Three first-round draft picks along the offensive line. A Pro Bowl running back. A new offensive play-caller. And, supposedly, a renewed commitment to running the football.
When push should have continued into shove Sunday against the 49ers, the Cowboys settled instead on their major flaw in the Jason Garrett era. Too cute. When they should be tough, the Cowboys are too often tricky.
Down 7-0 in the first quarter and down 21-3 in the second, the Cowboys rode DeMarco Murray down the field inside San Francisco’s 10. But on 2nd-and-1 from the 2-yard line, Tony Romo audibled out of a run to Murray and into a pass. He was sacked and Dallas settled for a field goal. Couple drives later the Cowboys had 1st-and-Goal at the 5, thanks to 46 rushing yards from Murray. But instead of punching it in, Romo again threw … an interception in the end zone.
We’re only one game into the season but a couple of qualities will seemingly, sadly be the same: The Cowboys aren’t good enough to run the ball into the teeth of a good run defense. And Romo isn’t smart enough to avoid back-breaking interceptions. That combo, of course, will lead to 8-8. Or worse.
I’m not even sure the Cowboys have a short-yardage package, which makes us wonder why fullback Tyler Clutts is on the roster. He played only six special teams snaps on Sunday. With Scott Linehan calling the plays, we hoped for a tougher team that could pick up short yardage and score points in the Red Zone despite a more conservative game plan.
Then again, if Murray would have been stopped twice at the goal line I know exactly what the critics would be screaming today:
Throw it to Dez!
Whatever the Cowboys do, they’ve got to do it better.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.