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(PART 1 OF 2)
Massimo’s Inside Cowboys Report Blog
Dallas Cowboys | Barry Church, NFL Drafts Picks, Wade Phillips, Bill Parcells, Jason Garrett and more
By Massimo Russo – Featured Writer Silver and Blue Report & Hook’em Report
Starting free safety Barry Church has been hampered by injuries, but 2013 looks like he’ll finally get his chance to showcase his talents in a new defensive scheme.
It’s just about time to catch a glimpse of the 2013 Dallas Cowboys on the field. As the team prepares for the league’s annual preseason Hall of Fame game, the Miami Dolphins await for them this Sunday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. We get to see new faces, rookies, coaches and key players that missed a good deal of action due to injuries in 2012 on the sideline, on the field, lined up at receiver, in the backfield, on the offensive and defensive line, in the secondary, at linebacker, you name it, things look slightly different than last summer. But, does that difference look promising enough to give Cowboy Nation a positive outlook, or any reason to be optimistic in 2013?
Coming off of back to back 8-8 seasons and three straight seasons of missing the playoffs, these Dallas Cowboys need to take things a step further or crisis will take flight in various areas within the organization of a franchise that expects excellence. Lackluster finishes cannot be the ending result anymore. Tony Romo cannot afford to make costly mistakes with the season on the line. The coaching staff needs to be better when situational football stares them in the face. The fans want to see a disciplined football team, not a team that commits a slew of penalties, turns over the football, nor a defense that doesn’t create enough turnovers.
When Bill Parcells took over as head coach in 2003, the organization and fanbase had a positive outlook, for the simple fact of Parcells’ championship resume. And right off the bat, Parcells led the Cowboys to the playoffs in his first season as head coach. The Cowboys became a relevant team again, but never took things into the upper echelon standards of the league’s top-rated teams.
So…who’s left on the team from Parcells’ draft classes that standout? Jason Witten, a future hall of fame tight end. DeMarcus Ware, arguably the games best pass rusher and future hall of famer. Miles Austin, a productive receiver when healthy. Jay Ratliff, one of the better d-lineman in the game when healthy. And last but not least, the undrafted free agent Parcells brought along in 2003 Tony Romo, the league’s most scrutinized quarterback that has shown us flashes of a highly skilled player, but also a player that has made maddening mistakes in critical moments.
I think we forget about how lowly the Cowboys were from 2000 to 2002, going 5-11 for three consecutive seasons. When Parcells ran the draft, things started heading uphill.
2003: 10-6, made playoffs
2004: 6-10, the lone bad season with Parcells at the helm
2005: 9-7, missed playoffs, but won more games than lost
2006: 9-7, made playoffs
Not spectacular, but he left the next head coach with a team that had an abundance of talent with something to build on. The foundation and blueprint for a championship was in the works. And the next coach in line was Wade Phillips who inherited Parcells’ talented team and took the Cowboys to the postseason with 13-3 record, but lost in the divisional round to the New York Giants, the Cowboys nemesis that has captured the glory with two super bowl championships over the past 6 seasons. As head coach of the Cowboys, Phillips did lead the team to their first playoff win in 13 seasons in 09, but disaster struck down hard in 2010 as Phillips was fired after a 1-7 start and replaced by Jason Garrett who went 5-3 the rest of the way, making him the new head coach, a position Garrett still holds without a playoff appearance on his resume.
Who did Phillips’ draft classes leave Jason Garrett with that still remain with the team?
Anthony Spencer, Doug Free, Orlando Scandrick, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee and Sean Lissemore. Spencer is coming off his best season. Bryant seems to be turning the corner into becoming a top-flight receiver. Sean Lee is recognized as one of the better young linebackers in the game. And Doug Free’s play spiraled downward at tackle when he got his contract extension, only to later get it cut in half to save money in the teams cap pool.
Out all the players the Cowboys drafted when Phillips was at the helm, only two players have the potential to be standout players for years to come, Dez Bryant and Sean Lee. Not to mention 2008 1st round picks that aren’t part of the team anymore, Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins and 2nd round pick, tight end Martellus Bennett, who never became part of the offense as expected. Nobody from the Phillips regime 2009 draft class, one of the worst drafts the Cowboys had are on the team, nobody, ZERO. Bottom line, 1st round draft picks aren’t supposed to only last a few years.