Mac Engel

Cowboys’ season of promise stinks so far

Saints running back C.J. Spiller  eludes Barry Church’s tackle attempt on his way to an 80-yard game-winning touchdown.
Saints running back C.J. Spiller eludes Barry Church’s tackle attempt on his way to an 80-yard game-winning touchdown. AP

While he recovers from his shoulder injury, Tony Romo should ask Jerry Jones for another raise. The starting quarterback is officially the most underpaid person in the Great State a Texas.

Dez Bryant is a close second.

The sad irony is, for one brief glorious moment, their respective replacements — Brandon Weeden and Terrance Williams — had made the necessary plays to extend Sunday night’s Cowboys game in New Orleans.

Alas, it was not to be. Four games into the year and a season of great promise is slowly taking shape as a season of colossal disappointment.

Two games into the Romo-less stretch has left an ungodly stench that smells as bad as Bourbon Street in the wee hours. This stretch is going as badly as even the most blind optimist — Jerry Jones — could have feared.

The once 2-0 Cowboys are now just another little .500 ballclub, and a couple of shots of Jagermeister is required to believe this team can reach the NFC title game.

It is time to prepare the world, and TV executives, for bad news — the Cowboys stink: Saints 26, Cowboys 20 in overtime.

The Saints had not won a game in New Orleans in nearly a year, but Jason Garrett ’n’ friends fixed that.

Beginning in Week 1 with the injury to Dez, to the disgusting throw-and-catch from Drew Brees to C.J. Spiller for a walk-off 80-yard touchdown to end Week 4, this season is feeling like a giant box of mold.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said this week he did not think the Cowboys would go “Oh-fer” without Romo, but now that scenario has to be on the table for a realistic discussion.

If they could not defeat a winless Saints team that featured a dead-armed Brees, can you imagine how badly the bloodletting will be when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots come to Jerry World on Sunday?

In that limited release, the Patriots will be playing the part of the Baylor Bears and the Dallas Cowboys will be playing the part of the Incarnate Word Cardinals.

During the Cowboys’ game, Brady sent out a picture from his home via Facebook with the message: “Back at it tomorrow ... All eyes on the Cowboys.”

That should end well.

Whatever the reason (excuse?), Weeden is playing himself to the bench; expect him to be benched in favor of veteran Matt Cassel after the loss to the Patriots. Do not expect dramatically different results.

Not until the Cowboys’ final drive of the game was Weeden allowed to throw it; he finished the game-saving drive with a nifty 17-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to the much-maligned Terrance Williams to tie the game with less than two minutes left. The entire drive begged the question, “Where has that been?”

It took serious man parts on the part of Weeden to just attempt such a pass, and equal chutzpah on Williams’ part to catch it.

When Saints kicker Zach Hocker bonked that 30-yard field goal attempt with 12 seconds remaining, it actually looked like the Cowboys would win.

In that tight window of time, it looked like the Cowboys would leave Louisiana with a 3-1 record, and nice lead in the NFC East.

Then the defense happened. No one expected this Cowboys’ defense to be a “Doomsday” facsimile, but the Cowboys did not make a single significant play on defense. Watching Spiller run away from linebacker Damien Wilson to end the game was another reminder of how ravaged this team is to injuries.

Wilson should never have been on the field. He was only playing because, you are not going to believe this, linebacker Sean Lee is hurt. He suffered a concussion during the game.

Perhaps the return of defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain from their respective suspensions next week will help. Whatever you think of Hardy, his presence will help this defense.

Against the Cowboys, Brees just continually “slung” it underneath and diced up the Cowboys.

Conversely, the Cowboys’ offense is too Weedencentric.

The world changes when your Pro Bowl quarterback is out, but that reality does not absolve an offensive line that is not even the best in the NFC East, let alone the NFL. That potent running game has exposed a couple of guys that look like they can’t get it done.

The Cowboys were sure that a one-legged donkey could run for big yards behind this offensive line. Instead, through four games the Cowboys have yet to have a running back with a 100-yard rushing game.

Joseph Randle still fights the occasional bouts of the stupids, and Darren McFadden simply can’t get it going. The best back, Lance Dunbar? Yeah ... he’s hurt, too.

The season is just one-fourth of the way through, and plenty of time remains, but thus far the season of great promise is taking shape as a season of colossal disappointment.

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, @macengelprof

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