Category: Cowboys (page 1 of 34)

Fifteen Years in Dallas

Third down and six and Dak Prescott is now looking for Dalton Schultz on a seven yard hook. Or is it Geoff Swain on a seven yard out? Maybe Blake Jarwin finds a seam or Rico Gather hits a crease for the first down catch. Or maybe Prescott gets sacked for a seven yard loss because he’s frozen in the pocket looking for Jason Witten.

All Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks from Drew Bledsoe to Dak Prescott, including all the Matt Cassels, Tony Romos, Stephen McGees, and Brad Johnsons in between, have looked to Jason Witten as their security blanket. Since 2004, there has not been a more consistent certainty at tight end in the NFL than Witten. Dependable. Constant. Steady. Whatever adjective you want to use, Witten was always there — the rock in the midst of the chaos that is Jerry Wayne’s Cowboys.

After 15 solid seasons, Witten today has officially announced his retirement to join the Monday Night Football booth at ESPN.

After 1,152 catches (4th all-time in the NFL), 12,448 yards (most in franchise history), 68 touchdowns (third in team history), 239 starts (235 of them in a row), and eleven Pro Bowls (most in team history), he’ll be remembered most for this one play: (Since it’s the NFL, I’m unable to post the video to this site; just Google “Jason Witten No Helmet”)

However…

…there’s an emptiness here, right? There’s regret. You feel it, don’t you? It’s undeniable. Everybody is celebrating Witten’s greatness — including me — but there’s a cloud hanging over this whole thing:

No Dallas Cowboy should ever play for 15 consecutive seasons and never even win one single divisional playoff game.

We can debate whether hiring Witten is a lazy move for ESPN. We can discuss how his retirement shocked the Cowboys, caught them totally off guard, and will set their 2018 offense back several steps. We can argue how Dallas might replace him. We can congratulate Witten for being such a great guy and modeling everything it means to be a team player and a stand-up human. We can observe that the Cowboys have now lost Witten, Dez, and Romo in one calendar year. But don’t let this sorry fact elude you: Witten played in Dallas for fifteen years and never won a divisional round playoff game.

Maybe on third down and six next season, if the Cowboys are playing on a Monday Night, Prescott’s best bet would be to chunk the ball towards the press box.

Nah. Still wouldn’t matter.

Peace,

Allan

Dallas Drops Dez

Following three straight seasons of an increasing number of critical drops in crucial situations, the Cowboys returned the favor on Friday the 13th, unceremoniously dumping their underperforming diva wide receiver Dez Bryant. The move comes about two years too late, in my opinion. But it’s stuff like this that makes following Jerry Wayne’s Cowboys so every-day-of-the-year interesting.

Bryant’s production has dramatically dropped over the past three seasons. He’ll turn 30 this year, but he’s missed more plays and more games the past three seasons — and dropped more balls — than a 40-year-old. And he’s never been worth the headache. You can’t get away with blowing up at teammates and coaches on the sidelines or sulking in the locker room or being arrested for assaulting your mother unless you’re winning Super Bowls. And the Cowboys aren’t.

I’ve always thought the Cowboys played better when Bryant was injured or otherwise not in uniform. It seems the team would go on little winning streaks when Dez was on the sidelines and then, when he’d get healthy and return to the lineup, they’d lose. Because of both his outrageous salary and his poor attitude, the quarterbacks had to force the ball to him. He couldn’t get open and he couldn’t catch, but they’d keep forcing it to him to keep him from throwing a fit. The whole thing would get out of sync in about three drives and the Cowboys offense would falter.

Dez knew he was going to have to take a pay cut heading into this 2018 season, but the Cowboys knew he couldn’t handle a pay cut. He doesn’t have the temperament to withstand the insult of a drop in status. He can’t function as anything less than a number one guy. If he and the Cowboys agreed to keep him on the team at a lesser salary, it would have been disastrous in the locker room. Cancer. Gangrene. Toxic. Much worse than anything we’ve seen from Dez in the past — and that’s saying something significant.

So Dallas didn’t even offer him a reduced deal. Jerry just pulled him in and cut him, something he should have done at least two years ago.

Bryant responded in his typical way, with a tweet that read, in part, “If I didn’t have my edge, I got it now. It’s personal… very personal.”

He wants to stay in the NFC East so he can play against the Cowboys twice a year and exact his revenge. But the reports I’m reading say the Eagles, Giants, and Redskins have no interest. At any cost. Dez is saying all the right things today, selling himself to potential suitors. It’s just too bad it took getting cut to compel Dez to want to meet with wide receivers coaches and study film and work on his routes and read a playbook. It took getting cut for Bryant to find his edge.

The truth is, Dez can’t be less than a number one guy. No team that has a chance at winning anything big in the next couple of years is going to sign Bryant as a number two receiver because he’ll eat up the locker room and destroy the franchise. Dez will wind up as the number one guy on a really bad team. Which is where he’s been his whole career.

Peace,

Allan

Merry Christmas!

December Math

College Night at Central

The Cowboys and Redskins are playing tonight in Arlington, both teams at 5-6, both teams more or less playing out the string now, pretty much out of any kind of playoff running. Still, it’s Cowboys-Redskins. And, still, there’s no better day-to-day, week-in-and-week-out drama than Jerry Wayne’s Cowboys. To get you ready for tonight, I highly recommend this excellent piece by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. It’s a lengthy and detailed analysis of the Cowboys’ problems since Ezekiel Elliot began serving his suspension. Barnwell makes a really strong case that the Cowboys aren’t missing Elliot as much as Dak Prescott is faltering at quarterback. If you ever wanted to make the case that Prescott only looks good because of Zeke, now would be the time to do it — Dak has thrown more interceptions over the past three games than he did his entire rookie season.  But Barnwell expertly outlines how the running game is putting up the same numbers without Elliot as they did with their superstar back. And he accurately spreads the blame around to injuries, receivers, coaching, and offensive line. And Dak.

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One of the many intentionally intergenerational events we hold here at Central is our annual college night.  We bring in recruiters from ACU, OC, LCU, West Texas A&M, Amarillo College, OU, and Texas Tech. And they bring their T-shirts and posters and catalogues. We invite our entire church to show up in their college gear, supporting their schools and interacting with the Central middle school and high school students who are shopping for colleges. And it’s always a fun night. We give away door prizes and play silly trivia games. And we encourage our younger people to talk to our older people about where they went to school.

I enjoy reminiscing about the good ol’ days with fellow Oklahoma Christian alums like Jeff & Michelle and Steve & Connie. It’s fun to talk to our Central teenagers about college life. Their reactions, too, are interesting. It’s almost like they can’t imagine their old preacher really being a teenager and living in a dorm and going to college.

I’m grateful to belong to a church that places such an emphasis on intergenerational relationships. I’m thankful that, even though it’s sometimes hard to determine whether anything’s being accomplished, we keep plugging away at forcing our older and younger people into the same rooms together. It matters.

Thank you to OC recruiter Lauren Bridgeforth for making the trip to Amarillo. And thanks to Adam and Tanner and the Adees for pulling off a fabulously fun evening.

Peace,

Allan

Remarkable Low

The NFL has announced that the Cowboys-Giants game set for prime-time on Sunday December 10 has now been flexed out of the 3:30pm slot to be replaced by Seattle-Jacksonville. Let me repeat: The Cowboys-Giants game has been moved to 12:00 noon on Sunday December 10 in favor of Seahawks-Jaguars.

Let that sink in.

The last time the Giants and Cowboys faced each other at noon on a December Sunday was 2005.

Yes, the Cowboys and Giants play each other twice a year, but their games are a TV exec’s bread-and-butter. This is an intense 60-year division rivalry with two huge fan bases and two of the top media markets in the country. But the game has been moved to noon for Jaguars-Seahawks.

Yes, the Giants are woefully awful this season. Yeah, nobody wants to watch Geno Smith at quarterback for a lame duck coach nobody’s ever heard of. But the now 22-year irrelevancy of the Cowboys is also a factor here that cannot be ignored. Dallas is on its way to yet another .500 or worse season, they won’t make the playoffs, and it’s going to take outsiders — TV executives, NFL brass, jersey sales in Great Britain, whatever — to do what Jerry Wayne won’t: pull the plug on this experiment already!

Yikes.

Allan

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