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
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Miguel Tejada's home burglarized, suspect arrested

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker