Monday, December 31, 2012

Time to Clean House (A Chargers/Cowboys Lament)

An expression that I've sadly grown accustomed to.
So another season ends. The Chargers are home. The Cowboys got their hearts ripped out once again. 3 straight years that I haven't seen a playoff game involving one of my squads. Ironically it hasn't happened since I quit being a full-time newspaper guy.

Reality is I've been rooting for two teams that have been impossibly hard to be confident in. The Chargers went from an explosive offense to a team that can barely run the ball and watch Philip Rivers erode from great to average. The Cowboys? A total waste of talent and cursed by injuries and inconsistency.

Let's start with the Chargers shall we? I'm too angry about the Cowboys to even speak more on them.

San Diego hasn't been the same since the Jets and Shonn Greene ran over them on January 17, 2010 in the AFC playoffs. Greene and rookie Mark Sanchez not only stole the Chargers' soul, their play convinced LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie to abandon ship and head east to Rex Ryan's circus.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos leaves the field. A lot on his plate.
Since then? 2010 saw them have the No. 1 offense AND defense in the NFL and nothing to show for it. No playoffs. A terrible special teams doomed them often and I watched the team struggle to even find some semblance of a running game.

The last two years, I saw Philip Rivers decline, the offensive line get exposed as ineffective, injuries on injuries, our kicker - who I've called the biggest choker on the team - get hurt and cut, and a defense that just couldn't make enough plays. At the root of it all? Chargers management continued to show faith in Norv Turner who couldn't inspire grass to grow.

This mess stinks because the Spanos family had too much trust in Turner, who has been a failure at every stop he's been at. He's a great offensive coordinator but he's not a leader of men. He rode the wave of great talent in 2007 and 2008 to playoff wins but he couldn't develop them to continue despite having a prime Rivers, Antonio Gates, Darren Sproles to spell Tomlinson, a great defense. Did I mention he goes brain-dead in the 4th quarter of close games?

Case in point. The 1st Denver game this year (gave back a 24-0 lead), the loss to the Saints this year, losing in Kansas City in 2011, Starting 2-3 from 2007-2010. That all goes back to coaching, not talent.

We wasted prime years of great players because of piss-poor coaching and management. I'm not sorry to see that sorry excuse for a coach go. See ya Norv and I'd drive down to the Q to help you pack EXCEPT........

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. The bane of my life as a Cowboys fan.

EXCEPT for these dang Cowboys. Victims of the same problem. Poor management, mental confusion, terrible coaching and wasting prime years of great to average talent. And what's worse is that these problems stem from one man. Not Tony Romo. Not the guy who's been the best Cowboys QB since Troy Aikman and provided some of the worst sports heartbreak of my post-college life.

No, it's Jerry Jones. The owner/GM who is responsible for this culture of mediocrity and tarnishing the Star with his ego. But that's been his MO since Day 1. He's wanted to be the biggest star in Dallas and Cowboys Stadium is as much a monument to himself as the franchise.

He's gotten lucky discovering guys like Romo, Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray. But he's also found some duds and between 1997-2006, the Cowboys were fading from elite team status to joke because his terrible drafting and average coaching hires. Since he became the GM in 1994, he's failed to take care of the team to ensure that the 90's success would continue into the 00's.

1 playoff win since 1997. You know who's won more playoff games since? Carolina, Jacksonville, Arizona and Miami. Reminds me why Jimmy Johnson deserves mention as one of the greatest coaches of the last 30 years - he was the true architect of the Cowboys dynasty.

Jason Garrett doesn't deserve to be a head coach yet. His conservative playcalling has hurt this team and it's wasted the prime years of great offensive weapons. But he was an average quarterback who only had one glory moment on Thanksgiving in 1994. He's led Dallas to back-to-back 8-8 records and perhaps he's better off as a coordinator (sounds familiar to Norv Turner huh?)

As for Romo? I'm not gonna sit here and pretend he didn't have a great 2nd half of his season. He's not a money quarterback because somehow yet he hasn't been coached on handling pressure. How to settle down and do what got him there. Of his three INT's vs. Washington, the last 2 were terrible and were panic moves instead of a smart, patient quarterback.

He's got too much Brett Favre in him and yet he's still a better QB that folks give him credit for. But can you win a Super Bowl with him? No. He is what he is at this point and it's time to start thinking of Plan P.R. - post Romo.

Just like the Chargers, the Cowboys are suffering from poor management, terrible drafting and being stuck with an owner who can't get out of his own way. As mad as I am about being disappointed once again, I'm looking at Jerry Jones and thinking this is your fault. This is your mess. Much as I want to be mad at Romo, I'm madder at Jerry.

Either way, both of my teams need a massive housecleaning. The Chargers will be starting that on New Year's Eve firing Turner. What will the Cowboys do? Hopefully something because what they have now is an average team and wasting quality parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment