The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2010-2011 season primed for a Superbowl run with a possible home field advantage to boot.
Analyst, sports enthusiast, and common fans around the nation were raving about the Dallas Cowboys stacked roster.
Why wouldn't they? They finally made it out of the first round of the playoffs last year, Romo seemed to turn a corner, and they had a successful draft by getting play-making receiver Dez Bryant.
Let's take a little look into the Cowboys roster ON PAPER and see if we can find why this team isn't living up to the hype.
QB: Tony Romo - He has proven that he can play and win in this league. The question that no one wants to here in the Metroplex, is he a good fit for the current system?
From what I have seen over the the first two games of the season this team is not a big play offense spreading the ball all over the field to their array of weapons.
So is it the coaching and play calling? Is it Romo consistently checking it down to the running back or tight end? Is the Offensive line giving him enough time?
The truth is it could be all of these reasons. This is me calling to you Jason Garrett. Stop worrying about your O-line issues and open the play book WIDE open. Through the ball down the field, run trick plays, let your pro-bowl players make plays.
It is now or never, the boys are 0-2. If it doesn't work and Romo throws INT's all over the field then so be it, what do you have to lose? At least it will answer the question to whether Romo is the right QB for the Cowboys.
RB: Barber, Jones, and Choice are three really good running backs in their own respect. All three have shown that they can handle the rock when their respective number is called.
Once again. Are the coaches using them right? Should one of them carry the load more than another? Is the Line consistent enough?
All of these could be issues but the fact is that the Cowboys line is built for running the ball. The have one of the biggest lines in the league that has shown the capability to dominate defensive front sevens.
The are big and strong. They have trouble with speed rushers, which why the Cowboys have to find a way to establish the run early and often. We have all heard it before, if you establish the run then the passing game will open up.
This is especially true for this offense. They have the weapons outside and across the middle to make it happen if defenses are worried about the running game.
So why haven't we seen anything from the running backs this season?
I personally think that Barber has had some miles on his legs, especially the way he runs. That does not mean he is no longer effective.
The Cowboys need to use Barber like they did when he was scoring 16 TD's a season. As a closer and Goal line stud.
Felix Jones is too explosive to not get a chance. He showed that he has big play capability. Give him the rock.
Choice also deserves a chance. The kid can play. Jason Garret, this is to you once again. Let the youngsters play.
Same thing applies to the RB's as it did to Romo. Whats the worst that can happen? Jones and Choice get stuffed over and over again and Barber can't close the game out? Well that doesn't seem any different than whats going on right now. It's worth a shot.
WR's/TE's: Austin, Bryant, Williams, Hurd, Ogletree, Witten, Bennett.
Well the names speak for themselves. The talent is there and that is a statistical fact.
It is not that these guys are not playing well. They are just not getting enough chances to make big plays.
Austin continues to prove that he is going to be one of the premier WR's in this league for some time to come. Bryant is young but has already shown that he is explosive and will be very dangerous once he gets some games under his belt.
Williams is looking more and more like a possession receiver and red-zone threat which is what I believe to be a perfect role for him in this offense.
Hurd and Ogletree are youngsters that have shown flashes and will be ready if their number gets called.
Witten doesn't need an explanation, and Bennett has the tools, size, and athletic ability to be a good player.
The WR position is stacked. The problem correlates back to the QB position.
Let these guys make plays. Throw it more than 10 yards down the field to these guys and let them show their worth.
Or the Cowboys can keep running screens and five yard curls and punt the ball. It is their choice.
The coaching staff seems to think they can just dink and dump all the way down the field and score like this is college football. Well this is the NFL and you have to let your big time players make plays.
Offensive Line: It seems their is a lot of concern about the Cowboys O-line this season.
I think it is funny that people think that this might be the Cowboys weak link. News flash it is the same starting line they had last year and the year before with the exception of Doug Free stepping in for Flozell "holds on ever play" Adams.
Free proved he can play last year in the playoffs and is in my opinion an upgrade over the aging Adams.
They did start the season a little banged up with Kosier missing a game and Colombo out a game. Yes Alex Barron was awful and the only player in the league penalized more than Flo.
Game two of the season Colombo and Kosier were both back so their is no excuses there.
The concern lies in the fact that the Cowboys do not have a lot of depth on the O-line. But if healthy I do not see why this line could not be one of the most dominate in the league.
The Line hasn't played great but not horrible either. I think the coaches are concerned that to trust the line and let Romo drop back and let it go.
The Defense hasn't played THAT bad over the first two games. They held the Redskins to two field goals on offense. And if it wasn't for a few mental lapses in the secondary the Bears would have been held to 14 points.
Front seven: I hate to use the word again, but yes the front seven is stacked.
Ware needs no explanation. Spencer has quietly turned into a very good run defender and solid pass rusher. Ratliff showed he is a pro bowl talent and olshansky and spears are models of consistency.
Bradie James and Keith Brooking give the Cowboys solid D inside. They are both experienced and intelligent play makers.
So far this season the front seven hasn't produced as many sacks or big plays that most would like to see but they also haven't let any running back tear them apart.
You can not ask for too much more. You would only hope that they turn a little more pressure on opposing QB's.
Secondary:The Talent is their but the depth is not.
The secondary played well enough in their first game but got torched a few times against the Bears.
The Cowboys can not afford injuries in the secondary at this point.
Mike Jenkins is playing really well and Scandrick is a good young player. Terrance Newman in my opinion is not the same player he was a few years ago. He is still a good player and very serviceable but It looks like as he has gotten a little older he has lost a step.
The key to Newman's game was his flat speed and his closing ability. If he starts to lose that he could be in trouble. Do not get me wrong, I still think he is very good but it might not be long until some young guys get a chance to step in.
Sensabaugh and Ball are still also a question mark. They have not played horrible but they are also not making plays. If you look at the really good defenses across the league they have a playmaking/game changing safety.
The Cowboys haven't had one of those since Darren Woodson and that is a case for concern. I think the secondary is good enough to hold its own but just like the O-line it can not afford injuries.
So that is the Cowboys roster on paper. It is pretty easy to look at the depth chart and say "wow".
It is also an easy out to say that it has to be the coaching. Who would go 0-2 with a roster like this?
I am not saying that it is the coaching, although I do believe they need to open up the playbook a little more and take some risks.
Maybe the players aren't as good as everyone things? That could be true in some cases but has also been proven wrong.
I think the Cowboys saw the spotlight and the and hype and walked into the season saying "we are that stacked and that good."
News flash this is the NFL and if you do not prepare in the off-season, training camp, and practice then you can get beat any day by any team no matter how "stacked" your roster is.
The start to the season better come as a wake up call to the Boys in Big D. If not then this "super talented" roster is going to see some major changes made my the big man upstairs.
And the hopes and dreams of a home field advantage in the Superbowl are going to pass by just as fast as the roster/coaching staff is going to be cleaned out.