cheesin'This season is supposed to be different for the Dallas Cowboys. They brought in a new offensive coordinator in Bill Callahan and a new defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin. Quarterback Tony Romo, who recently signed a 6-year, $108 million dollar contract extension ($55 million guaranteed), is having more say-so on what plays the offense will run. The defense would be better than it has been in previous years with things more simplified. The offense would be one of the most potent and balanced offenses in the National Football League (NFL) and yes, the team would make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. It seems the more things chance, the more things stay the same. The Cowboys, after the first quarter of the season, are sitting at 2-2 after losing to the San Diego Chargers 30-21 on Sunday afternoon. In the first four games, the Cowboys (in this order) beat the New York Giants, lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, beat the St. Louis Rams and lost to the Chargers. At this rate, the Cowboys will have their third straight 8-8 season. In other words, it will be the same old story in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex when it comes to discussing “America’s Team.” For the Cowboys and their fans, they can rest easy on this fact. The 2-2 record actually has them in first place in the surprisingly horrible NFC East. The Giants are 0-4 and both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are sitting at 1-3. The way it looks, an 8-8 record might be enough to win that division unless someone is able to get hot at some point during the season. As it stands, the same problems are still there for the Cowboys. In their losses, they aren’t able to finish games, and turnovers seem to happen at the most critical times. In the game against the Chargers, the defense, which is supposed to be much improved, was sliced and diced by Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. Rivers finished 35 of 42 for 401 yards and three touchdowns. His 83.3 completion percentage was the highest in NFL history in a 400-yard passing game. Outside of the tipped-ball interception by linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys didn’t even bother Rivers. San Diego’s QB was in such a rhythm, you would have thought it was, dare I say it, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning out there (who the Cowboys will see next Sunday at AT&T Stadium). For a defense that’s supposed to be better, we saw a lot of the same things that plagued the Cowboys in previous years. Chargers receivers, running backs and tight ends were running free in the Dallas secondary. As for the offense, the balance between passing and running was off once again Romo threw 37 passes, while running back DeMarco Murray only had 14 carries. 70 yards came on those 14 carries, which averages out to 5 yards per carry. In other words, their probably should have been more running plays called. Wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has become one of the best receivers in the game, doesn’t seem to get targeted as much in the fourth quarters of games. I would say this to Cowboys fans. It appears the rollercoaster ride will continue. Just when they think their team is on the up and up, they get disappointed the very next week. As long as the inconsistencies continue, average records will be the standard. The crazy thing is average might be good enough for the Cowboys seeing how the rest of their division has been below average. With that said, the Cowboys can count on those other teams continuing their horrible play. Things have to get cleaned up, or 8-8 will once again be the ceiling for Dallas.

By Charles Taylor

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