FanDuel - WFBC

October 02, 2012

Dez Bryant Isn't Catching On in Dallas: Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant caught a career-high 105 yards against the Chicago Bears Monday night but had one of his worst games in three seasons as a pro. In the blowout loss, Bryant appeared to run the wrong route on one play, leading to an easy pick-6 interception. He also dropped several other passes, including a crucial 3rd-and-6 and a long bomb that sailed through his fingers. His post-game assessment of his performance: "Very, very, very, very, very, very average."

posted by rcade to football at 08:39 AM - 23 comments

That was not the game I was looking for. The Cowboys should consider another sport.

posted by rcade at 08:50 AM on October 02

Well they just opened a new Victoria's Secret store at the stadium amid great fanfare, so maybe what they're thinking is same sport, different league.

Step One in the 12 step recovery process ought to be: Jerry should not be allowed to have anything to do with the procurement or development of wideouts. He just gets too giddy about the position.

posted by beaverboard at 08:57 AM on October 02

Bryant was brutal, but Ogletree and Austin also freelanced on their routes. Add to the mix a QB who appears to have no connection with his receivers and it spells trouble (yes, that guy everyone had ahead of Cutler and Eli in the top NFL quarterbacks last year).

If Dallas simplifies their offence, gets the receivers to run disciplined routes, and their QB eats a few instead of tossing up bagels there is enough talent to carry the offense. Defense is another story ... no pressure on Culter and a secondary that can't cover in the schemes being employed.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:04 AM on October 02

Even Romo and the receivers at their best will be limited as long as they can't run behind that offensive line.

posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on October 02

*Even* Romo? When he throws two TDs to the other team and makes Jay Cutler look good, can you really claim that the problems are with a receiver and the offensive line? I'm not a Romo hater (well, no more than I'm a Cowboys hater, because I have a soul, after all), but he's not a top-level QB who's had some bad breaks anymore.

posted by Etrigan at 11:06 AM on October 02

You're reading too much into what I wrote. Romo was atrocious. But even if he and the receivers get their act together, I don't see an offensive line that gets Dallas anywhere.

posted by rcade at 11:45 AM on October 02

I'm not a Romo hater (well, no more than I'm a Cowboys hater, because I have a soul, after all), but he's not a top-level QB who's had some bad breaks anymore.

Kevin Kolb/John Skelton. Matt Schaub. Alex Smith. Christian Ponder. Jay Cutler. Teams 3-1 or better right now with very average quarterbacks. Most of the top-level guys right now are 2-2 or worse. It's early, sure, but there are many ways to skin a cat.

You can win a whole number of ways, but the Cowboys have a bunch of play-makers on D and O and just can't put it together. The line is definitely a problem, but a broader problem is a lack of cohesion. They don't play much like a team and you get guys like Austin and Bryant running glory-oriented deep routes on third down when what they need is enough yardage to grind out another first. Owner on down, I think that's cultural, but Romo is an above-average quarterback with tools and no good system to operate in.

Some of those passes last night were awful, but in the broader scope of work, he's a better QB than that most nights and not the problem.

posted by dfleming at 12:05 PM on October 02

When he throws two TDs to the other team

Let's not oversell it. Dez Bryant threw one to the other team.

posted by yerfatma at 01:11 PM on October 02

lack of cohesion ... don't play much like a team ... can't put it together ...

Cowboys have much more talent at key positions than most other teams in the NFL. They have had for several years. They can't attract decent coaches to mold the talent and fill the voids because Jerry Jones believes he is qualified to make football decisions. Dallas gets stuck with unempowered 2nd rate coaches .. not a recipie for success.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:27 PM on October 02

The Lance Briggs pick-6 should've been ruled a fumble. Romo wasn't attempting to pass. The ball was knocked out of his hands because he wasn't protecting it properly.

posted by rcade at 01:53 PM on October 02

Owner on down, I think that's cultural, but Romo is an above-average quarterback with tools and no good system to operate in.

Above average? Probably. But in any ranking system with more than two categories, he's not in the top one, and a case could be made a few years back that he was up there but just unlucky and/or badly coached. He's still great on paper, but aside from my fantasy team, he's way down on the list of who I'd like to have under center.

posted by Etrigan at 02:24 PM on October 02

He's still great on paper, but aside from my fantasy team, he's way down on the list of who I'd like to have under center.

So is Eli Manning in most people's books, yet he's got two rings. You can't underestimate the power of an above average, but not elite, quarterback in a system that fits them and surrounded by good players. Eli's had moments of greatness and moments of mediocrity, but the Giants as a whole play a team game Dallas has never really figured out.

posted by dfleming at 02:44 PM on October 02

dfleming, I disagree about Matt Schaub being an average quarterback. I don't know if he's top echelon "elite", but I think he's well above "average." Unless you mean that he's exceptional for eight games a year, and then hurt for eight, and it averages into mediocrity. Which would be completely fair.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:48 PM on October 02

As was mentioned above, the changes in Dallas need to start from the top, down. Jones needs to back off and leave football to actual football people (although I don't honestly see that ever happening).

Then they need coaching changes all around in order to achieve some on-field discipline. Those horribe routes the receivers run (Bryant's on that pick-6 was ridiculous), bad execution, lack of communication, are all results of lack of attention to details ineffective coaches produce.

That game last night was really, really bad and seems to be more and more common for the Cowboys.

posted by dyams at 03:57 PM on October 02

posted by phaedon at 04:35 PM on October 02

In the 2010 draft, New England Patriots were much criticized for trading down and allowing Dallas to select Bryant. Instead of Bryant, Patriots wound up with Devin McCourty, who had a good rookie season, a not-so-great sophomore year, and has had mixed results this season. His 2 INTs on Sunday will help restore some of his luster, but there are still gaps in his coverage. Still, I think that passing on Bryant was a pretty astute move. I would not go so far as to blame the Dallas performance last night entirely on Bryant. Romo seems incapable of reading the defense quickly enough to find his 2nd and 3rd options when the primary receiver is not open. If the offensive line cannot give him the extra time he needs, he will throw picks. Gruden insisted that Cowboys need a running game, but with their offensive line, they won't find one any time soon. Backs and receivers are "sizzle"; offensive linemen are the "steak".

posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on October 02

I don't know if he's top echelon "elite", but I think he's well above "average." Unless you mean that he's exceptional for eight games a year, and then hurt for eight, and it averages into mediocrity. Which would be completely fair.

I think Matt Schaub had one year as an almost elite quarterback, but Matt Schaub-quarterbacked teams (in part because he's been hurt a few times) have been largely underachieving teams and his overall stats are, well, nothing to write home about.

He's a low-mistake quarterback and a game manager and has learned how to win, but Houston's only joined the upper echelon of teams by tremendously improving their defence and running game to elite levels. Their passing attack has been pretty ordinary (especially when you consider 600 yards a year is to the best pass catching back in the league) and when you consider they've had one of the top receivers in the game for years now.

I don't think anyone fears Schaub as much as they fear Foster, Johnson and the defence.

posted by dfleming at 05:15 PM on October 02

I don't think anyone fears Schaub as much as they fear Foster, Johnson and the defence.

Maybe, but the Texans aren't really considered a Super Bowl threat without him. I honestly believe that the fact that he is made of glass leads people to underrate him when he is on the field. But I also believe that he hasn't been healthy enough for anyone to really judge just how good he can be.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:05 PM on October 02

I think Schaub has worked out a lot better than many of the other backups who changed teams and got a chance to start (like Flynn, Kolb, etc.). When he's in uniform, that is.

posted by beaverboard at 09:45 PM on October 02

I don't think anyone fears Schaub as much as they fear Foster, Johnson and the defence.

That bit the Broncos a couple weeks ago.

Matt Schaub is like speakers that sound great but start to rattle if the volume gets too high. He's in the perfect situation for him in Houston. If Romo were in the same position, he'd likely look quite a bit better so it's a tough comparison.

posted by tron7 at 10:41 AM on October 03

If Romo were in the same position, he'd likely look quite a bit better

I disagree with that statement. Romo has given no indication he'll ever become a reliable QB. He'll thrill one week beating a top rank team then stink the place out the next 2 against bottom dwellers by forcing bad passes in a close game. Reminds me of Brett Favre on a smaller scale: given the opportunity he's equally apt to make a brutal play as he is a good one.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:43 PM on October 03

I thought for a long time that Romo would elevate his game and become an elite quarterback. No mo.

posted by rcade at 01:20 PM on October 03

I disagree with that statement. Romo has given no indication he'll ever become a reliable QB.

When was the last time Romo had a reliable running game on par with the Texans?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:57 PM on October 03

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