Monday, September 20, 2010

Who To Follow

So I'm sitting here in Dallas waiting for the sky to fall after the Cowboys lost again. So far it still seems to be up there, but I have a mattress over my bathtub just in case. Okay, the mattress is always there because I sleep in the bathtub. It's just my thing.

There was a moment during the Cowboys humiliating loss to the Bears on Sunday when an agitated Jason Witten was on the sideline desperately trying to argue his way back into the game. He had a possible concussion and the Dallas medical staff smartly didn't allow Witten to man up and go do further damage to his brain.

As I watched him though, I found myself wishing I could clone him to put on other parts of the team. I don't mean that because Witten is possibly the most complete tight end in the game, I mean that because Witten possibly has the most character of anyone wearing a star on their helmet. I think that scarcity of leadership is the biggest issue facing this 0-2 team. Talk about the offensive line, Tony Romo, or Roy Williams all you want, to me it keeps coming back to the same issue.

This team generally needs a General.

Look at the past Super Bowl winners. The Colts and Saints have unquestioned quarterback leadership from Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. The Giants rallied behind Michael Strahan to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers had the defensive wizardry of Dick LeBeau and the no excuses preaching of Mike Tomlin.

The Cowboys have...what? Tony Romo isn't that type of leader, he's just one of the guys. That's his personality and it's not a knock on him, Eli Manning isn't a big leader either and he has a Super Bowl ring. DeMarcus Ware isn't a leader in the locker room, he's a beast you let loose on the field to destroy an offense. Miles Austin isn't the leader, he's all smiles because he remembers when he didn't even have a spot in the staring lineup. Keith Brooking is a good leader, but he's at the end of his career. He's not a dominant star.

Jay Ratliff? Nope. Over achiever in the middle of the defense

Terrance Newman? Nope.

Mike Jenkins? Brash young player. Not a leader

Roy Williams? Okay, now I'm getting ridiculous.

The point is that the Cowboys have no on field studs who not only play well, but inspire others to play well for them. Imagine Ray Lewis screaming at his defense. Imagine Tom Brady directing his receivers to the right place. Look how excited Jared Allen got the other Vikings during their playoff run last year. The Cowboys have no one like that. Either the Cowboys have to get lucky in the draft one year and just grab a super stud player without the character issues or they have to change the one position where they can pick a guy to lead the team.

The Cowboys need to get a new head coach.

This isn't a Wade Phillips bashing segment. I like Wade, he's nice to people. He doesn't walk around with a permanent scowl on his face like Todd Haley in Kansas City or refuse to talk to the media like Eric Mangini in Cleveland. He is a genuinely good guy, but he's not the guy this team needs.

This team needs a leader as head coach. They need a guy who will not make excuses and not accept excuses either. No more blown assignments, no more dropped balls, no more celebrity personalities, and no more talk. You either get it done, or you don't. That's the nature of the NFL. If you need an example, look no further than the New York Jets. Rex Ryan changed the culture of that entire team virtually overnight.

The question is, will the one person who is capable of this move make the right call? Jerry Jones owns this team and he wants to be in charge. He hired Bill Parcells for a few years and though the Tuna turned this team around, Jerry was miserable the entire time. Jerry like the media, he likes people to talk about his team and he likes people to talk about him. If he brings in a forceful personality at head coach, there will be inevitable clashes. It won't always be fun for Jerry, but that's what this team needs if they are to make the next big step.

So there it is. The only way for this team to really take a step towards another Super Bowl title. Jerry's in charge, will he pick promotion or the playoffs?

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