Are the 2017 Cowboys more like 2015 or 2016?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys reacts toward a referee in the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys reacts toward a referee in the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams at AT /

After watching the Dallas Cowboys play the first four games of the season, it’s clear they’re inconsistent and unproductive…just like 2015.

During the 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys played its worst football in recent memory. They finishing the season 4-12 and received a top five draft pick in 2016 draft as a result.

Because Tony Romo was injured for the majority of the year, the Cowboys lost 12 games with backup quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel, who combined for an embarrassing two wins!

Still, the most pathetic quarterback play in Cowboys history.

Although Weeden and Cassel didn’t produce many wins that year (and the NFC East was weak), the Cowboys were still in the hunt to win the division late into the season. But every other week the Cowboys lost a close game in the same pathetic fashion — unable to move the ball.

If the Cowboys had a decent quarterback at the helm, they probably would’ve won the division or at least competed for it. Looking back, it was more than a lackluster quarterback play, but rather inept coaching.

2017 Cowboys

This 2017 Cowboys team resembles the one from 2015. The only difference is the quarterback play. Basically, different team — same problem. Or same team — familiar problem.

I know you’re wondering, how is this current and talented team similar to the 4-12 team, and I’ll be more than happy to explain.

All Garrett does is clap loudly!

The Cowboys team of 2015 was just as talented as this current Dallas team .

Even after Romo went down with his first shoulder injury, the expectation was that Weeden would lead the Cowboys to several victories in Romo’s absence, keeping the Cowboys in contention to repeat the previous season’s success.

At the time, there was no need to think otherwise, mainly because Weeden was surrounded with the best offensive line in the NFL. He also had Pro Bowlers Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, contributors Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and a good running game to lean on.

All Weeden needed to do was show up, manage the game, not turn over the ball, and win the game.

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In fact, Weeden delivered on that promise after Romo’s injury and beat the Philadelphia Eagles with a game winning, 42-yard touchdown strike to Terrance Williams on the road.

Weeden continued to play decent up until the Atlanta Falcons game, where Dallas went up 21-7 on the Falcons, only to lose 39-28. Dallas dominated the first half of that game, only to lose and start a seven game losing streak.

Related Story: Breaking Down Brandon Weeden: Why didn't he throw left?

Eventually, Matt Cassel replaced Weeden and Dallas lost several close games because of pathetic  quarterback play and erroneous coaching. Period. Head coach Jason Garrett never put a system in place to fit the skill set of Weeden and Cassel.

Ironically, Cassel won 10 games with the New England Patriots when Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury. Matt Cassel also won 10 games with the Kansas City Chiefs, leading them to the playoffs.

So there’s proof Cassel had the potential to lead Dallas to victories.

And this current team has lost games because of nonexistent coaching, and will continue to lose games because of it, regardless of the ultra-talented roster. The proof was in Sunday’s disappointing defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

Sunday’s humbling defeat to the Rams was deju vu all over again, when Dallas lost to the Falcons two years ago in the same dramatic fashion. No need to rehash the nightmare, but the same problem existed: the Rams made adjustments after halftime and Dallas didn’t make any.

As a result, Dallas lost the game, while everyone wondered how did this team lose a game it should’ve won?

Garrett is using the same template he used in 2015: recognize the problem but fail to fix it. This team is talented but Garrett has no idea how to fix its flaws. 

All Garrett knows how to do it clap loudly!

The Dallas running game is mediocre because of its offensive line play, especially at left guard and right tackle, two positions with new players. Instead of moving La’el Collins to another position or doing something schematically different, Dallas coaching staff does nothing.

It’s clear Collins and the entire offensive line is struggling, killing the running game and forcing Dallas to play in 3rd and long situations, something this offense rarely faced in 2016.

Because Dallas is a run first team, these flaws have affected the entire offense because teams now stack the box and dare Dak Prescott to beat them. Well Dak could beat them if….

Bryant was able to beat man coverage on a consistent basis. Because Dez has struggled with man coverage (he has faced opposing teams with elite corners), Dak has either overthrown Dez or Dez couldn’t make a play on the ball.

So the self-inflicted agony continues…

Instead of lining Dez in the slot or playing to his strengths (slants or any type of short pass routes), Garrett and Scott Linehan will continue to put Dez in positions to struggle.

Once again, there is no creativity, there is no personnel packages that includes Beasley and Ryan Switzer, and there is nothing that keeps the opposing defense guessing.

As I watched the Rams game, it was clear that Dallas was the better team, but when Dallas stopped running the ball…

The Rams took advantage of it.

Dak is beyond capable of running the read option four or five times a game. Linehan can’t have Dak do a read option in critical moments of game to get a first down?

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Just like how Dallas completely abandoned their running game against the Denver Broncos. And we saw the what happened.

How about Rod Marinelli blitzing instead of relying on your front four?  No adjustments or anything.

Dallas has a very talented team that is capable of being 4-0 or at least 3-1. But 2-2?

After watching this team play four games, I believe they’re more like the ’15 Cowboys than the ’16 Cowboys.

It’s easy for Dallas to beat inferior teams like the Giants and Cardinals, but it’s even harder to beat good teams like the Broncos and Rams when Garrett and company makes no adjustments.

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Therefore, we’re witnessing a really good team with no direction.

And that’s why this team is eerie similar to the one of 2015.