Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/18/12
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
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Hawks not shopping Al Horford at NBA trade deadline

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

RG3 passes exit physical, clears way for release


Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

CC Sabathia on the outside looking in for the Yankees

Prediction time: NHL award winners

Boston Celtics team awards at the NBA All-Star Break

Brook Lopez is the NBA's most underrated big man

Reviewing the Tampa Bay Rays

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

The Ryan Johansen-Seth Jones trade thus far

Chaotic Cleveland should stick with Kevin Love, halt the rumors

Kevin Durant was ‘shocked’ by Derek Fisher firing

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker