Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams (83) fumbles into the end zone during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 30-21. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For the Dallas Cowboys it’s Just the Same Old “Stuff” – Different Day

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys free safety Barry Church (42) and cornerback Brandon Carr (39) react as the San Diego Chargers celebrate a touchdown by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

At some point you just need to accept that you are what you are. On Sunday afternoon the Dallas Cowboys were a big steaming pile of “Stuff”. Don’t let the score deceive you into thinking it was relatively close either. The Cowboys got some lucky breaks to even score 21. The Chargers absolutely dominated a game they had no business keeping close, let alone – winning.

The Cowboys running game was effective most of the afternoon but Bill Callahan was discontent with merely running the ball. He was going to pass the ball whether the Cowboys could successfully execute passing or not. It was “or not”. Pass protection was embarrassingly poor most of the day. When the protection was good, the receivers couldn’t get open. When the receivers COULD get open, Romo wasn’t looking.

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett checks his play chart during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Passing game stats will show moderate success. Those stats are terribly misleading if you actually watched the game. The last “real” drive of the game that ended in the Terrance Williams goal line fumble was gifted. Make no mistake, the Chargers allowed the Cowboys to slowly move down the field.

The running game was the only truly effective aspect of the offense and it was severely neglected. Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan deserve the blame for this. This game’s play calling was purely horse…”stuff”.

Entering the game the Chargers were the league’s worst pass defense. It seems the Cowboy’s coaching staff devised a game plan to take advantage of this weakness. But they refused to adapt when the game plan wasn’t working. This refusal to adapt is almost unforgivable at the NFL level. Every coach should have the ability and willingness to adapt when something is not working as planned. Yet, this coaching staff could not/ would not adapt.

Same old “stuff” – Different day.  The Cowboys proved they were not a good team. Like I said before the game in Sport DFW’s Sunday Morning Predictions,

The Cowboys need to avoid The Big Letdown they have become known for. All too often the Cowboys fall apart immediately following impressive victories. Last week was impressive. How the Cowboys play today will say a lot about what Cowboys fans can expect from their team in 2013.

If the Cowboys play a solid and clean game, void of mental errors and half-assedness, then the Cowboys may have turned the corner. If the game is the typical sloppy play and effort fans have grown accustomed to, then season expectations need to be adjusted.

I’m not bragging that I saw this coming either. I actually picked the Cowboys to win. I thought they HAD  turned the corner. I thought they HAD learned from all of their painful lessons of the past. The reality is they had done neither.

This isn’t about just one game. This was a statement about who they are. The Cowboys had the talent to beat the Chiefs in week 2. But they didn’t show up. The Cowboys had the ability to (easily) beat the Chargers on Sunday. But they didn’t show up.

Players, Coaches, Front Office – everyone is to blame. This is about mental preparedness and desire to be the best. Obviously they all want to win but desire to be the best is a completely different thing.

This is why the Cowboys always fall apart after big wins. Doing so is a common occurrence for poor-to-mediocre teams. The true Champions of Sport develop a desire to be the best. That’s what makes them so different. The Cowboys are as very far from that mindset. The Cowboys are very far from being Champions.

Dallas is good one week and complete “stuff” the next week. That’s what they are. Until something changes within them they won’t be any more than that. I thought that was going to change on Sunday, It clearly had not. These are the same old Dallas Cowboys doing the same old “stuff”– just a different day.

Other Observations

  • The pass protection was largely lazy and slow footed. Effort seemed to be the problem.
  • Dwyane Harris cannot drop easy balls on 3rd down. Earlier in the year it was Terrance Williams with the key drops. I’m starting to think Cole Beasley is the best option after Miles, Dez, and Jason.
  • George Selvie is continuing to impress as is Nick Hayden. This is a testament to Rod Marinelli.
  • Rod Marinelli may be the next Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Sean Lee is doing a better job disguising his coverage. The same cannot be said for anyone else on defense.
  • This defense is supposed to alternate between different coverages and packages. It is supposed to disguise its intentions. Instead, no one is disguising coverage (Except Lee and Church) and the defense is extremely transparent. More on this in future articles…
  • Morris Claiborne still has great ball skills – although it’s recently been tough to prove. He is always turning to look for the ball (sadly too late sometimes). The time will soon come when he starts picking them off in bunches.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Tags: Bill Callahan Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett Rod Marinelli

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