Mac Engel

All Cowboys get an ‘F’ in worst season of Jerry Jones era

From the players to the coaches to the general manager, to every person ever named Jones, everyone deserves a towering F for this season. The “F” stands for Four, as in four wins, Failure, Frustrating, Forgettable, and at this point we should prepare for Futuristic.

Every single Cowboys report card should come with the directive of “Come See Me.” The problem, of course, is that the man issuing said directive is the guiltiest of all — Jerry Jones.

Four wins in this division is pathetic and richly deserved. The season is a massive failure with the exception of the little kicker that could, Dan Bailey. When your favorite team’s best player is its placekicker, you know your favorite team is terrible.

The Cowboys’ season-ending 34-23 loss to the Washington Redskins was a game befitting the nightmare that began in Oxnard, Calif., during training camp and ended in our new house of horrors — the House that Jerry Built.

Mistakes were made. Sloppy football ensued. Interceptions were dispensed. Turnovers were dropped. Another Cowboys backup quarterback proved he’s not good enough — the third this season if you are counting. The Cowboys lost at home for the seventh time this season.

Throw all of these inedible ingredients in a wok, drown them in a bottle of tequila and a cup of Jack Daniels, and you have the worst season ever in the Jerry Jones era. It’s not a damn debate, guys.

“It’s close to it,” Jerry said. “This would rival the most frustrating time. It has a life of its own; we saw three or four plays [on Sunday], three or four loose balls, and after each one of them we said, ‘I just don’t think it’s our year.’ 

Defensive end Greg Hardy, who was supposed to be the “difference” for the team this season, needed two sacks against a Redskins team with nothing to play for to reach a $500,000 incentive. He finished with zero, but did secure the Terrell Owens Team Headache Award.

Not when you’re the Cowboys.

With all due respect to the guys that made up the 1-15 record in Jerry’s first year in 1989, the team and the circumstances were vastly differently for this 4-12 pile of trash.

The team in ’89 was playing a rookie quarterback with a bad roster that effectively had been ripped down by first-year head coach Jimmy Johnson. The league had no free agency, and had not adopted measures designed for parity. Expectations for that team were squat.

Expectations for this team were justifiably high, but injuries will be the defining keepsake from this season. Once Tony Romo suffered his broken clavicle in Week 2, all was truly lost and we were all dopes to believe otherwise. If Romo is healthy, this is a nine- or 10-win team that wins the NFC East and peters out against the Cardinals, Seahawks or Panthers.

In Jerry’s tenure, no season had so much justified hope and ended with such a thunderous thud; 12-4 to 4-12 is hard work. Without Romo, the Cowboys should have won two to three additional games. The coaching and handling of the quarterback position is the defining failure in a season stuffed with them.

From a bird’s eye view, however, this is just another typical Cowboys season assembled by the NFL’s 2014 Executive of the Year — Jerry Jones.

“[4-12] is not the standard. We know that,” said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who saw yet another season in his Hall of Fame career wasted.

The standard is not 4-12, but it remains a steady .500. Since 1999 the Cowboys have seven winning seasons, two playoff wins, went to the playoffs in consecutive years twice, and won at least 10 games a total of four times. They have one winning record in the past six years.

The NFL is a dog-eat-dog business, and no team has a better series of dog-ate-my-homework excuses than the Cowboys.

This is what scientists call a trend, and what we in the greater FW-d use as another reason to drink. Normally, in the NFL, these results warrant sweeping changes. Not here.

This entire season will be placed on Romo’s injury, so brace for the Cowboys to put the band back together for 2016 with some minor tweaks to the background singers. Maybe Jerry will find some poor scapegoat in a position coach to be dumped, but that’s about it.

The Cowboys are so married to Romo for at least two more years that there is no choice to but to try again with the same merry band of characters who captured our imaginations in 2014.

The head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and nearly all of the major players are under contract to return to prove that ’15 is a result of a few broken bones rather than a broken roster. We know the GM will never recuse himself without a decree from God.

The 2015 Dallas Cowboys season began with so much hope, promise and excitement for all of the right reasons, and yet it ends like so many others over the previous 15 years — empty accountability, valid yet worthless excuses, and another F on the report card.

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

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram