IRVING, Texas – At 5-4 the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East and have won three of their last four games.
I wonder why things seem so bleak. (Not really). Anyway, it’s Tuesday and it’s time for Five Wonders.
Off we go:
1. I wonder if Jason Garrett will be more involved in the offense. Not to say he hasn’t been involved, but this has been Bill Callahan’s baby (and Tony Romo’s by extension) for the season. The results have been mixed, to say the least. The Cowboys have scored 29 touchdowns in the first nine games, but five have come on defense and special teams. The running game was historically bad on Sunday. One of those nine carries the Cowboys had against the Minnesota Vikings was a Tony Romo scramble, so they really had eight runs. Did Callahan call more than eight? No doubt he did, but Romo had to check out of some and admitted the Vikings’ D tricked him a few times. But with Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams and other decent weapons, the offense can’t be this stagnant. This remains Garrett’s offense and I wondered if Jerry Jones was doing a disservice to Callahan by having him run somebody else’s offense at the start of the season. If we see Garrett with a play sheet in front of him in the future, then we’ll know he’s more involved. He hasn’t yet. For now.
2. Remember last fall when it looked like Sean Payton would be a free-agent coach after his contract with the New Orleans Saints was disapproved by the NFL? I wonder if the Cowboys really would’ve gotten into a bidding war for Payton. His family is in the area. He enjoyed his time here. He is a favorite of owner and general manager Jerry Jones. He has an affinity for Romo. He loves the attention. (Did anybody catch his workout being filmed a few weeks ago on a telecast?). It seemed like it would make sense. But Payton and the Saints put pen to paper on a new and approved contract and things are going swimmingly with the Saints in his return from Bountygate. Maybe one day Payton will roam the Cowboys sidelines but it won’t be anytime soon.
3. Garrett wants players to show passion, emotion and enthusiasm. Some players show that outwardly. Some players don’t. Bruce Carter is the former, but I wonder if that’s why the coaches have not taken kindly to the linebacker’s play this year. He was benched in favor of Ernie Sims against the Vikings and only got on the field for the bulk of the second half because Sims was so bad. Carter has immense athleticism, but I wonder if the coaches want to see some fire on the field. When he gave up the touchdowns to San Diego’s Danny Woodhead earlier in the season, he didn’t have any real reaction. He found himself on the bench in that game. In the second half against the Vikings, Carter was better and showed emotion after making a nice play in the flat. You don’t have to have Sean Lee-like emotions, but you can’t make it seem like you’re just going through the motions either.
4. A couple of weeks ago I wondered if Brian Waters wanted to play in 2014 in part because he was playing so well. Now that the veteran guard is out for the year because of a triceps injury, I wonder if Waters wants to play in 2014 but for a different reason. Proud players want to go out on their own. They don’t want to go out because of injuries, especially. Waters is a proud player. He was doing a solid job and he had a positive effect on his fellow offensive linemen. But he’s 36. Does he want to go through the rehab it would take to come back and play another year? Maybe he does. He turns 37 in February and old players get hurt. That’s what happens. But maybe there’s a way this could work. If I’m the Cowboys I would want to make sure Waters commits to the offseason and training camp. It couldn’t be a situation where he is away all summer and joins the team in September again. If there is an advantage for the Cowboys it’s that this is Waters’ home.
5. I wonder if there will come a game in which the Cowboys’ de-activate rookie tight end Gavin Escobar and go with Andre Smith, who is a true blocking tight end as they look to sort out their run game issues. The second-round pick played nine offensive snaps against the Vikings. The Cowboys knew Escobar needed time to develop as a blocker when they picked him, but they are not getting him involved much lately. He does not have a catch in the last four games and has just four receptions on the season. He is not a big special teams’ help either. This isn’t Escobar’s fault. This is the coaches either not putting him out there enough or not willing to get more of a package for him. He has the ability to go get the ball, but if he is playing so sparingly they might want to find a spot for somebody else on the roster to play more snaps.