In short, there is none.
The Dallas Cowboys hadn't been particularly impressive with Romo in the lineup, stumbling to a 1-4 record. But the Cowboys' outlook got quite a bit more dismal after Tony Romo broke his collar bone in the second quarter of a loss to the New York Giants. To minimize the pain and disappointment of this season, let's look at what the Cowboys can do to build for their future.
That ship has sailed. At 1-5, with games against the Packers, Giants, Saints, Redskins and two games against the Eagles on the horizon, the Cowboys are bound to lose at least ten games this season. Prior to the Romo injury, the one thing the Cowboys could cling to was their production on offense. Now, with their leader out, they won't be able to produce the same kind of yards they had previously. Their defense had been pretty good up until this Monday when the Giants ran off 34 unanswered points.
With Romo gone, a defense in flux, and seemingly unable to play efficient, penalty free football the Cowboys dream of a super at home is dead.
The Cowboys need to focus on improving and setting themselves up for a better season next year.
Some have suggested that firing the coach doesn't do much, but those people would be wrong. The coach is responsible for instilling discipline, demanding excellence and making sure a team is ready to play. The Cowboys, this season, have done none of those things. They've generally been flat in the first quarter, are one of the most penalized teams in the league and seem relatively apathetic and incapable of fixing their mistakes. They have clearly adopted the laid back persona of their coach. Phillips ss a players coach, a nice guy and he certainly knows football. But, he doesn't know how to get results from his talented team.
Firing Phillips and replacing him with a fiery coach in the interim is the best bet. Jerry Jones won't be able to recruit a big name coach mid-season, so he should promote a current coach in the meantime and look to recruit someone for next season. This move will make it clear to players that they are essentially trying out for next years team and should motivate them to work hard down the stretch.
Identify Draft needs
I loved the Dez Bryant pick up and so did everyone else. Why did I love it? Because drafting a wide receiver is a sexy pick, and fans love offense. But, in all honesty, especially with the resurgence of Roy Williams, the Cowboys might have been better served shoring up their offensive line, or looking for playmakers in the secondary. Sure, the Cowboys got a guy who figures to become a star in this league, but it may not have been the best pick given the Cowboys needs. This season, Jerry Jones needs to look to identify weaknesses and correct them through the draft.
I know this move won't be popular with Cowboys fans. Watching him stiff arm opponents into the ground in 2007 and 2008 was great. But last season, and so far this season, Barber has yet to impress. He was injured throughout last season, so everyone expected a rejuvenation in 2010. That rejuvenation hasn't happened. The Cowboys have passed the ball too much, but it seems like every time Barber has a hole, he's just one step too slow to hit it. Felix Jones has been much better, both running the ball and catching passes. The Cowboys should try and trade Barber and use Jones and Tashard Choice as their two backs.
These aren't the kind of things the Cowboys expected to be doing midseason, but it is their reality. With an abysmal record and an injured starting quarterback, this team is doomed to miss the playoffs. The sooner the Cowboys recognize the need to begin rebuilding, the better.