Don’t tell Coach Wade I said this but … the Cowboys did actually win the bye week.
Giants win = Cowboy win.
The Giants are pretty much guaranteed to win the NFC East now, which is probably just fine at Valley Ranch. The role of favorite did not suit them well in the playoffs a year ago. And they had no prayer of catching the Giants anyway.
Eagles loss was what the Cowboys needed and a reason to be positive going forward about their chances of sneaking into the playoffs. And as loyal e-mailer Logan Burdine of Boulder, Colo., noted angrily “I just want to come into work and read about my Cowboys, but all you guys (especially you and Galloway take every cheap shot in the book. … You know, you could put out an article that just mentions how they have a real shot to come out after the bye and make this a really special year.”
And because I aim to please, I have decided to turn my usual Monday Musings into reasons to be positive about this Cowboys team going forward.
So while I dust off my pom-poms and short skirt (what the aforementioned Mr. Randy accuses me of sporting when I skew positive), let’s chow down on a helping of Monday Morning Musings, the feel-good addition:
1. Tony Romo, Tony Romo, Tony Romo.
Whatever else has been wrong with this Cowboys team (and lots and lots and lots problems have been evident lately) nothing has been uglier than watching backup QB Brad Johnson try to play. So bad was the 40-year-old that he turned Brooks Bollinger into a local icon. People were actually begging to save BB.
Oh. My. Awful.
Can Romo save everything?
Yes. And yes.
I have seen a lot of “one player can not win games …” whines from many local precincts, which is technically true if we’re talking left guard or middle linebacker. We are talking the starting QB and not just any QB, Tony Romo, who has proven himself capable of covering up a whole lot of ugly on this Cowboy team. So absolutely this single fact alone of Romo’s return against Washington provides hope for at least a shot in January.
2. Terence Newman may be on a lot of naughty lists for being hurt, hurt and hurt again. He is also Dallas’ best cornerback.
And he’s back.
The Cowboys defense has not been awful, but it is a stretch to call them “fixed”, which is:
a.) Why Coach Wade was hired?
b.) What he does as he does? You remember him heaping “Mr. Fix It” upon himself as a badge of honor for his reclamation projects in other NFL venues. In fact, very recently Owner Jones called him the best defensive coordinator in the league, which I am sure is going over real well in New York where it seems the Giants have a pretty good one, too.
Anyway, The Phillips 3-4 is going to look a lot more fixed with a shutdown corner back in the lineup.
And, yes, I saw the last Washington game and how thoroughly Newman was roughed up. He was hurt … but that is another less-positive story.
3. It is physically impossible for the offensive line to be worse with Kyle Kosier. And he will probably help.
He’s back, too.
About the only thing worse than Brad Johnson has been the Cowboys offensive line. They failed to rally around the old man and, as a result, basically ending up throwing him a surprise retirement party. Kosier makes them better and I have a feeling even Romo might jump a few butts if they get any worse, which I am not sure is possible anyway.
4. Running back Felix Jones is a playmaker who turns Marion Barber into a bigger, better playmaker with his presence.
And he’s also back.
MBIII’s averages cratered in Felix and Romo’s absences. Teams were able to bird-dog him thus taking away his space and his effectiveness. And without Felix to spell him, he looked slow and not as good and not worth his big off-season contract. So Felix returning from injury kind of nets them two better players.
5. Also back is the good Roy Williams.
OK, technically, he has been here for three games, but he had Brad Johnson throwing to him so it wasn’t like he was really on the team. If Owner Jones were being fair, he’d expunge those three games from his permanent record because Williams’ number was rarely called.
Speaking of, can we quit blaming The Redheaded Genius? (yes, I added a question mark, Ron Burgundy style) for Good Roy’s lack of involvement. What he does is not compatible with what Brad does. Period. End of story. We start learning about him Sunday in Washington.
6. Forget exhausted as viable excuse. This Cowboys team is nothing if not well-rested.
Mark me down as thinking a Saturday walk-through might not have been a bad idea, a good time to work on snap counts, chemistry between Good Roy and Romo and pass blocking.
Not Coach Wade.
He thought his Cowboys needed a weekend break after a two-day work week, after a crushing loss in The Meadowlands, after a week in which they had Monday off. Instead of debating the wisdom, let’s all agree that coming out of the bye week the Cowboys should be the most rested team in the NFL. And they are going to need their energy to claw out of the hole they are in.
7. We may only have seven more games of Coach Wade.
Cupcakes for everybody.
And who knows, maybe, just maybe, seeing his very last chance as a head coach in the NFL flash before his eyes, might actually motivate Wade to light a fire under this team’s butt.
8. Philly has problems that make Dallas look well managed.
Who is calling their plays? I bet they’d gladly welcome RHG? right now. And what happened to Philly’s running game? And why is QB Donovan McNabb always gassed late in games? And does Andy Reid understand the challenge system?
Mostly, how can the Cowboys not pass them for what very well may be a third and final playoff spot from the NFC East?
8. They did not lose the bye week. Cupcakes for everybody.
9. Your homework assignment was to answer this question: Can this Cowboys season be saved after the bye?
We here at LBOH headquarters discovered many Cowboys fans view this season as half full. Plenty view this as half empty. And a fair number view this season as cracked and leaking water.
In no particular order, as we do every week, we present my favorite responses:
Nick Lalani of Toronto writes: “I am disgusted with this team … disgusted with the lackadaisical attitude, prima donna behavior and lack of accountability. I am so disgusted that I am hoping for a total collapse and perhaps that will lead to more drastic changes.”
Mi. Zimmer (possibly a disgruntled ex-employee???) predicts fail, nothing: “I think the Cowboys are done for, no if, and or buts. They have to beat the Redskins in the upcoming weeks to have any chance of salvaging this season. They have to go at least 6-1 or 5-2, no more than two losses. And I don’t think they have it in them.”
And Charles Flemming of Nowheresville adds: “Dearest Hate: 1. Yes, it IS too late for this year. 2. No, not only is Red not ready to be a head coach — heck, he’s not even ready to be a play caller, but you’ll ruin him forever if you shove him into that train wreck now. Remember, in a head-on train wreck, the engineer never survives.”
My favorite comes from Harry J. Joe of Dallas because he summed up his view quickly with: “The Cowboys season has come unraveled.”
10. Your turn: Mulligan time. Get your butt (back) on the record. When does this Cowboy season end? Week 17? Playoffs, no win? Super Bowl parade? Please remember to include your name and location (don’t be like Zimmer and Charles) for credit purposes. I am all about credit.