Cowboys Gambled And It’s Cost Them Dearly


The Dallas Cowboys gambled on a few players and positions and it’s hurting them severely.

Last season, the Cowboys allowed several players to walk and sign with other teams. Some of these players were quite good, others were just role players. Overall, they played a pivotal role in the Cowboys 12-4 season, which captured the NFC East crown and a playoff victory over the Detroit Lions.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys let several players walk, like linebackers Bruce Carter and Justin Durant, defensive linemen George Selvie, Henry Melton, Anthony Spencer and defensive back Sterling Moore.

On the offensive side of the ball, offensive lineman Jermy Parnell and wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris departed, too.

The biggest question is why didn’t the Cowboys upgrade the backup quarterback position, or simply draft a quarterback.

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Of course, the NFL’s leading rusher and Cowboys single-season rushing leader departed, too. That would be DeMarco Murray, but the focus isn’t on him right now.

The Cowboys didn’t re-sign most of these players because of salary cap reasons. That part was understandable, considering the bad financial decisions in years past. Another reason is because the Cowboys had depth at certain positions, like linebacker and both offensive and defensive lines.

That explains the departure of Carter and Durant. The same goes with Parnell, Selvie, and Melton. When it comes to Moore, Harris, and the backup quarterback position, I’m not sure what the Cowboys were thinking, or were they thinking at all.

The Cowboys are suffering on special teams with no kickoff/punt returner, a mediocre secondary, and awful back up quarterback play, the latter being the primary reason why Dallas has lost five games in a row. The Cowboys gambled with these positions and its hurting them badly.

With Harris, he either set the Cowboys up with good field position based on his play-making ability or he was making tackles on the punt and kickoff teams.

In addition to his special teams skills, he was a decent receiver, too.  Harris tallied three receiving touchdowns as a seldom used wideout while in Dallas.

Harris showed promise at the position. Now playing for the hated New York Giants, Harris has three receiving touchdowns and is one of Eli Manning‘s regular targets. Harris also had a game winning, 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against his former team.

The irony is that punt returner Cole Beasley muffed a punt in the same game to basically give the Giants a victory. This proves my point that the Cowboys don’t have a punt returner or anyone to return kickoffs. Beasley does absolutely nothing on punt returns besides catch the ball.

Ditto Lucky Whitehead. Lance Dunbar tore his ACL returning a kickoff against the New Orleans Saints.

Dunbar did okay, but didn’t get enough reps to create any kind of fear in the opposition.

The lack of a bona fide return man only hinders an already inept offense. Instead of scoring a touchdown or at least getting good field position, the offense has to march 80 or 90 yards down the field to score, which doesn’t happen often. One must wonder why the Cowboys didn’t address this issue through free agency or the draft.

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Yes, I’m aware of Harris’ production last season as a kick returner, where he didn’t return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown. That’s not the point. The point is the Cowboys’ special teams unit lacks a legit return specialist.

The other area the Cowboys are lacking is in the secondary. Although corner backs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are playing better, they aren’t doing enough because neither one has an interception. In fact, J.J. Wilcox is the only defensive back with an interception.

As a team, the defense only has three interceptions, the other two are by linebacker Sean Lee and defensive end Greg Hardy. That’s not good.

Moore played better than Claiborne and Carr last season. Moore wasn’t the next Deion Sanders or anything, but he played smart, took good angles on tackles, and used proper technique. Moore was consistent and was always around the ball.

Carr constantly gets beat in coverage and Claiborne gets called for holding regularly.

Not only was Moore a decent cover corner, he covered the slot receiver, too. For the Cowboys not to keep Moore and depend on Carr and Claiborne is mind blowing. At least the Cowboys have a good pass rush to mask the weak secondary.

The Cowboys put their faith and season in the hands of backup quarterback Brandon Weeden and then Matt Cassel. This decision haunts the Cowboys worse than a Freddy Krueger nightmare. Knowing Tony Romo‘s injury history, one must wonder why the Cowboys didn’t find a better backup quarterback for this very reason.

Weeden proved last season he’s not a capable backup quarterback. To expect Weeden to come in and save the day is like asking scary man Freddy Krueger not to terrorize his victims in their nightmares. It’s not going to happen.

Cassel isn’t much better. Only difference between the two is that Cassel will take chances throwing the deep ball with his weaker arm. Other than that, the Cowboys don’t have a quarterback until Romo returns.

Forget about Kellen Moore because the Cowboys brass act as if he’s nonexistent, apparently not wanting to give him a look.

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Because the Cowboys gambled and lost, they have now lost five games in a row and counting – and they’re also counting the days until Romo returns.