Sunday, October 12, 2008

An interesting take on today's loss by the Dallas Cowboys from the biggest Texas Rangers fan there is, Jamey Newberg:
Eventually, in most sports, including the one I prefer to write about, a team takes on the personality of its coach, for better or worse.

The Cowboys achieved that 11 months ago. They’re satisfied with the press clippings that say they are as good as anyone in football (and Wade Phillips’s season-ending gloat last year that they’d gone further than they had the season before since they had a bye that preceded their one-and-out playoff loss). Never mind the fact that Dallas’s last playoff win was in the same year as the Rangers’ last playoff win.

This team makes excuses instead of plays. They show up unprepared, uninspired, undisciplined. Underachieving. Comfy.

In football and in baseball, the ultimate measure of a head coach or manager, as far as I’m concerned, is not how they call a game or when they pull out a trick play or how they manage a bullpen. It’s whether they get their players to play for them. Whether they bring out the best in the multi-millionaires who suit up, whether they bring to work an intensity and an accountability and a level of character that rubs off on the guys who have to make plays.

Are there renegade personalities on the roster? Sure. But that’s even more reason for a stronger personality under the headset than the Cowboys have right now.

I can’t wait to hear Phillips acquit his team’s effort tomorrow in his chronically defensive manner. I can’t think of one reason he shouldn’t be fired before that press conference ever takes place. This team should be so much better than it is. Instead, he’s instilled a personality that seems to have everyone on the field convinced that they’re a lot better than they are. Wade Phillips isn’t going to turn that around.

Apologies for the self-serving, off-topic rant – my football therapy for the day.

Full-blown Newberg Report tomorrow morning.

Well, I don't believe Jerry Jones will fire Wade Phillips any time soon. It's just not historically Jerry's way. However, aside from the obvious deficiencies that this team has, this was just a road loss to a hot team. Knee-jerk reactions never play well in sports.

But I think Mr. Newberg is not alone in feeling that this team is unmotivated and undisciplined. These are the traits of a team poorly coached. For example, look at the Atlanta Falcons. They clearly do not have anywhere near the talent of most teams in the league. But they have discipline and they play with a passion that is missing in Irving.

The team came out today looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. While the defense played inspired, you knew that the Cardinals were too explosive to be kept down forever. I credit the talent of the Cowboys players for the fact that they never gave up. But teams that are Super Bowl bound simply do not play as poorly as Dallas did today. Only because Arizona decided to shoot itself in their own collective feet was this even a close game to begin with.

I still have faith that these Dallas Cowboys can do great things this year. However, unless they start to take each game as meaningful as they need to be taken, they will find the road to another lost season.

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