One year after going 13-3, the Dallas Cowboys finished a disappointing 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Yes, Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games, but Brandon Tierney wants to know: Is there an expiration date on Jason Garrett? And if not, should there be?
“I don’t think there’s an expiration date,” Super Bowl champion DeMarcus Ware said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think there needs to be some more winning from the team. They had the 13-3 season and lost to the Green Bay Packers. After that, it was hard when you’re losing Zeke. I think they have to just keep all the pieces together. When they keep all the pieces together, you win football games. You can put it on the coach when you have everything, but when you have a lot of those missing pieces, it’s hard to coach and know what you have.”
But what are the Cowboys missing?
“To be honest with you, another big playmaker at wide receiver,” Ware said. “When they get the run game and the play-action going, you got to be able to go deep and score those points. That’s how they did so well in that 13-3 season. Their defense is playing well right now.”
Dez Bryant led the Cowboys in receiving this year, but his totals – 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns – were well below his 2012-14 totals, when he was a lock for 85+ catches, 1,300+ yards and 12+ touchdowns.
“I know he can make those big plays, but we haven’t seen it in about two years,” said Ware, who played for the Cowboys from 2005-13. “It’s been a lot of injuries and stuff and that could be the case. But you still have to have that guy. Dez, he’s so versatile. He can play in the slot, he can play outside – but now you got to bring that young buck in there (who can say), ‘I’m going to run the wheels off that free safety, open everything up and keep it going.’ Dez can be that guy that can be that leader and still make plays.”
Can he, though? When Tierney thinks about Dez Bryant, leader isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind.
“You got to be that,” Ware said. “If you want to be in this league, you have no choice. That’s just the way things are, especially when you get to that latter part of your career when you’re not putting up a lot of those points or making those big plays. What (other) intangibles are you bringing to the game?”
Ware, 35, also weighed in on his other former team, the Denver Broncos. Denver went 5-11 this season and is 10-18 over its last 28 games.
What happened to the team that won the Super Bowl in 2015 and started 4-0 in 2016?
“I think there’s a (different) mentality when you have Peyton coming to the game and I’m there and a couple of other things,” Ware said. “Then when you start losing and missing pieces – I wasn’t there, Peyton wasn’t there, then you lose T.J. (Ward). Those are sometimes big pieces that people don’t realize that you lose that can sort of hurt the team.”
There have also been injuries at quarterback, which has become a revolving door of ineffectiveness.
“There was so many injuries on offense,” Ware said. “And then on defense, every single time in the red zone a team is coming in trying to score points on them. After a while, you get a little tired of it.”