In the wake of another Cowboys’ 8-8 season and fresh off watching a weekend of dramatic, entertaining NFL playoff games, lots of fingers pointing in lots of directions for Dallas’ disappointment.
But I think there are really only two giant targets. Two veterans who needed to stay healthy and be productive and earn their hefty salaries for the Cowboys to reach their 2013 potential.
Both failed miserably.
On defense – easy – it’s DeMarcus Ware. Seems like a mirage now, the way Ware dominated Tyron Smith in one-on-one pass-rush drills back in Oxnard, Calif., during training camp. The dude was unblockable. And then …
While Smith went to the Pro Bowl, Ware swirled down the toilet bowl. Had the worst season of his career with only six sacks, and only one in the final six weeks. He missed three games with a strained thigh muscle and was merely inconsequential in a season in which a depleted defensive line desperately needed his play-making pressure.
The pick for most disappointing offensive player is equally as simple – Miles Austin.
Flanked by a Pro Bowl receiver (Dez Bryant), a deep-threat rookie (Terrance Williams), a Hall-of-Fame tight end (Jason Witten) and a consistent running back (DeMarco Murray), surely Austin would make plays from the slot in this offense. Nope. Not even a little.
Slowed yet again by nagging hamstring issues, he missed five games and was nothing more than a catchless decoy in two others. In a season in which his production in the middle of the field was needed, he caught only 24 passes for 244 yards and never scored a touchdown.
Before the season the Cowboys would’ve liked the total of Ware sacks plus Austin touchdowns to be around 20. In the end, the number was six.
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.