Dallas Cowboys: Injuries aside, this coaching staff is failing

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

For every step forward, the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff pulls them back.

What a difference a week makes. The Dallas Cowboys played their most inspired effort in a win against the Minnesota Vikings just eight days ago. Optimism reigned, and fans and local media alike anticipated a push to the playoffs in the pitiful NFC East. Of course, the Cowboys suffered the cruel indignity that is the NFL’s war of attrition against the Washington Football Team. Now, their current reality suggests a different fate.

Look, losing your starting tackles on the opening drive is bad enough. But the Cowboys managed to keep it close on Thanksgiving Day going into the fourth quarter. But the “class” of the team from Landover, Maryland proved to be too much in yet another demoralizing, humiliating loss on–guess what–yet another nationally-televised stage. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

It wasn’t just the loss of tackles Cameron Erving or Zack Martin. It was the truly questionable decision making by a coaching staff that I’d previously and unnecessarily lauded that helped doom any chances to further any notion of playoff viability.

The sad thing is that the Cowboys will invariably tilt at this capricious windmill and try to salvage some kind of weird playoff berth. There is the tale of the eternal optimist that comes to mind. You can hand them a box chock-full or horse manure, and they’re still going to dive in and search for some nonexistent thoroughbred. It’s just their nature.

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But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m particularly irked about two particular decisions by the coaching staff during the course of last Thursday’s game. Namely, the first-half choice to go for it on fourth down. To be specific, it wasn’t the option to go for it then. I have absolutely no problem with that. What I have a problem with is the call to opt for a pass. There was an inches-to-go scenario there. Run it. Sneak it! Do anything other than the hackneyed decision to go with a low-percentage pass play. The other was that idiotic fake punt in the fourth quarter when the game was still, you know, an actual game.

First of all, that play took forever to materialize. The object of that kind of gambit is to catch your opponent off guard. And sure, there was a receiver open deep. But again, the play call needs to make sense in order for it to have any chance of working. So once receiver Cedric Wilson decided to make a run for it, their fate was sealed. It was still a 20-16 contest at that point, but the game effectively ended right there.

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The Washington Football Team would then go on to score twenty-one fourth-quarter points to make a someone decent football game an embarrassing laugher against the home team. Given Jerry Jones’s predilection for losing with his own guys instead of winning with someone else’s, I doubt there will be any changes to coaching staff, or the roster for that matter. One would like to think this is going to get better, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a plan in place.

  • Published on 12/01/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/01/2020 at 09:43 AM