Cowboys-Chargers: 10 "Whys" After Another L in Big D

Chad HensleyCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 13:  Head coach Wade Philips of the Dallas Cowboys during play against the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I must have asked (screamed) "Why?" 15 times in the 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers, as the Dallas Cowboys coaches showed once again how inept they are as a staff.

Here is a list of some of the more prominent questions.

Why Is Felix Jones Returning Kickoffs?

Yes, when healthy, Jones is the most electric player the Cowboys have.  But if the coaches haven't noticed, he doesn't seem to have that same burst he had before his knee injury earlier this season. 

Why not give the duty to the speedy Kevin Ogletree or even Miles Austin and let Jones do what he does best—run the rock.

Why Is Jason Garrett the Cowboys Offensive Coordinator ?

This is getting to be a tired argument, but one couldn't write about the struggles the Cowboys are going through without mentioning it.

The Chargers came into the game giving up 5.5 yards-per-rush, but Garrett comes out firing with quarterback Tony Romo.

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It was obvious that the Cowboys could run at will, but it took until the third drive for Garrett to do it.  Why waste two drives, go down 10-3 and lose momentum to a good Chargers team?

The Cowboys receivers aren't that good.  The offensive line is old and doesn't do as well pass blocking.  The Cowboys have three very good running backs. 

It should be a no-brainer.  Run the @#$@^ ball early and often.

Why Run the Ball to the Exact Same Spot Four Times in a Row?

After Garrett realized that he probably should run the ball if the Cowboys were to have any chance of winning, the offense marched 72 yards down the field as the offensive line mauled the Chargers defensive line.

From the 1-yard line, Garrett chose to run the ball behind Leonard Davis four times with Marion Barber.

Yes, Garrett got a lot of flak for throwing the ball from the 1-yard line earlier in the year.  Everyone wanted to know why they wouldn't use Barber in that situation.

He still has to use some common sense.  Running to the right with the same guy four times in a row makes absolutely no sense.

A poor game plan inside the redzone has the Cowboys as one of the worst redzone offenses in the NFL.

The most frustrating thing is that Garrett does have great redzone plays in his repertoire.

He called a great play last week in which Austin went into motion behind Barber, who was lined up behind Romo.  After faking the dive to Barber and then faking the pitch to Austin, the linebackers followed Austin and that opened up a clear path for Romo to find Roy Williams for a touchdown. 

Run it to a different side, or use a different player, or do a play action after a run or two, but don't run it to the same spot four times! 

Why Don't the Cowboys Run ISO All the Time?

I am not sure what I hate worse, the single running back in the backfield or the "Wild Hog" offense.

Anyone watching the Cowboys offense can see that they almost always have positive yardage when fullback Deon Anderson is the lead blocker on running plays.

Almost all negative yardage on running plays comes from the single back formation or the "Wild Hog".  Again, this isn't rocket science.

I understand that different formations make it hard on a defensive coordinator to prepare, but the single back formation is run too often by Garrett.   Let's go back to the play calling of the Dynasty when Emmitt Smith went behind Daryl "Moose" Johnston.

Why Run the Ball Wide with Marion Barber III?

Barber is not an east-to-west runner.  Why call plays that forces him to run that way?  It just puts the offense in unmanageable second and third downs.

Why Not Stretch the Defense with Miles Austin?

When is the last time you saw Romo throw it deep?  I am not saying go crazy with the deep ball, but just like sticking with the running game, you got to throw it deep if you want defenses to respect it.

What happened to the double moves by the receivers and pump fakes we used to see Romo do often in games? 

This offense is a passing friendly offense that is too conservative.  Reminds me of the Redskins offense when Coach Jim Zorn was calling the plays.

Why Not Throw It Deep on 2nd-and-1?

I am definitely a proponent of running the ball early to set up the pass, but you can't forget why you are running the ball.

The Cowboys were running the ball very effectively in the third quarter, and after a nine yard run by Jones on first down, Garrett decided to give him the ball on a delayed draw for a one yard gain and the first down.

A play action pass is the perfect call in this situation, because the defense is expecting a run.  Something deep to Austin or Roy Williams would have been an excellent call.

If it is an incomplete, the offense still has the confidence it can get one yard on 3rd-and-1 as they have been getting huge chunks on the ground up until that point.

Why Do the Cowboys Cornerbacks Play 10-12 Yards off the Ball When It Is 3rd Down and "Mid Range" Yardage?

It would be impossible to remember how many times the Cowboys give up first downs because of this, but I would say it happens 3-4 times per game.

When the corners play that far off the ball on 3rd down, with six to eight yards to go for a first down, all the quarterback has to do is throw it to the receivers on a slant and it is an easy pickings. 

There is no way for the corner to stop it from that distance.  If he comes up hard to defend the slant, a double move will eat him alive and it will be a big gainer down the field.

Why Can't the Cowboys Defense Get off the Field When It Needs To?

During crunch time, the Cowboys always seems to be a play away from giving their team a chance to win. 

Unfortunately, they don't ever seem to be able to make that play. 

It is coaching?  It is the players?  Both?

Why Isn't David Buehler Getting a Chance To Kick Field Goals?

Romo took over holding duties from punter Matt McBriar because it was the "holder's fault" that kicker Nick Folk had missed a field goal in each of the last four games.

Make that five games, as Romo's holds didn't help.

Missing field goals kills momentum, and obviously takes points off the board. 

The Cowboys can't afford a mental case at the kicker position if they want to have any chance of sneaking into the playoffs.

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