I have been asked to do the impossible, to defend Dallas Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins for his sheer cowardice in not attempting to tackle Derrick Ward. However, as a maverick, I shall pull the Palin defense and completely dodge the question by talking about something else.
There is absolutely nothing to say about the Jenkins non-tackle. Heâ€™s a professional, a grown man, and he should act like it. I am more concerned with the overall picture and a bigger question. What happened to the Dallas Cowboys this season?
It is clear that there is a major problem with the team. Some point to the injuries that have decimated the team. The offense is a shambles without quarterback Tony Romo and rookie sensation Felix Jones to boost the running game, among a host of other injuries on both sides of the ball. Yet the injury excuse does not truly explain the disaster that is the Dallas Cowboys season.
Even before the injuries, the Cowboys were not playing well. The loss to the Washington Redskins was something that did not have to happen. The game against the Arizona Cardinals did not need to end as it did. Even the win against Chad Ocho-Cinco Johnson and the Cincinnati Bengals was relatively weak.
Watching the disgraceful, abysmal performance against the Giants, I realized something. The Cowboys are not really even trying.
Anyone who watched HBOâ€™s Hard Knocks knows that owner Jerry Jones and the entire Dallas Cowboys franchise were expecting to win the Super Bowl this year. Not win a playoff game, something they failed to do last year, but win the Super Bowl. After last years 13â€“3 season which ended with a loss in the playoffs to the New York Football Giants, this team is expecting to win a championship?
The swagger of the team at the beginning of the season was completely ridiculous and embarrassing. This team has achieved very little in recent years. A 13-3 season, while an impressive record, means nothing if you cannot win a single playoff game, and yet the Cowboys have walked around with a sense of entitlement.
Who can forget the image of Terrell Owens running shirtless on a beach? What has Terrell Owens done this season? The man touted as one of the leagues top wide receivers continually whines about being double covered. When the Cowboys alleviate this situation by trading for Roy Williams, a former Longhorn great, what is the result? Against the New York Giants, Terrell Owens gets the ball stripped in the red zone. Yes the game was tough and Grandpa Brad Johnson was not doing the Cowboys any favors, but Owens had made the catch, he just didnâ€™t hold on to the ball.
Owens is not the only slacker. Tank Johnson did nothing against the Giants except get called for offside penalties. The quarterback play proved why every team in this league needs a quality back up. The amount of penalties accumulated by the Cowboys this season is nothing short of embarrassing.
Yet, in spite of all the frustration felt a number of fans of Americaâ€™s Team, including myself, there is a silver lining. In the week leading up to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, several Cowboys players on the defense began to call the team out. The level of intensity was raised and the defense led the Cowboys to a win over a Bucs team that easily could have won the game.
This leads me to hope beyond hope that the Cowboys recent performance will be ashamed of their recent play. Yes, the players have faced adversity beyond itâ€™s control with injuries and an owner and local media who set expectations way too high, but that is no excuse for those players still on the field. It is time for the leadership on this team to step up. It is time for the players to perform.
The upcoming bye week will allow the Dallas Cowboys to take a long, hard look inside. With the return of Tony Romo, Felix Jones, and several other players, the team no longer has to worry about injuries. The Super Bowl seems now to be an impossibility, but while anything can still happen, the Cowboys need to look to the more immediate future. It is time for the players to start taking pride in what they do. No more whining, no more taking plays off, and no more mental mistakes. It is time to â€œman up,â€ get some courage, and get after some people. This team has some talent, but talent is wasted if there is no heart.
As for Mike Jenkins, he messed up big time, but a real man learns from his mistakes and shortcomings to make himself a better man. I am interested to see what Mike Jenkins learns between now and the next game.