Dallas, TX. When the NFL regular season kicks off next week, the very first game to do so for 2012 will be the defending Super Bowl champions versus America’s Team on a national TV stage. The Dallas Cowboys, for all sorts of reasons, have always been a very popular and at the same time a very polarizing team in American sports. They definitely have their strong following and always will, but they also have plenty of folks who cannot stand them and the attention they get. The Cowboys have an extremely rich history of success, with 5 Lombardi Trophies to their credit. The teams in the 1970′s and 1990′s stand out, as seemingly countless Hall of Famers led those teams to glory. But as this franchise prepares itself for the 2012 season, one glaring fact cannot be ignored. In the last 15 years, the Dallas Cowboys have exactly one playoff victory. Not one Super Bowl win. Not one Super Bowl appearance. Just one playoff game where they came out on top. That was a win over Philadelphia in the 2009 post-season. That’s it. The storied tradition of Cowboys football has fallen on hard times for quite some time now. The main question for any Dallas fan has to be, why has this happened? Over the years, there has been plenty of blame to go around, from the owner, to the various head coaches, to whoever was under center taking the snaps. This franchise is hungry after many years of disappointing finishes, but will they finally break through this year and do some damage in January? The Cowboys have had a lot of talent for the past few years, and still do. On paper, this team has what it takes to once again be considered a contender in the NFC East. However, there are still plenty of reasons why Dallas Cowboys fans should not get their hopes up too high for the coming season. With that said, here are the Top 7 reasons why Dallas will fall short, once again, in 2012…..
1 – Jason Garrett – The old backup to Troy Aikman for so many years was with this organization when they were winning rings, so he knows what it takes. He is a brilliant offensive mind, and knows how to run an offense. However, his style seems to be a little too loose, and he doesn’t appear to have the personality to light up his players when they need a tongue-lashing. This team has proven to be inconsistent all too often, and they need a head coach who will demand more attention to detail and more discipline.
2 – Jerry Jones - Don’t get me wrong, Jones does everything he can to attract the best of everything to his Cowboys, and that would make anyone want to play there. Everything about the franchise is top-notch, from the stadium all the way down to the wonderful cheerleaders. The problem is, he talks too much, and is in the spotlight way too often. Jerry obviously loves himself and wants everyone else to know it too. He brings too much attention to his team, and therefore, the added pressure for the players to have to deal with. It just isn’t working, and his ability to be a quiet owner is not in his repertoire.
3 – Receiver Issues - Miles Austin has hamstring problems, again. Dez Bryant has had a tendonitis issue, and now he has around the clock security with him to hopefully harness his knucklehead behavior. Jason Witten has a spleen that got battered against Oakland. Have I mentioned that we haven’t even begun the regular season yet? Also, gone is Laurent Robinson, who had a fantastic year when given an opportunity in 2011. This entire receiver situation has all the makings of being a headache for Tony Romo all season.
4 – Tony Romo - I like Tony Romo, a lot in fact. I believe he is a top 10 QB in this league. His numbers are really good, and his combination of making something out of nothing with the ability to run when necessary makes him a unique talent. The problem has always been trying to do too much at times, and making the huge mistake. He has got to figure out how to win after Halloween, as his record is much worse from November on. He has the talent, he just needs to be consistent for a full year.
5 – The Offensive Line - This line has had its issues for some time now. They can be good, but like other parts of this team, they are way too undisciplined and inconsistent. Tyron Smith is a talented guy who looks to be a future perennial Pro Bowler. But the rest of this unit is average at best and too many times is the reason this offense bogs down at critical times. Facing the stout defensive lines in New York and Philadelphia four times a year is still a scary proposition.
6 – The Defense - Aside from DeMarcus Ware, this side of the ball is lacking in overall talent. Bringing in Brandon Carr from Kansas City will help, as will drafting Morris Claiborne. They had to upgrade the defensive backfield, which they have done. But, the front seven is just ok, not great. Ware is fantastic, but too many times if he doesn’t make a play, nobody else does either. The defense is still a ways away from being a top 10 unit.
7 – The NFC East - Although this division has been a bit overrated in recent years, it is still ultra competitive. Oh, and by the way, the Super Bowl champion Giants reside here, who always seem to be a thorn in Dallas’ side. New York is much more disciplined and typically get the better of the Cowboys because of this. Washington will be dangerous now with RG3, and should win a few more games than they did last year. But it’s the Philadelphia Eagles who will be the biggest problem for Dallas in 2012. The Eagles have more talent on both sides of the ball, and will win the division this year. The bottom line is, Dallas is once again not ready to be a playoff team. An 8-8 season seems about right, and a third place finish behind the Eagles and Giants is in the cards.
Denver Sports by J Simp