards per game.
4. Swapping Tackles
Gamble: The Cowboys moved Doug Free to right tackle and Tyron Smith to left tackle. Both players would therefore return to their natural positions.
Backfire: Free was a disaster. By year’s end, the team often substituted Jermey Parnell at right tackle, ostensibly to give Free a “break.” Smith was better, but not much better.
5. Injury-Prone Young Stars
Gamble: In the past few drafts, the team found some budding stars in Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, and DeMarco Murray. However, all three came to the team with injury problems.
Backfire: All three have shown great promise but all three have missed significant time because of injuries. The team relied heavily on Lee as a playmaker, and his absence in the final 10 games hurt. Carter seemed to fill Lee’s shoes, but he missed the last five games. The result was that the Cowboys had to turn to Dan Connor and Ernie Sims late in the season, and it was no coincidence that the team could not slow down the Redskins in the season finale.
Murray looks like a lead running back, but he missed five games in 2012 along with the final three in 2011. And with Felix Jones showing next to nothing for most of the year, the team needed Murray for more than 11 games.