When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, the drama swarms around them like a hive of bees on a maple tree. Just like a colony of bees turn pollen and nectar into honey, the Cowboys turn headlines into must read articles because of their play on the field. Either it is a big win or a big loss, rarely anything in between.
The most recent example is the Cowboys inexcusable loss to the then 3-6 Green Bay Packers. This Packers team that was reeling on a five-game losing streak until the Cowboys gave them life and handed them a victory.
Yes, the Cowboys inconsistent play allowed a lackluster Packers team to beat them in an overtime game that the Cowboys should have won and needed to win. But going away from a winning formula breeds a lost, and the Cowboys can only blame themselves because the loss falls on entire team and coaching staff.
Before the Dallas Cowboys can even think about winning they need to clean up a few things first…
The Dallas Cowboys self-inflicted wounds, poor game management, and undisciplined play are things that need to be cleaned up immediately.
I do not want to be the person to say, “I told you so”, but in this case, I have to remind Dallas Cowboys fans why I wrote the article about the Packers being a Ghost to Dallas. For the first time in forever, Dallas had its best opportunity to put the Packers season away and move on to a 7-2 record. In the process, becoming the Ghostbusters to a spirit that has absolutely haunted them with heartbreaking losses-just like the 31-28 loss this past Sunday.
I am not here to discuss the disappointing Packers’ loss in great detail but here to highlight three negatives that contributed to Dallas’ loss(es) and must be fixed immediately like that leaky faucet in your kitchen. As my grandmother used to say, “buckle up baby because I’m about to tell the truth because I love you!”
Issue #1: Undisciplined play is unacceptable
Ever since head coach Mike McCarthy arrived in Dallas, his teams have one negative pattern: penalties. Pick a game (win or lose) and you will find Dallas’ players making a stupid and unacceptable penalty at the most crucial times. Unforced errors have plagued this team this season.
The most glaring penalty happened in the Packers game when rookie wide receiver (Jalen Tolbert) lines up offsides. Where to line up on the line of scrimmage is the most basic concept for an offensive player, an element that is taught in Pee-Wee football. That error set the offense further behind the chains and negated the opportunity for Dallas’ offense to make a positive play.
Another example is the game against the Philadelphia Eagles when defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. jumped offsides on fourth down when Jalen Hurts was just baiting the defense to jump offsides. A touchdown resulted because of that boneheaded penalty, and what makes that penalty so disappointing is that defenses prepare for this scenario in practice, and the coaches teaches their defensive linemen not to jump offsides in those situations.
It’s as common as looking both ways before crossing the street! My Gawd! Help me!
The main issue with Dallas’ undisciplined penalties is that they happen at the most inopportune times on both sides of the ball. This starts with Coach Big Mac and his coaching staff because professional players in the NFL should know not make these basic mistakes.
Where is the accountability? Why are the players not getting benched in favor of other players? Why not cut them for these mistakes? Even in Dallas’ four-game winning streak the mistakes continued with jumping offsides, false starts, late hits, and face masks.
Football is a physical game, so I know some penalties are going to happen because of the nature of the sport, but something as basic as where to lineup and jumping offsides/false starts is just unacceptable behavior from not being focused.
It is not a coincidence that Dallas’ penalties play a significant role in three of their losses this season. If not corrected soon, these penalties will continue to haunt them like the Grinch of Green Bay did this past Sunday.