Don’t blame Jason Garrett. Nor Monte Kiffin. Not even the biggest target according to the laziest critics, Tony Romo.
Nope, the responsibility for the Cowboys’ 5-5 path to mediocrity is laced not with unacceptable effort or inferior coaching, but rather a litany of poor talent evaluation.
The Cowboys have elite front-line stars, but they’re backed up by pawn-shop pedestrians. That’s why when Sean Lee goes down, we get the likes of Brady Poppinga and Ernie Sims haplessly trying to fill his cleats. When J.J. Wilcox gets hurt we’re left with Jeff Heath. And when Anthony Spencer goes down the Cowboys deteriorate into a revolving door of off-the-couch free agents.
How’d this happen? The autopsy ain’t pretty.
In the NFL Drafts of 2008, 2009 and 2010 the Cowboys selected 24 players. Exactly three of them remain on the roster. While the NFL’s best teams are being powered by mid-round players in their fourth (Jimmy Graham), fifth (Mike Wallace) and sixth (Jamaal Charles) years in the league, the Cowboys are left to frantically fill holes left by years of inadequate drafting. Left from ’08 (Orlando Scandrick). From ’09 (Um, nobody). And from ’10 (Dez Bryant and Sean Lee). That's it.
Draft hindsight is always 20/20 and every team has as many misses as hits. Between when only 8 percent of your draft picks over a three-year period are suiting up for you on Sundays, you have a major problem.
Gone without a whimper: Felix Jones. Mike Jenkins. Martellus Bennett. Tashard Choice. Erik Walden. Jason Williams. Robert Brewster. Stephen McGee. Victor Butler. Brandon Williams. DeAngelo Smith. Michael Hamlin. David Buehler. Stephen Hodge. John Phillips. Mike Mickens. Manny Johnson. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. Sam Young. Jamar Wall. Sean Lissemore.
Considering that abysmal failure, it’s amazing the Cowboys are in contention at all.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.