On ESPN's MikeandMike this morning, Merril Hoge reported that the Cowboys' offensive line is not able to handle defensive line stunts. He noted they're able to run-block if a back runs north behind them as opposed to east and west, but they're neither athletic enough nor in-sync enough to adjust to stunts. Since Houston will run a lot of linemen slants and stunts, the Cowboys will need to run Marion Barber 25 times or more per game and get the ball out of Romo's hands in less then 3 seconds. In other words, the 'Boys need to revert to the power run game, and mainly throw to Miles Austin,with whom Romo is clearly in-sync & possibly to Felix Jones out of the backfield. (I'd mention using Jason Witten, but he has a headache.) Until they take Hoge's advice, the Cowboys are nothing but a tease. Nobody likes a tease, especially Jerry Jones.
Yardbarker.com is reporting that the rumors are flying about Wade Phillips being fired soon. Why not? After all, something's gotta give in Big D. If he goes, that doesn't necessarily mean Jason Garrett will be gone before the end of the year. It does, however, mean Garrett will ultimately be gone too. Two names that have surfaced as replacements are Brian Billick and Bill Cowher. Either would be an improvement over Phillips, though he is a very likable guy. His Dad, the legendary Bum Phillips, likes him. His wife Laurie likes him. His daughter Tracy likes him. Obviously, Jerry Jones likes him. How quaint.
To use a southern term, Dallas fans don't cotton to watching the guys with the star on the side of their shiny helmets play like mere mortals. Texas men are used to braggin' and a grinnin' as they guzzle their MGDs and Cowboy Lagers. Texas women are used to smiling all pertie-like as they sip their Texas Margaritas and declare their undying love for Jason Witten, especially the married ones. And, of course, they'll gladly proclaim that 'You don't mess with Texas'. Wanna bet?
What if the fellas messin' with Texas are Texans themselves? Ruh-roh. That's exactly what's about to happen this Sunday. The Cowboys are headed down to their Alamo, and you can better believe JJ is very concerned. I can see him trolling the sidelines by the end of the first quarter. My crystal ball tells me the Cowboys won't heed Hoge's advice enough to win. They're still going to try and get the ball to Dez Bryant. They're still going to have Tony drop back and let it fly. They're going to get into a shoot-out, and they're going to lose. That is unless they change their stripes and go conservative on offense.
Since 1990, the bottom line has been ...
- 13% of teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs
- only 3 teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs
- only 1 team started 0-4 and made the playoffs
- no team has started 0-5 and made the playoffs.
If the Cowboys don't want to be totally irrelevant in the NFC East this year, they have to beat Houston. Then again, losing and overhauling their coaching staff would be more of an investment in their future. Is the future now, as George Allen used to say? It needs to be, because my Dallas friends are in serious pain. But alas, I'm a Redskins' fan: Go Texans! And Jerry, please don't fire Wade. The rest of the division likes the Cowboys just the way they are - frustrated and confused.