Another 8-8 season is in the sauce for Cowboys

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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lebreton You may have missed this in your copy of this month’s The New England Journal of Medicine, but Jerry Jones says he’s been tested and has “the brain of a 40-year-old.”

He had better give it back, though, because that guy’s noodle keeps having bad drafts and finishing 8-8.

I’m not sure why Owner Jones has reverted to sharing CAT scans with the Valley Ranch media, but I can’t blame him for wanting to distract them. Only five days remain until the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener, and Jones is still holding tryouts and welcoming new linemen.

The latest to walk through the doors: six-time Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters of North Texas via Waxahachie. Waters, a 13-year veteran, had been feigning retirement, presumably as he counted the minutes until the NFL training camps closed.

Jones and the Cowboys had little choice but to wait. The options along the offensive line were disruptive. Injuries had thinned an already wafer-like depth chart.

Waters should help. But he’s 36 years old and hasn’t played a down since appearing for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl 19 months ago.

And ready or not, here come Sunday night and the New York Giants.

I would like to say that I feel the aura of Jerry’s 40-year-old big brain. I would have hoped to share in the percolating aromas of Son Stephen’s purported “secret sauce.”

But I feel and smell … nothing. Until they are diagnosed otherwise, sorta like Jerry’s CAT scan, the Cowboys are an 8-8 football team trapped in the same underachieving body they’re been lugging around for 16 years.

The reasons are the same ones why guard Waters and defensive lineman Caesar Rayford were belatedly added to the roster Tuesday. Namely, the Cowboys’ offensive and defensive lines are riddled with uncertainties.

They need depth. They need people to get healthy. They need their best linemen, for once this summer, to start practicing alongside one another.

Behind every successful NFL team is a good quarterback. I get that. But in front of that successful quarterback there has to be a dependable, consistent offensive line.

The same goes for the defensive front. You can win games in the NFL with touchdowns and passing yards, but a team with championship aspirations has to have a dominating line.

Pity, because I really was starting to feel that secret sauce.

I’m eager to see how quarterback Tony Romo does, now that he’s keeping those dawn-to-dusk Peyton Manning hours. (“Coach” Romo is keeping them, isn’t he?)

“I’m anxious to see how the Cowboys’ offense performs with coordinator Bill Callahan calling the plays, thus bypassing the team’s on-field CEO, Jason Garrett. I’m ready to buy tickets for the Romo-Dez Bryant Show. I’m antsy to witness the resuscitation of Miles Austin.

I want to see the Cowboys play a Rob Ryan-free defense. I’m hungry to hail the return of a healthy DeMarcus Ware. I’m hankering to see what impact Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin have on the whole thing.

And who knew that a big chunk of the secret sauce would be a handful of Jason Hatcher?

There were so many reasons to look at the 2013 Cowboys and see a potential 10-6 team, back in the playoffs. But then came Tuesday’s revolving door transactions, and I was jolted back to my senses.

This team’s offensive and defensive lines are a jumbled mess. Until they get to play alongside each other, until they learn each other’s names, until they cultivate some sort of roster depth, this new version of a Romo-friendly offense will likely travel up and down the field in vain.

You don’t need a CAT scan to see that.

The Cowboys should win Sunday against the Giants, but a demanding post-Thanksgiving schedule makes me think that this team is again destined for 8-8.

Another meatless January, in other words, sauce or no sauce.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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