I’m sure it is nice for Cowboy fans to hear Wade Phillips’ same old song on a weekly basis; something along the lines of, “Well, we certainly need to get better, and we will. It’s frustrating, but we’re not done yet and we’ll get better.”
How Phillips mustered up the strength to make a statement like this after losing Tony Romo for 6-8 weeks in a shameful loss in Jerry’s World to the Giants on Monday night I will never understand.
At 1-5, the Cowboys are looking up in the NFC East in which the rest of the teams are over .500, including the Giants sitting atop at 5-2. Not since the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals has a team overcome a 1-5 (1-6) record to make the playoffs.
The loss of Romo should rid Cowboy fans of any false hopes, and may just be the breaking point of Jerry Jones’ patience. For an owner who is widely known for his George Steinbrenner-like approach to winning, it has been a confusing time.
Phillips managed to get the Cowboys past the wild card round of the playoffs last year, prior to being obliterated in their divisional match-up against the Vikings 34-3. In 2008, the Cowboys missed the playoffs, and this year they will miss them again. It would be beyond shocking if Phillips managed to come out of this season with his job.
The Cowboys problems cannot be completely blamed on Phillips.
The fact that Dallas has yet to lose a game by more than seven points proves that they have the talent to have a much better record, but that is a given. The Cowboys have an excellent receiver core, a supposedly dynamic running game (yet to consistently establish itself), and some very strong defensive talent. They have yet to put it all together, and now it is too late.
The team has made efforts to get RB Felix Jones the ball, but Jones bulked up a bit in the off-season which seems to have slowed his explosiveness.
It didn’t seem likely that the ending to the Cowboys opener against the Redskins (a holding call on the game winning touchdown that led to a second touchdown) would foreshadow their future, but that is precisely what has happened. Untimely penalties, poor play-calling, and detrimental mistakes have all contributed to the Cowboys’ losses.
Phillips has flip-flopped on what the team needs to fix, and what he thinks about their on-field intensity.
After a week five loss to Tennessee, Phillips said the he liked his team’s celebratory exuberance and encouraged it, only to disapprove of it after the following loss against Minnesota. It’s difficult for a team to stay consistent without a coach that does the same.
The remaining games slated on the Cowboys schedule are highlighted by four more divisional games and visits to Green Bay and Indianapolis. Romo’s earliest point of return would likely be after the Indianapolis contest on December 5th, but it is hard to see the Cowboys winning more than three of their next six.
At 38, Jon Kitna is far from the good graces that earned him a starting job in Detroit a few years ago, and will make his first start in over two years on Sunday. An offense that has struggled all year to find its identity will probably finally find one – conservativeness.
About the Author
Written by Zachary Stanley
By the end of the fall I will have obtained a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. I have been blogging for quite some time and am greatly enjoying my various responsibilities in this field. I am currently a Feature Celtics Columnist and a Featured Sports Contributor for two different sites. I am also a couple weeks from opening up my new blog site, CelticsNotes.com.