Found November 18, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Forget everything you've read or heard about this being the easy part of the schedule for the Cowboys.
After the Cowboys needed overtime to beat a bad Browns team, 23-20, it's clear that nothing will be easy for this team. They've improved their record to .500, but show few signs of improvement anywhere else.
Every game will be a challenge because the Cowboys simply lack the foundation for a quality team.
Foundation can be defined in a couple of ways. Like the foundation of a house, the offensive line is the primary building block of any offense. The Cowboys' offensive line was absolutely terrible against the Browns.
Tony Romo was sacked seven times and ran for his life many others. The running game averaged three yards a carry. The average would have been worse but they only ran the ball 21 times. Why run the ball when it's futile?
The offensive line's problems against the Browns could be blamed on injuries. The Cowboys started their No. 3 center, Mackenzy Bernadeau, who isn't really a center. He's a right guard. Shifting Bernadeau over meant journeyman Derrick Dockery started at right guard.
Then starting left tackle Tyron Smith left the game with a high ankle sprain. Jeremy Parnell replaced him and immediately showed why he hasn't been able to get off the bench.
But the line's problems can't be blamed entirely on injuries, not when well-paid right tackle Doug Free continually got beat.
The offensive line has been an issue all season. It was just at its worst against the Browns. The Cowboys did not address the unit sufficiently in the offseason. That might be because of limited cap room, but again, your offensive line is your foundation. A bad foundation leads to cracks everywhere else.
The other definition of a foundation for any successful team is its leadership structure. Who are the leaders of the Cowboys? Who can get this team's attention?
The Browns were a team the Cowboys should have dominated. This was not a case of the Browns playing over the heads, or parity. The Browns were awful, too, on Sunday.
Yet the Cowboys played the most lifeless first half since the final days of the Wade Phillips era. Coming off a season-saving win over Philadelphia, the Cowboys seemed determined to throw it away again.
Yes, they came back and won the game. But a good ending does not erase all the bad that occurred along the way.
Where was the leadership to get the Cowboys ready to play an inferior opponent? Where was the leadership to right the ship before halftime?
You have to wonder how much this team responds to Jason Garrett when they seem so ill-prepared every week.
Coaches don't have to be leaders if there are players who can fulfill that role. So who on the Cowboys has the respect of his teammates? Tony Romo has tried to show some leadership by venting at teammates who keep screwing up, but that's not really Romo's nature. He wants to be one of the guys, rather than The Guy.
Jason Witten? Too much of a Boy Scout. DeMarcus Ware? Too soft spoken. Miles Austin? Shies away from controversy. Sean Lee? Maybe, but he's hurt.
Believe it or not, the one guy who may become a team leader is Dez Bryant. As much as Dez is criticized for bonehead moves on the field and immature actions off it, he's the one guy who stood up Sunday.
Bryant had 12 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown that gave the Cowboys a fourth-quarter lead. While others were making mistakes and turning invisible, Bryant stepped up his game and made plays. It was the kind of performance teammates can rally around.
The Cowboys did, ultimately, rally. But if they continue to play without a solid foundation, they're always a step away from having the bottom drop out of the season.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant says he's sorry for stepping out of bounds during a second quarter reception Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
The crowd at Cowboys Stadium booed Bryant after he stepped out of bounds on the play, and then booed him a few times when it was shown on the mega-screen.
"I was hearing it. I was," Bryant said via USA Today. ...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo persevered through a career-high seven sacks, even avoiding costly mistakes that have dogged his career as he ran from constant pressure.
Tony Romo’s typical throwing position on Sunday.
Some definitions of outrageous:
a : going beyond all standards of what is right or decent outrageous disregard of human rights>
b: deficient in propriety or good taste
This brings us to the Cowboys’ 23-20 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys fielded a patchwork offensive line featuring Mackenzy Bernadeau...
The year is 2000, and it would mark the end of an era for the once-fabled Dallas Cowboys franchise. Just a short time before, there were the three Super Bowl wins in four years, the Big Three; there was “Prime Time.” But now there is Troy Aikman on his last legs, Michael Irvin retired the year before, and Emmitt Smith stumbling towards a few more all-time records. The glory was...
As the Cowboys navigate past the 10 game barrier in their season and in to the stretch drive, we now have enough data to begin to learn about this team based on what they do well and more importantly, it seems, what they don't do well at all.
We know that this team has the fewest 10 play drives in the NFL. Of the Cowboys 112 drives, only 11 have lasted 10 plays. That is lower...
Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden won't be available for Sunday's matchup against Dallas. He's been bothered by an oblique injury.Fantasy Spin:With Haden on the sidelines, quarterback Tony Romo should have an easier time finding his receivers. Look for Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to both have productive weeks.
After last week's drought, Captain Comeback Scott Kacsmar has five comebacks to dissect this week. Matt Schaub and Houston set a bunch of records, Atlanta won in unusual fashion, and Tony Romo ties Staubach.
In an effort to take my own advice, I would like to remind any and all that the ugliest win in the world is better than the prettiest defeat. Also, that wins are very difficult to find in this league, so the last thing you want to do is to get picky about how aesthetically pleasing to the eye a victory might be.
But, wow. Nothing comes easy for your 2012 Dallas Cowboys. And they...
Tony Romo and Dallas coach Jason Garrett spend a lot of time talking about protecting the ball when chaos surrounds the Cowboys quarterback.
They have another good teaching point from Sunday's 23-20 overtime win against Cleveland.
Just when it looked like Romo would persevere through a career-high seven sacks to lead a Cowboys comeback, he lost a critical fumble that sparked...
For every play but one, Tony Romo protected the ball through a career-high seven sacks and led a rally to put Dallas in position to win. That one play almost cost the Cowboys dearly Sunday.
Dan Bailey kicked a 38-yard field goal in overtime and Dallas overcame a critical fumble by Romo that sparked a wild ending in the Cowboys' 23-20 victory against Cleveland. It was the 12th...
Through 11 weeks, there can be no doubt about which quarterback in the NFC East is having the best 2012 season. And his name is not Eli Manning.Thanks to a spectacular performance on Sunday by rookie Robert Griffin III, Washington thumped hapless Philadelphia to keep faint playoff hopes alive. And while Manning and the Giants rested, Tony Romo and Dallas managed to squeeze out an...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo and Dez Bryant finally may be starting to click. The Dallas Cowboys much-maligned quarterback-receiver tandem hooked up like never before Sunday afternoon in a 23-20 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. Bryant racked up a career-high 145 receiving yards on 12 catches, including a go-ahead 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter...
The Cleveland Browns felt Austin Miles Austin fumbled after receiving a pass from Tony Romo on the Cowboys' second OT possession last night. They even called timeout after the pass was called...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Dan Bailey kicked a 38-yard field goal in overtime and Dallas overcame a critical fumble by Tony Romo that sparked a wild ending in the Cowboys' 23-20 victory against Cleveland on Sunday.
Bailey's winning kick with 6:07 remaining in overtime came after both teams punted once in the first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium. Bailey hit a tying 32-yard...