And as a result, the entire Dallas Metroplex has refused to move on towards Sunday's game at San Francisco, continuing to dwell on the details and misery accompanying Monday night's four-minute meltdown.
It was a truly unfortunate loss, but one that highlighted several key areas of concern to watch for in the weeks ahead.
To utilize Joe Gibbs' terminology, let's look at the lug nuts which need tightening.
During the post-game press conference, Bill Parcells publicly stated, after the first of two Santana Moss touchdowns, "I thought we could be in a little trouble here."
Hoist the red flag. Moving forward, this is most concerning. What was to fret? Why the doom and gloom thoughts? The Cowboys had complete command of this game, and after one score, it was no time to panic. To the contrary, it was time to rally the troops, reassure personnel and fortify the battle front.
If the "we're in trouble" stance was adopted by the Cowboys' sideline and respective huddles, no wonder there was a complete collapse. The coaching staff needs to be instilling and maintaining confidence and focus. Bill Parcells, coach of the Cowboys or captain of the Titanic?
How could the Cowboys not feed off the 65,000+ fan instituted frenzy on display in Texas Stadium? It was hot, humid, hostile and hysterical. Texas Stadium may never have been louder or more home team assisting in the history of the structure. What it did was lead to an Anthony Henry and Keith Davis jig and hand exchange worthy of Soul Train status. Too comfortable in the digs when it should have been leveraged into a Redskins flogging. Insert "wasted opportunity" here. The home town venue will never be as "ripe" again.
Thank goodness for youth, and mature youth at that. Parcells is on record as saying "mistakes will be made. They're rookies. It's inevitable."
Well, guess who's making all the critical and costly mistakes? Veterans with Pro Bowl skins on the wall. The very ones you count on to come up big in pressure situations. The rookies possess the poise and confidence found in grizzled vets, yet it's the Parcells-tested ranch hands committing the Pop Warner miscues. At least the future has luminous implications.
Parcells' style does not lend itself to stepping on an opponent's throat when time and situations warrant. Why let up on the throttle? If the checkered flag is sought, do you back off the accelerator? This team is too concerned about making mistakes. No risk, no reward. This is the NFL where letting an opponent hang around can be both costly and deadly. Never pass on the chance to bury the opposition. Make it hurt and linger in the opponent's mind, especially one of a divisional foe.
Whatever happened to going up top immediately following a critical and crucial turnover? It all goes back to throwing salt in an open wound. Make an opponent pay. A Terence Newman pick should be immediately followed by a Terry Glenn "go" route or fly pattern. Send a message. Playing to "protect" a lead is a crime of the highest order. Let's not be thrown in the jail of mediocrity for blatant conservatism.
Why run the ball and play for three when the first quarter revealed four wides? If you have weapons, utilize them.
Nothing against Tyson Thompson, but put your best players on the field when all the chips are in the pot and the game is on the line. Peerless Price was brought in, to what, administer Pledge to the pine? A two million dollar dust rag. A funny thing about speed, when applied, it sometimes works, right Santana Moss? It's the shiny new car that never sees the street. Great resale value; terrible performance.
And finally, the last time checked, it's still a kids' game. Don't they still teach fundamentals and basics in Pop Warner? What is the golden rule when defending the pass on fourth down and forever? Interception for the glory and highlight reels or batting the ball down for both good measure and field position? And what is the long-standing rule while defending the pass, with a lead and time winding down? Did they outlaw "no one gets deep" and "never let anyone behind you?" Is there something wrong with taking a deeper drop providing "prevent" coverage? None of this is revolutionary. Stick to the basics.
Again, just a brief look back in an attempt to pave the road ahead.
One game warts or a sign of things to come? Each deficiency needs addressing, and watchful eyes need to be riveted for potential repetition. These are potential trends needing immediate curtailment. Winning in the Bay is paramount, and Chicken Little needs to be kept in his coup.
Contrary to Metroplex belief, the sky is not falling ... at least not yet.
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