Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A 'Wicked' weekend

Not-so-super season so far for Dallas Cowboys

Send a link to a friend

[October 22, 2008]  IRVING, Texas (AP) -- America's Team isn't even waiting until the postseason for another flop.

DonutsDespite millions of dollars Jerry Jones committed to new contracts, 13 Pro Bowl players back from a 13-win team and those Super Bowl expectations -- picked by so many to breeze through to Tampa this season -- things have gone oh-so-wrong for the Dallas Cowboys.

Not even halfway through the season, the Cowboys (4-3) have matched their loss total from last year. They have lost three of their past four games after that 34-14 Sunday debacle at St. Louis.

The injury list is long, topped by quarterback Tony Romo's broken pinkie and cornerback Terence Newman's hernia. And Jones has already issued that dreaded vote of confidence for coach Wade Phillips.

More sobering than any of that: If the postseason started now, Dallas wouldn't make it.

"Yeah, it's serious," Phillips said. "We can accomplish our goals, but we can't accomplish them if we don't play better."

Or get Romo back.

Or start getting increasingly frustrated Terrell Owens more passes (T.O. has only two catches in three of the past five games, and no 100-yard games this season).

Or get much better play from the struggling offensive line.

Or improve the defense, which is supposed to be Phillips' specialty. The secondary has been depleted by injuries and the unsurprising suspension of Adam "Pacman" Jones, who six weeks after being reinstated from a 17-month NFL suspension got in trouble again.

Then there are the erratic special teams, which lost a top-notch punter to a broken foot sustained on a blocked kick that ended an overtime loss.


Already so many issues, so much drama and too many losses.

"Guys are real miserable," linebacker Bradie James said. "You don't know what it is, you always think about could I have done something better. (You) wake up in the middle of the night just trying to figure out what's going on."

Same for Jerry Jones, the free-spending, much-involved owner desperate for another Super Bowl. This was supposed to be the year.

Jones invested $70 million during the offseason to give five of his Pro Bowl players new multiyear contracts. Offensive coordinator and Phillips' supposed successor-in-waiting Jason Garrett got $3 million and an expanded title (assistant head coach) to stay.

With things unraveling, Jones emphatically said Monday that Phillips will "absolutely" finish the season and that changing the head coach "isn't even a remote consideration." That was similar to what he said in the locker room Sunday after giving his underachieving team a postgame tongue-lashing.

(Note to remember: Jones also said he wouldn't trade for a receiver, then gave up first- and third-round draft picks to Detroit at last week's deadline for Roy Williams, who later signed a $45 million, five-year extension).

Let's see how Jones feels and what happens during the upcoming stretch against two division leaders, Tampa Bay and the NFC East rival New York Giants. Then comes a much-needed open date -- and possibly a window for change -- before a trip to Washington, which has already beaten Dallas this season.

That trio of games against five-win teams comes after a monthlong stretch in which the Cowboys' only victory was a lackluster performance at home against winless Cincinnati, the NFL's only seven-loss team.

"We've got a lot of our eyes on maybe what we were about last year," said Jones, who classified the St. Louis game a wake-up call.

But the Cowboys can't go back to the start of last season. Or the last decade, when they won three Super Bowls in a four-year span (1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons).

[to top of second column]

Auto Sales

Dallas has gone 11 seasons without a postseason victory, much less its sixth Super Bowl title. The past two Januarys, Romo flubbed the hold on what would have been a short go-ahead field goal late at Seattle, and his fourth-down pass with 9 seconds left at home against the New York Giants was intercepted near the end zone.

Since the Cowboys were 12-1 and clinched the NFC's top playoff seed last December, they have gone 5-6.

Phillips -- his job seemingly secure, at least for this week -- plans to "analyze everything and look at the overall picture of what we need to do."

The coach wouldn't go into specifics about the expected changes, other than to say it would be more how players were used than lineup or personnel changes. Phillips likely will take over more of the play-calling from defensive coordinator Brian Stewart.

One thing that won't change is Phillips' easygoing way.

"I'm going to coach the way I coach, and I think they're going to respond," he said.

The problem is the players haven't responded so far.

While refusing to share his message to the team, Phillips insisted that the players know when he is upset.

"It's a situation where you are 4-3 with the types of guys in this locker room. There are questions that people want to have answered," Marcus Spears said. "We understand that."

Roy Williams, the newly acquired receiver and not the five-time Pro Bowl safety who is out for the season after re-fracturing his arm in his return to the lineup Sunday, is going through some unexpected deja vu after leaving the winless Lions.

"I was happy to be out of Detroit," said Williams, who was without a catch in his Cowboys debut. "I would have never thought this team would lose a game like that."

Neither did Jones, who expected much more from his investment than this.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN HAWKINS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Auto Repair


< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor