What is the starting point of champion? Every team that I have seen and been around that have won championships were well organized, focused, composed, poised, prepared, and great savvy/smarts. All of these stem from discipline and it is the starting point of any championship team. The Cowboys have talented individuals on the team, but it's not a talented team due to a lack of discipline. At the professional, one would think that these talented individuals would have self-discipline and they don't. So a coach or a team leader must crack the whip and instill discipline. A leader must earn the right to be a disciplinarian and Coach Phillips has done that and now it is up to him if he is going to administer some tough love to his players.
When Jimmy Johnson was the Cowboys coach, he was a disciplinarian and would not hesitate to cut a player to send a message to the rest of the team. Most importantly, he was an innovator like Bill Walsh and Tom Landry. His concept of speed on the defense side of the ball and his emphasis on great special teams play was instrumental in turning the Cowboys franchise around. He would always go into a game comparing their offense to our offense, their defense to our defense, and their special teams to our special teams.
The Cowboys have a great punter and kicker, but their coverage is terrible, especially on kickoffs. In all of the 5 games played this year not one of the kickoff returns have been held inside the 20 and in most cases the other teams start their drives in great field position. Obviously, this hasn't helped the defense and they have had to defend a short field. On kickoff return we just barely clear the 20 yard line, except for a TD return and a couple of decent returns. The Cowboys have not done well in this facet of the game.
Defensively the Cowboys' secondary and the pass rush have done a good job for the most part when we are playing man coverage. However, we have been beaten when we are in zone coverage against twins and trips and the other teams runs a twist with the receivers. The twist route has a the outside receiver runs a post or slant route while the slot runs an out or out and up. The Cowboys cannot stay in zone and wait for the receiver to run into the zone or area that the secondary is responsible. The twist pattern is run at the middle & high school, college level and at the pro-level. No excuse for not playing zone reponsibility. This is due to a lack of discipline. Each time the switch/twist routes have been executed for a touchdown against the defensive secondary. The pash rush has produced sacks, but only one of them has come to stop a drive or on a crucial 3rd down. Most of the sacks have come on 1st or 2nd down and sometimes the other teams have converted on 3rd down.
The offense needs to stop making penalties and turnovers because both are drive killers. The tunovers have caused the other team to gain momentum when they should have been put away. Which brings me back to Jimmy Johnson. When he coached the Cowboys, they buried teams and did not allow them to make a comeback. They had the killer instinct. Given the Cardinals and Redskins played up to the Cowboys and that will happen. However, the Cowboys played down to the Bengals because a lack of killer instinct.
Finally, folks who read my blog may disagree or think that I am being to critical. It is because I have high expectations of team that I have been a fan for over 30 years and will continue to be. Even if my expectations are low, I will continue to support my favorite team. Hopefully, my team will turn it around and return to the game that all of us want to see them play.