When the Dallas Cowboys began the 2019-20 football season, their future seemed bright with potential. But now, sitting at 6-6 following another bad loss, this time to the Buffalo Bills, with just four games remaining, any hope of a postseason run at the Super Bowl seems long dead.
The Cowboys began the season with one of the best quarterbacks in the league, one of the best running backs in the league, one of the best receiving corps in the league and some of the best defenders in the league. Quarterback Dak Prescott leads the NFL in passing yards and running back Ezekiel Eliiot, while having a slight down year by his standards, is still a top 10 rusher in the league.
Yet as the seemingly inexplicable losses pile on, the question needs to be asked: What’s holding the Cowboys back?
Several players have drastically underperformed this year, undercutting and negating the extreme on-paper talent.
Take, for instance, the team’s offensive line. Though they’ve admittedly had to contend with injuries, I think it’s safe to say that Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin are the most overrated tandem in the entire NFL this year.
Prescott, despite his strong numbers, is constantly under pressure from opposing defenders and laid out on his back at the end of plays as a result. Likewise, Elliott’s numbers are slightly down this year in large part because of the lack of blocking he receives from the offensive line. Countless goal line stands have faltered because of the lackadaisical effort by the O-line.
Also deserving of blame is the defense’s secondary. All season long, the pass defenders have allowed opposing quarterbacks and receivers — even those not particularly great — to have big nights. I’m reminded of the loss to the New Orleans Saints, when the secondary allowed Teddy Bridgewater to look like Drew Brees.
However, you can’t pin it all on the players. The most obvious reason the Cowboys have struggled is the job done by head coach Jason Garrett and the rest of the coaching staff. Preparation for opponents seems scant, as the Cowboys regularly look taken aback by their opponents’ schemes, both offensively and defensively.
Furthermore, Garrett and his coordinators seem unwilling or incapable of adjusting on the fly, as they continue to use
playcalling that clearly isn’t working.
And while all hope is not lost, as the Cowboys still hold the lead in the extremely underwhelming NFC East, the disappointment in how the season has gone is undeniable. Under Garrett, underachievement has become the norm, however, and until he’s gone, I don’t think things are likely to change.