Cowboys Suffering Because They Believed Their Hype


The Dallas Cowboys are having an awful season because they believed their own hype, placing them last in the NFC East.

When the Cowboys ended their highly successful 2014 season, Dallas was believed to be the front runners to participate in Super Bowl 50. The Cowboys finished the regular season 12-4, won the NFC East crown, went 8-0 on the road, and beat the Detroit Lions in the playoffs.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant led all wideouts with 16 receiving touchdowns and running back DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing with 1,845 yards, setting a franchise single-season rushing record. Also, Murray set an NFL record when he rushed for 100 yards in eight straight games to start a season.

The upcoming season looked tremendous and promising, even when Murray (Benedict Arnold) jumped ship and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys still boasted the best offensive line in football, drafted versatile defensive back Byron Jones in the first round, and had first round grades on two other rookies, defensive end Randy Gregory and offensive lineman La’el Collins.

The Cowboys also signed troubled free-agent sack artist Greg Hardy. So far, so good for the Cowboys in terms of preparing for a Super Bowl run. Everything appeared to be in place for another successful season, en route to holding the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since 1995, when President Bill Clinton was in office.

However, it’s not going to happen this season. There is a simple reason for it,too.

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In reality, the Cowboys believed their own hype, assumed they could do whatever they felt like without any repercussions, or even considering the repercussions. In the off season, the Cowboys operated like defending Super Bowl champs instead a hungry team thirsty for the Lombardi Trophy. They moved right along without addressing key issues and put their faith in the wrong people.

This attitude has cost them dearly.

The backup quarterback position

The Cowboys first major mistake.

Whatever owner Jerry Jones, vice president Stephen Jones, and head coach Jason Garrett saw in backup quarterback Brandon Weeden is ridiculously scary. It’s so scary the trio should never be allowed to judge football talent ever again. Weeden proved last season beyond a doubt that he didn’t belong in the NFL, let alone on an NFL roster.

Against the Arizona Cardinals last season, Weeden played awful, lacked confidence, couldn’t make the proper throws or reads, and couldn’t move the sticks.

Weeden fit the label of a first round bust perfectly. Armed with the knowledge that Weeden was below average at best, the Cowboys’ brass elected to keep him on the roster as Romo’s backup anyway. What’s worse is the Cowboys didn’t draft a quarterback or find another veteran backup quarterback until it was too late.

Veteran backup quarterbacks like  Matt Flynn, Michael Vick, Shaun Hill, Josh McCown, and Matt Schaub, to name a few, were on the market. The Cowboys bypassed them like a statue in a park. Instead, the Cowboys hung onto Weeden as if he were a highly-coveted first round-selection, which he was, that was a budding star, which he’s not.

Even when a team has a serviceable backup quarterback, the front office still looks or inquires about other backup quarterbacks because of the importance of the position.

The Cowboys front office found this out the hard way when Romo injured his clavicle in the second game of the season against the Eagles. Needless to say, Weeden played like the marginal NFL quarterback he is and was demoted after not producing any wins.

For a team that had Super Bowl aspirations, it’s unclear why they would turn to a backup like Weeden, who needed a simple game plan suited for the movie character Forrest Gump. Weeden was Mr. “Dink and Dunk”. I don’t blame Weeden as much I blame the front office for not having a better backup quarterback.

Honestly, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Garrett didn’t have any confidence in Weeden, which explains the vanilla game plan.

Backup quarterback Matt Cassel has taken over for Weeden and he’s worse. His only claim to fame is that he’s won one game, a game where he played poorly, as always. Besides carrying a 1-5 record, Cassel has a 73.5 passer rating, has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5), and passes for a measly 207.5 yards per game, which ranks the Cowboys 29th out of 32 teams.

Cassel overthrows receivers, throws in traffic, telegraphs his passes, and doesn’t see open receivers. In the Green Bay game, for example, Cassel didn’t even look to throw to slot receiver Cole Beasley, who was open on several occasions. Instead, Cassel throws a bad pass to Dez Bryant, which is tipped and intercepted.

Offensive line

The Cowboys offensive line looks like a shell of itself from a season ago. The huge holes that a tractor could drive through no longer exist. The theory that any running back could rush for 1,500 yards behind this massive offensive line is not true. Although the Cowboys are averaging 118.2 rushing yards per game, it’s done with the running back by committee approach with Darren McFadden as the featured runner.

There is no major running threat in the backfield, like Murray was. The Cowboys need a dominant, clock-controlling running game to be successful. Failing to draft a running back is one issue, but not retaining offensive line coach Bill Callahan is the main reason this offensive line is not as dominant as a year ago. Frank Pollack is the new offensive line coach, and he hasn’t done the best of jobs.

Overall, the o-line has played decent, especially when you allow opposing defensive linemen to break your quarterback’s clavicle twice.

The Cowboys dropped the ball this past off season because it thought more highly of itself than it should have.

As a result, the Cowboys will be rewarded a top 10 draft pick in April’s draft.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: How to Save the Season

Hopefully, Dallas won’t drop the ball come draft day.

Then again, anything can happen when a Jerry Jones led team believes their own hype.