The Cowboys Triplets from 2014 are down to one very cute Wisconsin-bred piglet this season.
The first “collective” game of the 2015 Triplets was sad, frustrating and inspirational.
It was frustrating to watch DeMarco Murray, in his first game as an Eagle, set a mark for futility for a reigning rushing champion.
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It was inspiring to watch Tony Romo lead the Cowboys in the fourth quarter.
Forget about the meat on the bone or any talk of a dominant offensive line, the Cowboys need DeMarco right about immediately. With Dez out for at least a month with his busted foot, the new Cowboys Triplets are Romo-Terrance Williams-Joseph Randle.
Not coincidentally, the new drink of choice for Cowboys fans is 100-proof moonshine.
Beginning Sunday in the City of Brotherly Disgust, we are going to see how deep and talented this team truly is, or if this is Romo ’n’ Friends Part XXXXXVIVVCCX. All of last season’s experts, such as me, extolled the virtues of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and scouting director Will McClay. Now we can see how smart they really are, and if Stephen’s decision to play hardball with DeMarco was simply a better money move than football move.
The one thing that the Cowboys had going for them last season that they already don’t this season: Guys are hurt. Orlando Scandrick, Dez, Randy Gregory and Ron Leary are all hurt, and the clock is probably ticking on Sean Lee.
For the record, I thought the Cowboys should overpay to keep Murray because of Romo’s age (35), and that this team’s window is open for only as long as the quarterback is upright. Murray was overworked last season, but the man was reliable and trustworthy. They didn’t have to work him as much as they did last season.
I asked “The Genius,” Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, what he thinks a Dez-less Cowboys team will be like to play.
“I don’t know the answer. He’s a tremendous talent. They have weapons besides Dez Bryant,” Chip Genius said. “It’s always a difficult time when you lose a player like that, but it’s not like they don’t have anybody else.”
True and true, but it’s about to get real for our local heroes.
Dez is the only guy that demands two defenders on every play, and the first performance by the running game without DeMarco left a lot to be desired. The overall numbers were OK, but at no point was the combination of Randle and Darren McFadden good enough to do the one thing Murray did — earning ugly yards in the middle of the field.
Of course, DeMarco’s Eagles debut rivaled some of the worst of any first game by a big-time player in the modern era of any sport.
In Murray’s first game as an Eagle, he ran the ball eight times for 9 yards. In those scintillating 9 yards was an 8-yard gain. He also caught four passes, and he did score two touchdowns. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this was the worst first game by a defending NFL rushing champion ever.
Without Dez, what the Cowboys need is Murray, who wisely decided he needed the Eagles’ money more than he needed the Cowboys’ offense. Murray should never regret signing that contract, which included a guaranteed $21 million, but he will never reach that production again because he put ink to paper on that deal in Philly.
The Eagles will never use Murray the same way. Murray would be a 1,300-yard rusher had he elected to take less money to sign with the Cowboys in the off-season. In Philly, he won’t be a stiff, but he will never come close to the type of individual production he had with the Cowboys. But he never should take less money.
The sports tragedy in this is that the Romo-Dez-DeMarco trio was special in large part because of the other, and the realities of pro sports blew that to the moon.
Now the “Triplets” are left with merely a piglet.
Here is hoping the Cowboys’ decisions are as good for football as they are for their wallet.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697