Dallas Cowboys: What Went Wrong

Dallas Cowboys Preseason Live

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
9:00
AM ET
Welcome to Dallas Cowboys training camp! ESPN.com Cowboys reporters Todd Archer and Tim MacMahon have live updates and the latest news from Oxnard, California.

The Blame Bowl: Rob Ryan vs. GM Jerry

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
7:00
PM ET
Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade of ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM are asking for your help in placing the blame exactly where it should go. The Cowboys might not have made the playoffs after having every chance to win the NFC East, but that doesn't mean somebody can't walk away with a championship.

PODCAST
Ben and Skin unveil the final matchup in the 2011 Dallas Cowboys Blame Bracket.

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The skinny: Voting for our Blame Bowl will take place all weekend and the fans' choice will be announced on the Ben & Skin Show on Monday morning.

At stake: The Blame Cannon, a constant reminder of how the winner of this event was constantly blasted during (and after) the 2011 season.

So leave your votes for our Blame Bowl below, and listen to Ben & Skin Show from 9 a.m.-noon every weekday -- as we play the Blame Game. You can listen online here.

View the bracket and cast your vote below.

The Blame Bowl

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse this season: GM Jerry Jones or Rob Ryan
Ben & Skin matchup: GM Jerry/Ryan



What Went Wrong: Offensive line play

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
12:00
PM ET
This is the final installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

No. 1: The offensive line struggled

Looking back it was too much to ask of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. Protect Tony Romo with three players who never started a NFL game and two rookies. Just too much.

The Cowboys offensive line battled through injuries and ineffective play for most of the 2011 season. Left tackle Doug Free moved from the right side to the left in 2011 and was credited with 10 sacks allowed, including six the last four weeks of the season. Free didn't display the strength and athletic ability needed on a consistent basis to contain speedy pass rush ends.

The middle of the Cowboys line had troubles as well. It started when guard Bill Nagy went on injured reserve in October with a fractured ankle, backup Derrick Dockery suffered a knee injury that kept him out for weeks and Montrae Holland returned to the team after getting cut in training camp due to a back and weight issues.

Kyle Kosier, the starting right guard, battled a foot injury the bulk of the season.

If the Cowboys had made the postseason, Holland (biceps) and Kosier (knee) would be lost due to injuries.

Center Phil Costa had some snap issues and didn't play with a lot of power at times. The team does like Kevin Kowalski and might give him a chance to start next season.

Tyron Smith, the right tackle, was the bright spot. But he had some issues at times dealing with athletic defensive ends, but Smith has tremendous upside and could move to left tackle next season.

The Cowboys made several moves after the lockout, cutting veterans Andre Gurode, Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis, for younger players. And while the Cowboys knew it would have growing pains, the offensive line should have performed better.

The Blame Game: Not-So-Fantastic Four

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
8:58
AM ET
Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade of ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM are asking for your help in placing the blame exactly where it should go. The Cowboys might not have made the playoffs after having every chance to win the NFC East, but that doesn't mean somebody can't walk away with a championship.

The skinny: Voting for our Not-So-Fantastic Four matchups will continue today, and the winners will advance to the Blame Bowl, of which voting will take place all weekend and the fans' choice will be announced on the Ben & Skin Show on Monday morning.

At stake: The Blame Cannon, a constant reminder of how the winner of this event was constantly blasted during (and after) the 2011 season.

So leave your votes for our Not-So-Fantastic Four below, and listen to Ben & Skin Show from 9 a.m.-noon today -- and every weekday -- as we play the Blame Game. You can listen online here.

View the bracket and cast your vote below.

Not-So-Fantastic Four Semifinal #1

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse this season: Doug Free or Rob Ryan?
Ben & Skin matchup: Free/Ryan


Not-So-Fantastic Four Semifinal #2

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse this season: Terence Newman or GM Jerry Jones?
Ben & Skin matchup: Newman/GM Jerry



What Went Wrong: Garrett's clock management

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
8:33
AM ET
This is the fourth installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

No. 2: Jason Garrett’s clock management at Arizona

The Cowboys had a number of difficult losses in 2011 but the hardest to explain will be the 19-13 overtime defeat at Arizona on Dec. 4.

It was like every game the Cowboys play at University of Phoenix Stadium in some respects because of the strangeness, but this one might have been stranger than the 2008 overtime loss in which the Cowboys lost on a blocked punt for a touchdown and the 2010 loss that was triggered by a missed point after attempt.

This one fell on the shoulders of Jason Garrett.

The Cowboys were driving for a game-winning field goal attempt, like they had done a few times earlier in the season against San Francisco, Washington (twice) and Miami.

A 15-yard completion on third down to Dez Bryant put the Cowboys at the Arizona 31 with 24 seconds to play, however, Garrett chose not to use one of his two timeouts to give the offense the chance to move deeper into Cardinals’ territory for a shorter field goal try.

Tony Romo spiked the ball with seven seconds to play to set up a game-winning try by Dan Bailey from 49 yards. Bailey’s first attempt was good, but Garrett called a timeout because he and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and assistant Chris Boniol felt the play clock was running low.

Bailey’s second attempt was short and to the left, forcing the game into overtime.

The Cowboys would not get the ball again with LaRod Stephens-Howling scoring on a 52-yard screen pass.

Garrett stood by the decision publicly but in private apologized to the team for the error.

Who stays/goes: More free agents

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
12:03
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Earlier in the week we brought you the Cowboys’ 13 unrestricted free agents. Today we bring you the team’s three restricted free agents and four exclusive rights free agents.

PODCAST
ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen breaks down the playoff matchups and talks about why the Cowboys will be watching from home.

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Unlike the previous two years when the Cowboys placed the highest tenders on wide receiver Miles Austin and Doug Free to secure their services, the Cowboys will not have to make such a decision on wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, fullback Tony Fiammetta and quarterback Chris Greisen.

Because of the collective bargaining change, Free eventually became an unrestricted free agent and was signed to a long-term deal.

Before that Free’s tender cost $3.442 million. The 2012 tender numbers are not yet known, but last year they were $2.7 million for first-round, $1.9 million for second-round and $1.2 million for original tender/right of first refusal.

Greisen was not tendered last year and is likely to have the same fate this year.

Clifton Geathers, Jermey Parnell, Jesse Holley and Chauncey Washington are the exclusive rights free agents. They cannot negotiate with another team unless the team chooses to not tender them an offer.

The breakdown:

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

WR Kevin Ogletree: He came out of camp as the No. 3 receiver almost by default and finished with 15 catches for 164 yards once Laurent Robinson surpassed him on the depth chart. He also handled some punt and kick return duties. If he is tendered at all, it would be for the right of first refusal, however, Robinson will be an unrestricted free agent and could be gone in 2012. Because he was an undrafted free agent the Cowboys would not receive any compensation in return.

FB Tony Fiammetta: He did a nice job in helping resurrect the running game, especially when DeMarco Murray took over, but he was not as good when he came back from an illness that knocked him out of three games. He could be tendered at the right of first refusal, which would garner the Cowboys a fourth-round pick in return. He was Carolina’s fourth rounder in 2009.

QB Chris Greisen: He’s a smart quarterback but he’s also 35.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

DE Clifton Geathers: He was kept around for the entire season and active for five games. He finished with two tackles and three pressures. He’ll be back for camp but he’s not a guaranteed a roster spot.

OT Jermey Parnell: He saw limited snaps during the year but was active for every game. The Cowboys have put two years in him, so they will give him another try. They like his athleticism but with the players in front of him he’s destined to be a swing tackle on gameday.

WR Jesse Holley: He keeps sticking around and this year he made some plays on offense. He will always have the San Francisco game to fall back on. He was decent on special teams and is a good locker room guy.

RB Chauncey Washington: He was a late-season addition and could be brought back to camp, but it’s possible that he will not be tendered.

What Went Wrong: Fourth-quarter collapses

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
9:00
AM ET
This is the third installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

No. 3: Losing five fourth-quarter leads

It's amazing when you think about how this Cowboys season started -- a 27-24 loss to the New York Jets, and how it would set the tone for 2011. When the season was over, the Cowboys suffered eight total losses, but five came when they blew fourth-quarter leads.

Five.

Quarterback Tony Romo cost the team two games with fourth-quarter turnovers vs. the Jets. His interceptions helped the Detroit Lions rally from a 24-point deficit.

Rob Ryan's defense failed to contain Tom Brady and the Patriots, and the loss to the Arizona Cardinals might have been the worst.

Driving for a potential game-winning field goal, coach Jason Garrett mismanaged the game-clock and -- in a roundabout way -- iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey, by calling a timeout in the closing seconds of the play clock. Bailey would miss a 49-yarder, and Arizona went on to win, 19-13, in overtime.

Said outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware about that loss: "You just had a loss, [so] what are you going to do about it? The good teams, they come back from a tough loss like that and you really see the true team spirit and how teams come back from adversity. That really tells you the type of character we have on this team. We’re going to see that this week."

So what happened the following week? Against the New York Giants -- with a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC East -- the Cowboys took a 34-22 lead with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter and went on to lose, 37-34.

At worse, if Dallas defeated Arizona, the odds of a getting wild-card berth and a division title would've been greater. But the loss all but kept Dallas out of the wild-card chase and put them in a winner-take-all game against the Giants in the regular-season finale.

When the season was over, Ware found out what type of team he's playing on: One that doesn't finish games.

Is Jason Garrett making excuses?

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
8:14
AM ET


Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett switched his stance by suggesting the season was a rebuilding year, writes Tim MacMahon.

Here's a snippet of MacMahon's prose:
[Jason Garrett] clearly wanted this season to be remembered as a rebuilding year, even though he never uttered the R-word.

"Well, we've said it right from the outset, we made some decisions in our organization where we moved on from some older players that probably would have given us maybe a better chance to win right now because we wanted to take it in a different direction," said Garrett, whose favorite phrase for the day was "growing pains."

No, Jason, you actually didn't say that right from the outset. This bull about a rebuilding season is revisionist history.

See, we actually remember what you say when you stand behind that podium. (Even when our eyelids droop, our tape recorders keep rolling.) When the ax fell on center Andre Gurode, the last of the big-name, big-buck veterans to get the boot, the rationale coming from the red-headed head coach wasn't about rebuilding.

"We felt like it was the best move for us right now," Garrett said when Gurode got cut. "There's nothing purposeful in saying, 'We've got to get rid of all the old guys and sign all the young guys.' That's not what we're thinking. We're just trying to make our team as good as it can be right now."

What do you think? Did you feel it was a rebuilding year heading into the season, and expectations were clouded when the Cowboys upped their record to 7-4? For more, click here.

And to vote in the Ben & Skin Blame Game, click here.

Cowboys regular-season wrap-up

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
3:28
PM ET

NFC Wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 13
Preseason Power Ranking: 14

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
Stew Milne/US PresswireDeMarco Murray averaged 5.5 yards per carry before he was lost to a season-ending injury.
Biggest surprise: Laurent Robinson. Signed as an afterthought by a team that didn't have a No. 3 wide receiver and wasn't sure it needed one, Robinson became a star in the passing game for quarterback Tony Romo. He caught 54 passes for 858 yards and tied for fourth in the league with 11 touchdown catches. With Miles Austin hurt for much of the season and second-year wideout Dez Bryant still developing amid a slew of off-field issues, Robinson was a big reason the Cowboys found themselves in the division race at all.

Biggest disappointment: The 1-4 finish. Even after crushing early-season losses to the Jets, Lions and Patriots -- each a game the Cowboys should have won -- Dallas stood at 7-4 and in position to take control of the NFC East with the Giants going through a second-half fade. But they gave away the game against Arizona with poor late clock management and a bizarre sequence on which head coach Jason Garrett iced his own rookie kicker, and from there it was a mess. Two losses to the Giants in the final four games sealed the Cowboys' fate, and the only game they won in their final five was against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that had quit on its coach. The defense collapsed late in the season and must be addressed, and the offensive line had a hard time protecting Romo. This was a system failure, and there are multiple personnel issues that have to be handled in advance of next season if they want to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Biggest need: The Cowboys need to get better in the secondary, which is weird because they addressed that last year by signing two free-agent safeties. But they knew Terence Newman wasn't going to be good enough at cornerback, which is why they tried to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, and they were right. Mike Jenkins played well but can't stay healthy. And while they signed Orlando Scandrick in the hope that he could take over for Newman as a starter next year, he doesn't necessarily look ready for a role like that. Cornerback, then, is a major need, and it wouldn't hurt if they did something about the pass rush. Anthony Spencer is a free agent at the outside linebacker spot opposite DeMarcus Ware, and Spencer does not appear to be the long-term answer.

PODCAST
Coop and Nate rank the Cowboys' needs on defense in order, starting with the most important.

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Team MVP: DeMarco Murray. Yes, Romo had a great year and put up huge numbers. But he was also directly responsible for at least two of the early-season losses. And when you lose the division by one game, that has to matter. The Cowboys were at their very best when they were running the ball with Murray, their powerful rookie running back who ran for 897 yards in spite of not getting the starter's job until Oct. 23 and suffering a season-ending injury on Dec. 11. The Cowboys went 5-2 in the games that Murray both started and finished, and that's why I'm putting him here ahead of both Romo and Ware, each of whom had great years but vanished a bit when it counted.

Better, right? The trend arrow points up because the Cowboys won two more games in 2011 than they did in 2010. But the season left a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans and a lot of questions about the future. Is Garrett as talented a coach as Jerry Jones says he believes him to be, and will he get better and correct his mistakes as he gains more experience? Did Rob Ryan as coordinator really improve the defense, and can it take the next step if he gets a few more pieces in place before next year? Did Romo really learn from his early-season mistakes? He threw only three interceptions in the team's final nine games and may have taken a big step in his own career in spite of the fact that the defense and the offensive line crumbled around him. Will he continue to be a responsible and effective leader in 2012? The Cowboys appear to be in better shape than they were at this time last year, but it's hard to really see it through the disappointment of the final month.

What Went Wrong: Defensive mediocrity

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
10:35
AM ET

This is the second installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011. For more, click here.

No. 4: Mediocrity from Rob Ryan's defense

Rob Ryan
AP Photo/Julio CortezRob Ryan's unit ranked 14th in total defense and 16th in scoring defense, but the blame should fall on the players -- and not entirely on Ryan as he asks it to be.
Rob Ryan promised greatness from a defense he declared had the most talent in the NFL.

He delivered mediocrity with a unit that needs to be upgraded at several spots next season.

The Dallas defense was average as a whole -- 14th in total defense (343.2 yards per game) and 16th in scoring defense (21.7 points) -- and dreadful when it mattered most. The New York Giants averaged 34 points and 473.5 yards in two wins over the Cowboys that determined the NFC East title.

Ryan often enabled his players by insisting that all the blame should be placed on his wide shoulders. There were some grumbles that his three-thick-playbook scheme was too complicated, causing mass confusion and leading him to simplify game plans in the final few weeks.

PODCAST
Coop and Nate rank the Cowboys' needs on defense in order, starting with the most important.

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Of course, Wade Phillips’ scheme was supposedly too simple and predictable, but it worked pretty well this season for the Houston Texans’ second-ranked defense. At some point, the blame needs to be pinned on the players.

Ryan seemed to realize that in the last couple of weeks, particularly during an angry halftime rant after Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles marched 87 yards in 50 seconds for a touchdown, prompting him to rip the players for poorly executing a good game plan.

Several defensive starters will be gone next season, starting with longtime left cornerback Terence Newman, a two-time Pro Bowler who was terrible down the stretch. Ryan will return, barring the surprising development of a team wanting him to become its head coach after under-delivering so badly in Dallas.

The Blame Game: Who takes the heat?

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
8:45
AM ET


Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade of ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM are asking for your help in placing the blame exactly where it should go.

PODCAST
Ben and Skin introduce the field in the 2011 Dallas Cowboys Blame Bracket.

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The subject: The Dallas Cowboys.

The reason: Another season where the Cowboys didn't qualify for the postseason despite having every chance to win the NFC East and make the playoffs.

Leave your votes below, and listen to Ben & Skin Show from 9 a.m.-noon today -- and every day -- as we host a Cowboys Roundtable discussion and also play the Blame Game. You can listen online here.

View the bracket and cast your vote below.

Blame Game: Offense Matchup #1

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the offense: Tony Romo or Doug Free?


Offense Matchup #2

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the offense: Felix Jones or Miles Austin?


Coaches Matchup #1

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the coaching staff: Jason Garrett or Joe DeCamillis?


Coaches Matchup #2

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the coaching staff: Rob Ryan or Dave Campo?


Defense Matchup #1

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the defense: Terence Newman or Marcus Spears?


Defense Matchup #2

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the defense: Gerald Sensabaugh or Bradie James?


Front Office Matchup #1

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the front office: GM Jerry Jones or Spalding?


Front Office Matchup #2

Who's most to blame for the Cowboys' collapse from the front office: Owner Jerry Jones or VP Stephen Jones?



What Went Wrong: DeMarco Murray's ankle

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
11:10
AM ET
This is the first installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

No. 5. DeMarco Murray breaks his ankle

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezCowboys running back DeMarco Murray suffered a broken ankle vs. the Giants on Dec. 11, and the Cowboys missed him greatly down the stretch.
Murray transformed the Cowboys’ season in many ways because he brought a balance to Jason Garrett’s playcalling. He was the workhorse, getting at least 20 carries in five games of a seven-game span.

Murray suffered the injury on Dec. 11 against the New York Giants when defensive end Dave Tollefsen landed on Murray while making a tackle.

Without Murray, the Cowboys had to rely on Felix Jones to be the main running back. He did a decent job, but he suffered a hamstring strain at Tampa Bay in which he had his first set of back-to-back 20-carry games.

Many will point to Murray’s franchise-record 239-yard outing against St. Louis as his best game, but it actually might have been his 73-yard game at Washington on 25 tough carries where he proved his mettle.

Jones is just not built to be an every-down back. Murray, whose rehab is on schedule following surgery, is.

The Cowboys missed the rookie greatly down the stretch.

Who stays/goes: Unrestricted free agents

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
10:39
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have 13 players who will be unrestricted free agents in 2012, and there is a possibility none of them will return.

CB Alan Ball: He started off well in the No. 4 cornerback role, but his play tailed off late in the season when he had to play more. The Cowboys should target corners in the draft and free agency, which means a return is unlikely.

TE Martellus Bennett: He wants a chance to play more and that won’t happen here with Jason Witten ahead of him here. He was saddled with second-round pick expectations but he never lived up to the billing. We’ll see if he can produce elsewhere.

LB Keith Brooking: He knows his career is winding down but he wants to keep playing. With little depth behind Sean Lee and the Cowboys hoping Bruce Carter can be a starter in 2012, is it worth it to bring him back for another year?

OG Derrick Dockery: He did not play poorly in his two starts and given the lack of depth on the offensive line he could be back on a short-term deal.

S Abram Elam: When the Cowboys gave Gerald Sensabaugh $8 million in December that seemed to seal Elam’s fate as a one-year player here. He is a favorite of Rob Ryan and I think the Cowboys should have signed him to the long-term deal, not Sensabaugh.

OG Montrae Holland: He’s in the same boat as Dockery, but he did a good enough job in the 10-game stint at right guard. He will be coming off biceps surgery and teams weren’t knocking on his door last year. Again, a short-term deal could work.

LB Bradie James: He remained the starter but his playing time was cut way back in Rob Ryan’s scheme. To his credit, he never complained and remained the consummate pro. He will get a job somewhere in 2012, but the Cowboys want to get younger and faster.

QB Jon Kitna: He was likely to retire after this season anyway before a back injury ended his season. Maybe the injury fuels him to want to come back for another year, but that is doubtful. I believe he’s ready for his post-playing career.

P Mat McBriar: This is the most interesting case because of the foot injury. Time and rest will help the nerves regenerate but there is no time table on when he will be back. A healthy McBriar is among the best punters in the game. Internal politics will be interesting on this one.

RB Sammy Morris: He did a terrific job as a late-season find, but he was around on Week 15 for a reason. It would be a lot of money to pay a No. 3 running back, especially with Phillip Tanner coming back next year.

WR Laurent Robinson: He was the biggest surprise of the year, finishing with 11 touchdown catches. He proved he could be a starter with Miles Austin out. If a team makes a big-time offer to him, he won’t be back. The Cowboys cannot sign him to a new deal until the new league year begins even if they wanted to sign him now.

LB Anthony Spencer: He was OK but when you’re a first-round pick that’s just not good enough. He did not deliver as a pass rusher and they need help opposite DeMarcus Ware. What helps his cause is the Cowboys don’t have an every-down replacement.

CB Frank Walker: He did a nice job early but tailed off late. Like Ball, the more he played the more he was exposed. Defensive teammates loved him but he was inactive for the final game, which should tell you his future here.

(Note: This was updated to remove Chris Greisen, who will be a restricted free agent, and Daniel Loper, who was cut before the regular-season finale.)


IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have several assistant coaches without a contract for 2012: Dave Campo (secondary), Hudson Houck (running game/offensive line), Brett Maxie (secondary/safeties), Wes Phillips (assistant offensive line), Keith O'Quinn (offensive quality control/wide receivers) and Skip Peete (running backs).

Coach Jason Garrett wouldn't say if he wants any to return, but it's worth noting he developed a strong bond with Phillips, the son of former coach Wade Phillips, who is now the defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans.

"I feel great about our staff and how we’ve worked really hard, and again, we’ll address that at a later time," Garrett said.

The Houston Texans expressed interest in hiring Maxie last season but were denied the ability to speak with him about a coaching position.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan signed a multiyear deal last season but with several head coaching openings, there's a chance Garrett might have to replace him.

"Well, if Rob has an opportunity to go be a head coach somewhere, I think that’s a great thing for Rob, and we certainly would encourage that," Garrett said. "I think he’s worthy of being a head coach in this league. I think he does an outstanding job as a coordinator, he’s an excellent leader, he’s an excellent coach, and we would encourage that for him. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. I think that’s part of the process. You allow for that to happen if that opportunity does exist, and then we would have to obviously replace him and make some decisions of our own. But, we certainly love having him as our coordinator, and we’re excited about our opportunity to grow in that area for next year."

If Ryan leaves to become a head coach, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, whom Ryan called his right-hand man, could get elevated to coordinator. Eberflus could also leave to become Ryan's defensive coordinator/assistant head coach should he get a head coaching position.

Rabid Reaction: Eulogizing the Cowboys' season

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
11:30
AM ET
Rabid Reaction: Our series of knee-jerk-styled, emotional overreactions from Ben Rogers of 103.3 FM ESPN's Ben and Skin Show. He's known to get way too excited over even the slightest of developments with the teams he grew up with in the DFW. Proceed with caution ...

We didn't have the pleasure of knowing a deep Cowboys playoff run this year, but I’ve spent some time following the adventures of Jerry, Stephen and Spalding Jones. I was raised on Cowboys football during the jewelry-producing Staubach and Aikman eras, so I have a very clear impression of the kind of glorious run that we’re here to bury today.

The 2011 Cowboys season started with such high hopes. Gone was Wade Phillips and his relaxed, friendly lemonade salesman style of leadership. In his place was a red-headed cyborg robot with the most coveted scantron in the classroom.

But in the end, Jason Garrett’s knack to finish other people’s complicated chalkboard formulas -- that only one or two others could -- ultimately gave credence to the theory that he is quite possibly little more than a very intelligent Valley Ranch janitor, potentially capable of being best friends with Ben Affleck.

But despite Garrett’s distinct ability to bore an entire room of reporters into medical grade comas with repeated monotone mentions of watching tape, all three phases and the process on a weekly basis, the Cowboys' offense racked up the second-most yards in franchise history with the worst offensive line in the history of organized football. So clearly the offense was not to blame here

When the season started, Rob Ryan’s enormous belly offered tremendous promise of big things to come. However, in the end, it proved to be little more than a human beer refrigerator and gas-powered balloon muffler. For it was truly nothing more than fruitless hot air coming from this Ryan, and all Ryans for that matter. Were it not for the intoxicating allure of his balsa wood-based bold talk, many of us would have wisely protected our fragile Jerry Jones trampled football hearts.

But because of his completely unsubstantiated and never-backed-up swagger, we believed. Rob Ryan sold us a box of disgusting rotten vegetables, and we couldn’t wait to eat them up as if it was the finest produce in the country. And for that mistake, we all feel tremendous sorrow today as the 2011 Cowboys season rests forever in the Jerryworld-sized coffin metaphor before us.

And so we say goodbye to Terence Newman, perhaps the worst cornerback in the history of the forward pass. Goodbye Anthony Spencer, master of ordinary. Goodbye Martellus Bennett, beacon of underachievement. Goodbye Bradie James, creator of the tackling piggyback ride. Goodbye Keith Brooking, linebacking Bill Bates.

The 2011 Dallas Cowboys season died a cold, wet, miserable death last night in the far-away Meadowlands. But in truth, this franchise has been on life support for a decade and a half. Jerry Jones is the worst GM in football, but he is going nowhere. And because of that, nothing will change.

Perhaps during this quiet time we can spare a special thought and offer our sympathy, our love and our support to Cowboys fans, their families and loved ones -- and most importantly, to Tony Romo. You, sir, are not to blame for any of this. This violent, bloody football death falls directly on the head of one Jerry Jones -- the all-time QB and we're-doing-it-my-way bully of this never-ending disaster called Jerry Jones-brand Dallas Cowboys football.

Rest in peace, 2011 Dallas Cowboys. You will not fool us again in 2012.

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