That’s a really hard question to answer. From firing Monte Kiffin, Jason Garrett or half of the Defense, to sticking together for three or four more games and then look into the future with a whole new project.
The true is that things weren’t supposed to be like this. Jerry Jones has invested heavily in this group of players. Just two years ago, he brought in the best defensive back on the market; then he dealt for the ‘best rated corner’ since the days of Deion ‘Primetime’ Sanders. He even has used two of the Cowboys three latest first round picks in boring offensive linemen.
Jerry has always paid good money to his best players, and maybe that has been one of his most glaring mistakes. Way too often, good players before a contract, become mediocre players after signing one.
He has stick with Jason Garrett, even when results haven’t been as good as expected. For once, it seems that Mr. Jones is trying to look at the big picture and recognize that Garrett has, slowly but steadily, developed a ‘right kind of team’ with the ‘right kind of guys’.
Heck, he even promised to pay Tony Romo over a hundred million dollars.
So, what happened?
Why this Defense is so terrible?
When you have proven players like Demarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Jason Hatcher, Orlando Scandrick and even Brandon Carr playing in your defensive unit and you can’t even stop a single offensive series in a game against a mediocre team commanded by a backup journeyman quarterback, then the problem has to be in the system.
I know Monte Kiffin is a legendary coach who revolutionized football like a decade ago. The problem is that it happened a decade ago.
By now it’s clear that this Defense can’t stop anybody and that’s not because it doesn’t have the right personnel. Yes, maybe an experienced safety, a good lineman and some depth at corner would help, but these are good players (or at least not as terrible as they have looked all season long).
All of which leads me to the following conclusions:
1) The Cowboys aren’t going anywhere this year. I still believe they will make the playoffs, but with this Defense you can’t expect to beat San Francisco or Carolina on Wildcard Weekend. So if they do make the playoffs, it will be just one and done.
2) The Cowboys aren’t that far from sustained success. J & J (Jerry and Jason) made a mistake by hiring Kiffin, but that’s an easy mistake to correct. Fire Kiffin, hire the best available defensive coach on the market (Marinelli?) and select three solid day-1 contributors defensive players in the first three rounds of next year draft (please no more Tight Ends or sexy trades!).
And maybe, just maybe, 2014 will finally be the year of the Cowboys. The pieces are in place, Tony Romo has matured at last, Demarco Murray has shown he can carry the workload, and the players are buying Garrett’s approach.
Let’s just find the ‘right kind of Defensive Coordinator’…
Follow Luis on twitter @dominguez_luisf.