Last night the Dallas Cowboys faced off against their hated inter divisional foe, the Washington Redskins.
This was supposed to be the game where Dallas showed everyone that their offensive woes in the preseason was just the product of, well, the preseason and that their offensive line would pull it together even with two starting lineman in the infirmary.
Well, they didn’t prove anything or anyone wrong. Not only did the Cowboys choke on their own misfortunes, but they showed the National Football League the biggest and truest weakness of their team: The offensive line.
Way back when in training camp, offensive linemen Kyle Kosier and Marc Colombo injured their knees and made plenty of Cowboys fans place their hands firmly on the big red panic button. But team owner Jerry Jones said that there was no need for panic, Colombo would be back by the first week and Kosier’s injury was “minor” and the team would maybe seem in the last preseason game.
Fast forward to early Sunday morning and both men are listed as OUT on the Cowboy’s injury report. Starting in their places would be journeyman Alex Barron and a guy by the name of Montrae Holland.
With the Redskins newly installed defensive coordinator Jim Haslet and a nasty pass rush tandem in Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo, the Cowboys looked to be in for a long day of blitz’s and defensive stunts.
But no worries right? After all, Dallas has a potent offensive attack and just by adding Dez Bryant to the fold it gives quarterback Tony Romo an added weapon. Their passing game alone should hold the Redskins rush at bay right?
Wrong my good and loyal Cowboys fans.
The Dallas Cowboys started the game handicapped and they knew it. Jason Garrett was so untrusting of his patchwork of an offensive line that he often ran two tight end sets, called unbalanced line sets, quick hitch routes, and 88,000 thousand bubble screens to Bryant in the first half.
Ok—maybe it wasn’t THAT many, but you get the picture.
The Cowboys offense was erratic because of bad play by the line and we never truly got a sense of what the team is capable of because of a watered down playbook.
Barron played about as well as Colombo could have on a bad knee. Barron was everything Jim Haslet expected him to be.
Before the game Haslet told the NBC Sunday Night Football crew that he expects Barron to be whistled for a few false start and holding penalties, so he’ll be sure to rotate Orakpo and Carter to his side of the field.
103686678_crop_358x243 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Last thing we need to know about Barron is this: Since 2005 he’s been the most penalized offensive lineman in football and according to Peter King last night he was called for three holding penalties in the last 31 minutes of the football game.
I believe Barron was secretly working for the Redskins.
If this offensive is the one to carry Dallas back to their home field for the Super Bowl in February then it may be on the back of a flat bed truck because there is no way this team can make it that far with a patchwork line.
For the most part, the Cowboys played about as well as expected against the Redskins. Remember that 7-0 victory against the ‘Skins last season? This game is always tough to call.
I think we learned that Jones has to upgrade the line in the offseason for the Cowboys to have any shot at competing in the future and that Doug Free is up to the task of protecting Romo’s blind side. In fact Free was one of the few bright spots for an offensive line and team that was whistled for 91 penalty yards.
What is most discouraging about this loss for the Cowboys is that the same mistakes and errors that were made last year are being carbon copied to this year’s team. False starts, undisciplined play, unnecessary penalties, and mental errors have been a plague of the Wade Phillips era.
It’s just so easy to forget about those things in the offseason.
Join Jason and the Monday Night Quarterback crew TONIGHT at 8pm ET as they welcome former Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Wes Chandler to the Program. www.blogtalkradio.com/cowboyjay is the address to listen live OR to any previous episodes.
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