Cowboys' problems start at the top

Two winable games. Two embarrassing losses.

Loaded with a Super Bowl-caliber roster, the Dallas Cowboys squandered chances to put away underdog opponents in Week 1 (Washington) and Week 2 (Chicago).

Missed field goals.

Dumb play calling and decision making by the offensive coordinator and quarterback.

Blown defensive assignments leading to big plays.

An inability to establish a running game whatsoever.

That's the short list of a growing number of problems at Valley Ranch these days, and with 2-0 Houston salivating for a chance to smash their in-state rivals, 0-3 is looking more and more like reality.

So who's to blame for all this?

If you listen to the know-it-alls in the DFW sports media, some will tell you it's the players. Most will contend it's coaching.

The common denominator in the disaster? It's owner/GM Jerry Jones.

Players are making crucial mistakes and failing to execute and aren't being held accountable.

Backup tackle and career NFL scrub Alex Barron costs the Cowboys the game in Washington on the last play of the game by using a WWE technique trying to block DE Brian Orakpo, negating a game-winning touchdown pass.

Barron should have been cut before the team left D.C., but Jerry keeps him and tells the media he'll still see some playing time, even with starter Marc Columbo back.

New kicker David Buehler has missed crucial field goals in both games. Jerry hasn't even brought in another kicker for a tryout. Who needs a contingency plan when you're hosting a Super Bowl anyway?

But why should these players or of their teammates worry? Jerry has shown time and time again he's willing to sign players who've shown just an inkling of promise to rich, premature, long-term contract extensions (Ware, Romo, Austin, Barber), leaving them to play for...what? Pride? Their teammates? Their coach?

That leads us to the next question - who is running the show during the games? Regarding the botched Hail Mary at the end of the first half in Washington, Wade Phillips said the right call was to take a knee. So why didn't they? Can the head coach not override the offensive coordinator? It's another problem created by paying offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as much as Phillips. There's no clear chain of command.

Except who's the boss. We all know that's Jerry, who it appears will have a lot of spare time on his hands when North Texas hosts the Super Bowl in February.

 

Matt Griffin

KXII-TV

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