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

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA


Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

Chicago White Sox: Impact of Mat Latos signing

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

WATCH: Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

Michael Jordan’s rep comments on the crying meme

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

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

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker