“Now is the winter of our discontent!”
Though the noted bard William Shakespeare first wrote the infamous line 423 years ago, it can now be said that the full impact of that line is now being fully experience four centuries later by the noted owner of the Dallas Cowboys, one Jerall Wayne Jones.
The Cowboys 10-6 loss, this time to the noted AFC powerhouse Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a new low for this struggling Dallas team that has managed to lose seven games in a row. Then again, this season has been nothing but new lows and broken streaks for the club. And to think it could have all been avoided last April if the Jones Boys – Jerry and Stephen – had not deluded themselves into thinking that anyone could run behind the team’s talented offensive line. That is why the tandem refused to seriously negotiate a contract with their All-Pro and NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray and let him walk. Nine games into the 2015 season that theory has officially been blown to smithereens.
Throughout this horrendous losing streak, I’ve been harping about the Jones Gang not resigning Murray to a contract. There’s a reason why. I call it the ‘butterfly effect.’ Had the Cowboys kept the former Oklahoma Sooner standout in their backfield, it’s reasonable to believe that wide receiver Dez Bryant would not have broken his foot in the season opener against the New York Giants. The team would have been handing the ball off to Murray, and more than likely the Giant defense would have been stacked trying to stop him from rushing over 100 yards. Instead you have a pass play in the second half and Bryant’s foot gets broken.
The following week, quarterback Tony Romo is driven into the ground by Philadelphia linebacker Jordan Hicks breaking his shoulder. That play also would have been avoided had Murray been in the backfield. Why you ask? It’s simple, instead of a pass play Romo would have been handing the ball off to Murray as he marched toward his second straight 100-yard game. The consequences of one action on management’s part four months before the season started led this Cowboys team down a dismal and dark path that has resulted in their worst losing streak in 27 years.
Perhaps the most unbelievable fact – and telling – is Dallas only trails the NFC East leading Giants by three games. The whole division stinks. Hell, the entire NFL is terrible with the exception of a handful of teams.
It is very disturbing that the Cowboys offense could only muster two field goals the entire game. TWO FIELD GOALS folks! Quarterback Matt Cassel has been like a faucet, hot and cold, from one week to the next. He did nothing as a QB to stem the flow of losses the four games he started. Dallas did finally cut their ties with their other quarterback, Brandon Weeden, and deservedly so. He’s not a winner, a leader, and certainly not a game manager. With Dallas activating Romo for this week’s scrimmage with the Miami Dolphins, there was no reason to keep him around.
Frankly speaking, this contest never should hinged on the controversial call that came with Jameis Winston losing control of the football as he jumped into the end zone resulting in a fumble recovery by the Cowboys. Dez Bryant had dropped a pass with less than four minutes remaining that would have given Dallas a first down and stopped the losing madness. Instead, the Cowboys were forced to punt – on a third and one of all things with the best offensive line in football – and Tampa Bay drove the ball 56 yards on nine plays for the go-ahead score with 54 seconds left. It should also be noted that the reliable Bryant dropped two passes in this game and didn’t even attempt to jump up and catch Matt Cassel’s heave into the end zone with 44 seconds left that was intercepted.
The defensive holding call against the Cowboys Jeff Heath on the Winston fumble negated his two earlier interceptions. The replays proved it was a highly questionable penalty, especially since Winston was running to the end zone and didn’t even attempt to act like he was passing. But when you’re losing every which way that’s possible game after game after game, this type of call will go against you. Then again, Dallas should have never been in this particular situation at the end of the game. Six points generated for an entire game is an abomination for this team with the “best offensive line” in football.
Cowboy Notes – The sports media in Dallas continues to treat Greg Hardy as some monstrous pariah. His crime, he wasn’t punished enough for his offense against a former girlfriend who refused to testify against Hardy after a very generous out-of-court settlement.
Dez Bryant threw a hissy fit in the locker room during the week when he accused Dallas Morning News Sportswriter of using the dread “N” word. It didn’t matter that the sportswriter, who was also black, never ever came close to uttering the word. Rookie wide receiver Deven Street said he heard it, and that’s all Bryant needed to go off on his locker room tirade.
Perhaps it was inevitable the way the Cowboys – after having lost two previous overtime games by allowing the opposing team to score a touchdown on their initial drive – that this particular contest would end in agonizing fashion in regulation time. During their current losing streak, the Cowboys played only two teams with winning records. To show you how bad the situation has become, Dallas play-by-play announcer, Brad Sham, ended up getting into a Twitter war with ESPN’s Ed Werder while he was calling the game. Apparently Brad, also bored with the events unfolding on the field had plenty of time to look at his iPhone and check out the Twitter universe. He saw a repost of comments made by his radio station’s own sideline reporter-ette by Werder and decided he didn’t like.
Speaking of reporter-ette, exactly what was going on with Pam Oliver, the Fox sideline reporter. When the camera’s zoomed in on her for a report, she had some sort of macabre make-up job on her face. It looked like her left cheek and been glued on. Like myself, I’m sure millions of people replayed her report over and over again on their VCR’s to see what was wrong with her face. Fox never returned to her again after that. Oliver was demoted to the second team last year in favor of the bubbly and effervescent Erin Andrews. Oliver’s camp had vaguely hinted about age discrimination – she is now 54 – for the demotion to Fox’s second team unit, but after her appearance on the sidelines Sunday, it is clear Fox won’t renew her contract at the end of this season.
– David Huff
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