Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Are What Their Record Is: Mediocre

Mickey Spagnola, reflecting on the Cowboys coming out flat at home against the Eagles and throwing away a chance to lock up the divisional title,

Good gosh, it’s beginning to look a lot like 2003.


So is this it? Is this who the Cowboys are in 2006? A team capable of beating only one team (Indianapolis) – for sure – that will finish with a winning record this season? (Tennessee at 8-7 has a chance.)

Is this who the Cowboys are? A team incapable of winning the big one, seeing that you would have to consider this game, the Saints game and those early-season games with the Eagles and Giants big games?

Bill Parcells said when he arrived, “You are what your record is.” If that’s the case, this is a pretty mediocre team.

10-6 and out in the first round of the playoffs in 2003. 6-10 in 2004. 9-7 in 2005 and missing the playoffs in both campaigns.

Now, 9-6 and 1-2 in the last two games. So, at best, this team is as good as 2003′s and maybe it’s no better than last year’s. And that’s after four years of picking his own groceries. I’d call that failure.

The team has the tools to beat any team in the league but they have not so far been able to string together many good performances. They could still win the NFC East with some help from the Falcons and still control their own destiny, since they’re guaranteed at least a wild card berth. Realistically, though, it’s hard to imagine them beating four good teams in a row to win a championship.

The play calling on offense has been simply awful and, despite spending virtually all their draft picks and free agency money on defense, that unit has been in steady decline. And this is a team with the #1 statistical defense in the league when Parcells got to town.

Four years is more than enough time to turn a team around. John Fox did it in Carolina in two, arguably with less to work with. Sean Payton–Parcells’ offensive coordinator his first three years in Dallas–has done it in one with the Saints. Still, I wouldn’t fire him just yet. It’s just too hard to start over, since new coaches tend to want to build a team around their vision, meaning that many of the draft picks in recent years no longer fit. Still, Parcells has failed to live up to his future Hall of Famer legend.

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