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Emmitt: Cowboys have lost their way

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07:27 AM ET 01.24 | When he looks at his former team, America's Team, Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith sees much the same thing the rest of us see. Three straight 8-8 campaigns punctuate a championship dry spell that stretches back nearly two decades, when Smith helped the 'Boys knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Super Bowl XXX. I asked Smith on Thursday over the phone why Dallas can't seem to put it all together. "I think the Cowboys have somewhat lost their true identity," he said. "I mean, I think the team -- we don't know if we want to be a pass team or a run team." Smith said the difference between today's Cowboys and the potent Dallas squads of the '70s, '80s and '90s channels back to that lack of a one-two punch, saying those old teams "had tremendous success having a very balanced offensive unit."

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Tony Romo, Icon Sports Tony Romo, Icon Sports
Comment #1 has been removed
January 24, 2014  07:34 AM ET

What do we see? A stubborn owner who won't get out of his own way.

January 24, 2014  07:46 AM ET

Jerry Jones is a proven marketing guru who has built a very valuable franchise.
He is also a proven egomaniac who thinks his management skills extend to also being an NFL General Manager.
If he did what many smart owners have done, act like a CEO and hire talented managers with expertise, he might have built a winning franchise.
He is blind to his own deficiencies.

Comment #4 has been removed
January 24, 2014  07:53 AM ET

Emmitt's right. Teams like the Giants... the Steelers... the Patriots... the Packers... year in and year out regardless of their record, you know what the philosophy of the organ-eye-zation is and what they are trying to build. The Cowboys are Goldilocks sampling porridge trying to find "just right".



That's on the GM. And the owner.

January 24, 2014  07:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Emmitt is exactly right. I am not a Romo fan, but Romo is not the real problem. They don't have a dominant line, which means they don't run the ball well, and the defense is annually, at best, average.Those factors equal 8-8. Each. And. Every. Year.

The o-line actually did pretty well and when the coaches sent in running plays they worked out pretty good. Murray was in relative good health and rushed for over 1200 yards. Overall, the offense is not what sent this team to mediocre, it was the historically awful defense, which will look the same or worse depending on what they do with Hatcher and Ware. And don't forget JJ made no changes to the defensive coaching staff. 8-8 will be as good as it gets for 2014. I doubt they will reach that point. My early guess is more like 6-10 which won't necessarily be a bad thing as hopefully JJ finally gets a clue and throws out all the coaches from Garrett on down.

January 24, 2014  07:55 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Emmitt's right. Teams like the Giants... the Steelers... the Patriots... the Packers... year in and year out regardless of their record, you know what the philosophy of the organ-eye-zation is and what they are trying to build. The Cowboys are Goldilocks sampling porridge trying to find "just right". That's on the GM. And the owner.

Great analogy O!

January 24, 2014  07:56 AM ET

I don't think we can blame the offense this year. Romo is allright and the line is much better. But that defense is the worst I seen since last years Rob Ryan fiasco. Looks like we're in for more of the same next year.

January 24, 2014  08:06 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Overall, the offense is not what sent this team to mediocre, it was the historically awful defense....

right on! but it was clear that the defensive scheme they had in games was horrible....mediocre teams looked like offensive juggernauts against that pourous defense. And Im no ryan fan but letting him go was a step in the wrong direction

January 24, 2014  08:10 AM ET

One damn thing for sure... Our kicker is signed through 2020!!!


<shakes fist defiantly...>

January 24, 2014  08:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

One damn thing for sure... Our kicker is signed through 2020!!! <shakes fist defiantly...>

I figured JJ would end up botching that. Surprised he got that done.

January 24, 2014  08:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I figured JJ would end up botching that. Surprised he got that done.

Me too. After years of ineptitude there, Bailey's worth every penny. Nothing worse than having the game on the line and relying on David Akers.

January 24, 2014  08:17 AM ET

Landry was the coach when the team was going through growing pains and ended up with two Super Bowls wins during his time as coach. The most historical move the Cowboys made in the eighties that help them on their way to 3 more Super Bowls was the trade Jimmy Johnson pulled off with the Walker trade to Minnesota for picks and players. If JJ had stayed in the owners box and let Johnson run the show there is no telling how many more champions they could have won.

January 24, 2014  08:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Emmitt's right. Teams like the Giants... the Steelers... the Patriots... the Packers... year in and year out regardless of their record, you know what the philosophy of the organ-eye-zation is and what they are trying to build. The Cowboys are Goldilocks sampling porridge trying to find "just right". That's on the GM. And the owner.

I wholeheartedly agree.

The last time JJ forced himself to try something different, it took three consecutive 5-11 seasons. I sort of wish they would go 1-15 again to give hims a jolt. Although JJ would probably take that to mean he had a Super Bowl or three wins coming shortly.

January 24, 2014  08:18 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Emmitt is exactly right. I am not a Romo fan, but Romo is not the real problem. They don't have a dominant line, which means they don't run the ball well, and the defense is annually, at best, average.Those factors equal 8-8. Each. And. Every. Year.

I'm not a Romo fan and when his play declines in December it has more to do with his decision making or lack there of. He throws picks in play(off) in games unlike the other months of the season. Dallas doesn't have a running attack, Murray is hurt and sits out of more games than he should. Austin's hamstrings have been a sore spot ever since he signed his fat contract. The main problem is Garrett, he is an OC at best. The team is nevertheless doomed with Jerrah as the GM.

January 24, 2014  08:21 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Landry was the coach when the team was going through growing pains and ended up with two Super Bowls wins during his time as coach. The most historical move the Cowboys made in the eighties that help them on their way to 3 more Super Bowls was the trade Jimmy Johnson pulled off with the Walker trade to Minnesota for picks and players. If JJ had stayed in the owners box and let Johnson run the show there is no telling how many more champions they could have won.

Im not so sure, maybe one more. Jerry had helped bring in the salary cap and free agency. Players were jumping ship for bigger contracts. Jimmy himself said the second Super Bowl team was no where near as good as the first.

January 24, 2014  08:24 AM ET

The problem is the team identity -- they don't know if they're a run team or a pass team?

The problem *IS* the team's identity -- they're Jerry's team.

January 24, 2014  08:24 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Landry was the coach when the team was going through growing pains and ended up with two Super Bowls wins during his time as coach. The most historical move the Cowboys made in the eighties that help them on their way to 3 more Super Bowls was the trade Jimmy Johnson pulled off with the Walker trade to Minnesota for picks and players. If JJ had stayed in the owners box and let Johnson run the show there is no telling how many more champions they could have won.

4... maybe 5.

January 24, 2014  08:31 AM ET

Smith has a point, but a look back shows that whole Cowboys team (i.e. 1994), the one Switzer inherited finished the season with the 2nd ranked offense and the 3rd ranked defense in the League.

There is your balance. Proving , to me at least, that there is NO substitute for talent.

 
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