What can you say about the 2012 Dallas Cowboys at the midseason point? Dallas spent money to improve the defense last offseason, which has made them a better team. Unfortunately, the Cowboys remain a disappointing 3-5 in the NFC East and battling just to get to .500, let alone for a spot in the 2012 NFL Playoffs. Simply put, it has been mostly gloom and doom in the Big D once again in 2012.
The Cowboys just can’t seem to get it right. Blame it on Jerry Jones. Blame it on Jason Garrett. Blame it on Tony Romo. Truth be told, all should share some of the blame. For whatever reason, it just isn’t getting any better with America’s Team either. In fact, they seem as if they continue to take giant steps backward as the rest of the league passes them both in terms of success as well as popularity.
The 2012 Cowboys are not a threat. They are a joke.
Dallas would be on the outside looking in at the playoffs if they were to begin today. With eight games remaining this season, there is clearly time to turn things around for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, I have seen very few glimpses that would illustrate a turn around this season. I see a better chance of them finishing with a losing record, missing the playoffs and firing much of the coaching staff.
Personally, I would let Romo walk after this season as well. I am not saying that this mess is all his fault, but his decision making skills have still not improved. At this point, I do not see that ever changing. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you continue to make the same mistakes game after game, season after season, you clearly aren’t as good as people may think.
See VICK, MICHAEL. It is the same story.
But while I am quick to point the finger of blame at Romo, I will give him some credit as well. The Cowboys are third in the NFL in passing yards per game. When he does have an open receiver, he will find him more often than not. Even if it happens to be an opposing defender. Joking aside, Romo is on pace to throw for 20 TD. Unfortunately, he is also on pace to throw 26 INT.
Hence, the lack of progress in both Romo and the Cowboys.
Here is a look at the rest of the numbers on offense, which are quite offensive when it comes to the ground game.
Tony Romo: 211 completions of 318 attempts for 2,394 yards with 10 TD and 13 INT
DeMarco Murray: 75 carries for 330 yards with 1 TD
Felix Jones: 58 carries for 207 yards with 2 TD
Miles Austin: 41 catches for 637 yards with 4 TD
Jason Witten: 58 catches for 538 yards with 1 TD
Dez Bryant: 42 catches for 503 yards with 2 TD
Kevin Ogletree: 24 catches for 344 yards with 3 TD
In their defense, Murray has been banged up for the Cowboys. As has Jones. But that is no surprise, as the two make up one of the more fragile backfields in the entire league. Austin and Witten are both having strong bounce-back seasons for Dallas, but Bryant continues to be an enigma. He flashes signs of brilliance mixed in with images of mediocrity. He has failed to take the next big step forward and, personally, I am not sure if he ever will on a consistent basis.
I mentioned that the defense is a vastly improved unit, especially against the pass. Signing Brandon Carr and trading up to draft Morris Claiborne has Dallas ranked fifth in passing yards allowed per game. While they need to create more opportunities for interceptions, the defensive secondary has done a great job at limiting opposing quarterbacks. The run defense has struggled at times, especially with the loss of Sean Lee. DeMarcus Ware is having another outstanding season, but the Cowboys have been a bit banged up on the front line and at linebacker, meaning offensive linemen are devoting even more attention to blocking Ware than normal. Still, he has already registered nine sacks through the first eight games.
While the Cowboys do not have a good record, they may be able to take solace in the fact that neither do their remaining opponents. In fact, as the standings currently stand, only one of Dallas’ remaining eight games is against a team with a winning record. The Cowboys have two games each against the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, who are also both headed in the wrong direction. Throw in winnable games against the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints, and the schedule certainly lines up more than favorably for the Cowboys going forward.
Of course, if they cannot find a way to turn things around, it will not matter. Through the first eight games, sue to the inconsistencies and turnovers, the Cowboys have earned a grade of just a C- on their midseason report card.