Addressing the Dallas Cowboys Offseason to Come
The Dallas Cowboys had a disappointing end to their 2006-2007 season. With the fate of the game squarely in his hands, Quarterback Tony Romo fumbled away the ball and any hopes of a Dallas Cowboys’ win in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
At the end of the 2007-2008 NFL season, the game would once again end with Tony Romo being the last Cowboy to touch the ball, and on a different type of play, the Cowboy’s quarterback provided the same type of answer, with an interception to the Giants that ended the game and Cowboys short-lived playoff run.
Entering 2008, the Cowboys have many questions. One of them being, “how did they manage to play so poorly in their last five games of the season, including that playoff loss to the New York Giants?”
The Cowboys had a huge problem with offensive line protection in my opinion. Some will point out that the Cowboys were only sacked 24 times. However, I’ll give that credit to Tony Romo and his ability to escape the pocket. And even though Romo is good at throwing on the run, I think he would be much better served if given time in the pocket, or only throwing on the run on plays designed for him to get out of the pocket. The Cowboys line, especially the right side, looked slow and sluggish and was a point of attack for several teams that faced the Cowboys down the stretch. The Eagles actually sacked Romo 4 times, and the Giants got tremendous pressure on Romo throughout the game as well. The Cowboys really need to invest in an upgrade at the right tackle position. I think on the left side, Flozell Adams is still solid, but that right side could use some work.
Secondly, the Cowboys and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett need to stay committed to running game. In many close games at the end of the season, the Cowboys abandoned their running game too early. Against the Eagles, the Cowboys only ran the ball 17 times, and it was one possession game for all 60 minutes. They have a great two-headed attack with Marion Barber and Jones at running back, but if they don’t utilize them enough, it will severely hurt their ability to pass the ball.
Lastly, the Cowboys defense needs a major upgrade at the cornerback position. They really don’t have a corner that you would leave one-on-one with an elite receiver for any large number of plays throughout a football game. Terence Newman is their best guy, and quite frankly, players like Plaxico Burress, Santana Moss, and Steve Smith. Yes, those are all great wide receivers, but a great cornerback would have limited one of them, but Terence Newman was dominated by all of them. If the Cowboys want to win a payoff game sometime in this decade, they will have to get a better cover corner sometime soon.