NFL  > Dallas Cowboys  > Cowboys problems....
December 14, 2010, 10:52 AM
When the season got going, the problems at the time were Wade Phillips and penalties...

Romo goes down which added to the list.

The Boys fired Wade and Jason Garrett comes in and has done a good job...not to mention, the penalties have vanished.

Now, headed into the off season, I think Dallas needs to fix a glaring need:

DEFENSE.

Granted, do we need depth on the O Line ? Yes...But every guy on that line except for Free is 31...that is not old by lineman standards considering that Flozell was 35 in his last season.

When your Offense is 8th in yards and 7th in points, you are doing well...don't forget, Kitna is leading the way and now Dez is hurt...give me a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant next season, plus Austin, Felix and Witten...mixed in with Williams and Choice, not Barber and we are cooking.

Yet, when your Defense is 25th in yards and 31st in points...changes need to be made.

#1...go back to the 4-3...I know this will NOT be a popular request but it's not working for us right now...plus, Ware RARELY drops in coverage anyway, so why not let him play like the DE he is. Using a front 4 of Ware, Ratliff, Bowen/Hatcher and a top Rookie DE...with Lee, James and Spencer at LB.

You can still blitz from different coverages and it allows Ware to rush full time...plus, Spencer is a better run stuffer than pass rusher in my opinion and a true, nasty, young DE from the top of the board will be a better fit.

If Dallas stays with the 3-4, then lets still get a beast of a pass rusher opposite to Ware...I think that Dallas should sign Shawne Merriman to an incentive-laden contract...if he plays up to his abilities, then you got 2 sick rushers...if he flops, you had no risk to start....if we do not go his route, then find a pass rusher at the top of the draft.

#2...Dallas needs to move Alan Ball back to corner and use Sensabaugh as a 2nd string Saftey playing Special Teams. Neither of them can cover my grandma, let alone the Smiths and Jacksons in our division...Newman is not the player he was but having a better saftey over the top will help him out...same for Jenkins. Scandrick is a fine slot corner, so I see no need there. Getting saftey help is not easy but using free agency, Jerry's wallet and the draft, Dallas can find some folks...

# 3...Brooking needs to go....he has lost a BIG step this season and is not playing near the level he did last year...with Sean Lee sitting behind him, its time to part ways.

Assuming Jason Garrett is the coach, HE will be making decisions with Jerry about the overall team, where as in years past, Garrett only gave his opinion on the Offense...and look who they have....

I think Garrett is a great asset that can help the cause next season.

Dallas has the talent to win 10 games NEXT year...heck, they had it this year...unfortunately, the coach got in our way and then once the train was off the tracks, whats the point....

Hopefully, Garrett and company can get it back on track....

Time will tell...
December 14, 2010  11:16 AM ET

We are NOT going back to the 4-3. Aint happening. Its WAY easier to find linebackers than it is to find Defensive Ends. You remember Shante Carver and Ebenieer ecuban drafts dont you? Jesus . .thats all we need is Jerry's love affair with the pass rushing DE to spring up again. We need friggin spears to play like the first round draft choice he was. Which aint gonna happen. We need another pass rusher or someone that can teach Spencer how to pass rush. We need to find reliable Safetys and corners. My god how much would a young Darren Woodson make in the NFL today. We need to upgrade our corners ... cause Maclin and JAckson are just going to go off on this secondry every time it plays it over the next 5 years.

December 14, 2010  12:29 PM ET

good analysis.... there may be other problems too. not saying romo is one, but our "franchise" player was 1-4 as a starter this yr. next season romo will feel the pressure to perform as well as if not better than his backup has performed the last mth. forget stats.... romo must be a part of leading this team with wins. he does that and the stats will follow.

December 14, 2010  12:39 PM ET

This team is EXACTLY what its record says it is. Talk about talent all you want ... but the fact is this team is below average and the worst team in the NFC East. And it will fluctuate there (between 7-9 and 12-4 without reaching the SB) for the forseeable future until Jerry hires a real GM.

December 14, 2010  12:41 PM ET

Why ... because JJ is insane. Definition of insanity ... "Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results." We have seen this same stuff over the last 12 years.

December 14, 2010  01:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

good analysis.... there may be other problems too. not saying romo is one, but our "franchise" player was 1-4 as a starter this yr. next season romo will feel the pressure to perform as well as if not better than his backup has performed the last mth. forget stats.... romo must be a part of leading this team with wins. he does that and the stats will follow.

Romo was not to blame for the 1-4 start...penalites were...

Tony tossed the game winner that would have them 2-2...Tony also led the drive vs the Titans that tied the game...if not for another stupid penalty, Dallas easily had the momentum in that one...so who knows.

Tony is the franchise...no doubt.

December 14, 2010  01:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

This team is EXACTLY what its record says it is. Talk about talent all you want ... but the fact is this team is below average and the worst team in the NFC East. And it will fluctuate there (between 7-9 and 12-4 without reaching the SB) for the forseeable future until Jerry hires a real GM.

I disagree....this team needed a new coach...when that change happened, so did the way the Cowboys have played.

Wins on the road over the Giants and the Colts are not a fluke...toss in a strip fumble from Roy and we take down the Defending SB champs too....Dallas also gave Philly a great game the other night...

All in all...this is not a below average team...this is a team playing without their franchise QB...

And I disagree about Jerry.

Name me a better GM that is available RIGHT NOW? You can't because it is more popular to blame the guy upstairs when in reality he has done a good job of putting together very good players.

They need to be coached up and for that, Jerry went wrong...but in regards to getting talent and paying for it...Jerry has done a good job.

December 14, 2010  04:45 PM ET

Good analyst. Only thing i disagree with is going back to the 4-3 defense we are already equipped to be a steller 3-4 defense but the lone problem this year was Wades inability to become creative.

What needs to happen on the defensive end is to bring in a guru in the 3-4. Wade was a guru but he could not handle the head coaching duties and the defense at the same time it was very obvious this year when they needed a true leader at head coach.

I think it would be an awsome hire to bring in Marvin Lewis as defensive coordinator and keep Garrett as the head coach he has done a great job managing this team and getting them ready to play. Once he gets Romo and Dez healthy he should be able to get on a roll.

Back to Marvin Lewis. He would be a great fit. He is the architecture of the best statistical defense in the history of the league in the 2000 Ravens and constantly had them in the top 10 every year. With rushers like ware and spencer he can create different kinds of pressure (ala rex ryan). Draft or sign a play making safety, move alan ball back to corner and he can start to put his stamp on the defense. I believe he will ask jerry to bring in faster middle linebackers to assist bradi james and sean lee (who will be the starter). with a bevy of athletic linebackers and play making safety it will sure up the big plays that has cost the secondary and defense. The problem is there is no help behind our 3 solid corners and teams knew that this year which is why it seems our corners are having a down year. Newman is close but i think with safety help he will be solid.

December 14, 2010  06:02 PM ET

Romo is the better QB, he goes downfield unlike Kitna. I like the idea of Lewis as a DC; because he is no head coach for sure! Don't get me started on the secondary.

December 14, 2010  07:37 PM ET

lol yea alot of fans are down on our secondary this year rightfully so. I tend to think it is a reflection of our safties not our corners. Jenkins to me is still a very good ball defender he adapts to the ball in the air very well.

What has gotten him in trouble this year is the lack of safety help when he takes those chances. Crazy as it sounds Ken Hamlin was more important than we thought. While he may not have been a big play machine last year he was almost always there to help Jenkins and Co last year most of the time in the right spots hence why we didnt give up big plays last year.

Insert a 4th corner who never played safety along side a safety who is better equipped playin tight ends and had Hamlin a proven veteran safety cover his flaws, there you have the weakness and cause of our defensive downfall. Sacks are down because we are now forced to no blitz because of the lack of safety help and the vulnerability it leaves our corners who in my opinion there is only 1 (jenkins) who can literally play 1on1 on certain occasions but certainly not all the time as he was being asked to do in the beginning of the year. Newman is a very productive corner with solid back help and scandrick is fine guarding slot receivers not big guys.

If the Cowboys can somehow plug a playmaking safety back there i think it would help tremendously. BTW i think for sure there is atleast one safety on the roster who will become a very good player , akwasi ansa(spelling?) rookie safety from IUP. Unfortunately he was placed on IR a few wks ago but with his size, speed, smarts and playmaking ability i think he will outshine all our safeties and force his talent on the post wade coaching staff. I say post wade because he was clearly in favor of not playing the best player this year but the veteran player and has been like that since he was arrived. Choice> Barber, Miles>Roy, Lee>Brookings, AOA (alan ball a 4th string corner) took all those guys key injuries to get on the field smh

December 15, 2010  11:02 AM ET

You guys are right...going to the 4-3 might NOT be the right move, but it wouldn't take much personell wise to do it.

Dallas NEEDS another pass rusher on Spencer's side, because he is just mediocre at best. I think in 2 seasons as the starter the guy has all of 7 sacks which sucks.

If we can get more pressure, it takes tons off the corners....if we get better safties, it takes even more off the corners...

In the end, our corners are fine...it is the pass rush and safety play that is making them look bad.

December 15, 2010  12:04 PM ET

Jerry needs to step up and sign some pass rushers at linebacker. If you cant draft them go get them in Free Agency.

2011 Free Agents

LB Lamarr Woodley, PIT
LB David Harris, NYJ
LB Shawne Merriman, SD

DT Haloti Ngata, BAL

CB Champ Bailey DEN
CB Johnathan Joseph, CIN

FS Antoine Bethea, IND
FS OJ Atogwe, STL



If jerry wants to make a huge splash lets go get Woodley , Ngata, Bailey, and Bethea ... That should shore up the Defense.

December 15, 2010  04:32 PM ET

Garrett has got the team to respond but Garrett but against good teams he is doing the same thing that got Phillip's fired, against the Saint's and Eagles they lost close games, there first five out of six losses were by 7, 7,5,3 and 3. They did beat the G Men but there was no fire in the Giant's that night. You want Jason to do good but if you want another coach Jerry can really look like the bad man. Jerry has had some good coaches to inquire about the job. and it would be hard not to hire one of them.

December 15, 2010  07:03 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Jerry needs to step up and sign some pass rushers at linebacker. If you cant draft them go get them in Free Agency. 2011 Free AgentsLB Lamarr Woodley, PITLB David Harris, NYJ LB Shawne Merriman, SDDT Haloti Ngata, BAL CB Champ Bailey DENCB Johnathan Joseph, CIN FS Antoine Bethea, IND FS OJ Atogwe, STL If jerry wants to make a huge splash lets go get Woodley , Ngata, Bailey, and Bethea ... That should shore up the Defense.

Any of those players would be a great addition but...

1. OJ Atogwe signed a five-year contract back in June. He won't be hitting free agency.

2. No way in hell Baltimore lets Haloti Ngata walk.

3. Isn't Dallas already set at outside linebacker (Ware and Spencer)? Merriman would only be a downgrade and I don't see the point of throwing big money at Woodley even if Pittsburgh actually lets him leave.

4. I'd be surprised to see Denver let Champ Bailey go. But if they do, Dallas should avoid him for the same reason, he's too old for a fat contract.

...sorry for the pessimism.

December 15, 2010  07:51 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Any of those players would be a great addition but...1. OJ Atogwe signed a five-year contract back in June. He won't be hitting free agency.2. No way in hell Baltimore lets Haloti Ngata walk.3. Isn't Dallas already set at outside linebacker (Ware and Spencer)? Merriman would only be a downgrade and I don't see the point of throwing big money at Woodley even if Pittsburgh actually lets him leave.4. I'd be surprised to see Denver let Champ Bailey go. But if they do, Dallas should avoid him for the same reason, he's too old for a fat contract....sorry for the pessimism.

I don't think they need Merriman. They had a chance to draft him once, but went with DeMarcus Ware, who turned out to be the better bet.

December 15, 2010  08:27 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

I don't think they need Merriman. They had a chance to draft him once, but went with DeMarcus Ware, who turned out to be the better bet.

Here's the main difference between Shawne Marriman and DeMarcus Ware... the latter doesn't need steroids to be a beast.

December 15, 2010  08:56 PM ET
QUOTE:

Which one is dating Tila Tequila?

 
December 16, 2010  09:33 AM ET

I still think the cowboys need to hit free agency big time to shore up the defense and draft Offensive Line.

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