Dallas Cowboys: Tanking not an Option


With the Dallas Cowboys season nearly lost, the temptation to “tank” for a better draft pick grows.

Let’s face it. The season is lost. The Dallas Cowboys have a better chance of getting struck by lightning while holding a winning Powerball ticket than they do at winning the NFC East and making the playoffs.

Romo will likely need to run the table to win the division and with upcoming games against the undefeated Carolina Panthers and two December road games against the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills, running the table seems extremely unlikely.

For a team with seemingly nothing to gain, focusing on the draft is a natural reaction. At 2-6 the Cowboys are in prime position to lay claim to one of the 2016 Draft’s highest picks. What appears to be tragedy this season, could be fortune next season.

But even when logic tells us that it’s better to lose games and get a higher pick for next year, reality says that just can’t happen. Giving up games is a slippery slope in all sports, especially the NFL. And Jason Garrett’s brand of football makes giving up absolutely impossible.

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Jason Garrett abides by a in-the-moment mantra that focuses on one day at a time. He worked to instill an attitude that focuses on “getting better every day.” In this philosophy, the big picture becomes almost irrelevant. Garrett demands his coaches and players to focus on what is in front of them and not what’s down road. Giving up because of the record simply can’t factor in.

The Dallas Cowboys are a team that forgot how to win. The repeated losses deflated their late-game confidence leading to fourth quarter breakdowns in very winnable games. But confidence is one thing and giving up is an entirely different animal.

Giving up is a resilient disease that can be incurable to coaching staffs. Often times, the only remedy to giving up is to flush the coaching staff and rebuild from the top down. That will not happen in Dallas.

Jason Garrett carries the bulk of the blame in the Dallas Cowboys 2-6 record. His failure to adjust the offense to fit his injury-depleted personnel has been well-noted. Questionable play-calling and player development almost exceed his inability to make in-game adjustments.

Despite all of that, Jason Garrett is here to stay. Garrett signed a 5 year/ $30M contract back in January making his departure highly unlikely. Jerry and Stephen Jones are said to love Garrett better than any head coach they’ve ever had. And had Tony Romo and Dez Bryant not been injured the in the first seven quarters of the 2015 season, Garrett would have probably been standing at 7-1 right now.

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While the Cowboys are clearly unable and unwilling to “tank” the season, they should be open to experimenting for the sake of growth. Can Morris Claiborne return kicks? He did in college why not give it a shot? Lucky Whitehead has an interesting skill set that makes him a weapon out of the backfield. He was used as runner in college on a regular basis, let’s see more this season.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Sean Lee has had two concussions in five weeks.

We know the cumulative effects can cause permanent damage so the Cowboys would be wise to consider sitting Lee for the season.

The Cowboys can force-feed the ball to players like Gavin Escobar, Devin Street, Christine Michael, Geoff Swaim, and Brice Butler. It’s time to see what they have and see if they can handle a bigger role next season.

It may even be time to sit underachieving players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Rolando McClain, and Tyrone Crawford and see if they can either spark their play or discover hidden talent behind them.

Next: The Surprising Play of Darren McFadden

The Dallas Cowboys have a unique opportunity that cannot be wasted, even if their playoff chances appear lost. This is a chance to learn new things and to try new things but it’s not a chance to tank the season, because there’s no coming back from “giving up.”