Keeping himself busy

August is supposed to be a time of excitement and anticipation for the upcoming NFL season. But as Cowboy fans watch their beloved team stand pat for the second straight NFL off-season, the frustration, and, perhaps more disconcerting, the hopelessness is starting to set in. Here stands a 6-10 team that has subtracted at least four starters. I say “subtracted” instead of “replaced”, because the jury is still out on exactly who will step up and take over these positions. To be fair, all four subtractions were justifiable. Replacing Colombo with Smith at right tackle has to be considered an upgrade, even as Smith struggles at first to learn the NFL. Replacing Barber with oft-injured rookie DeMarco Murray is at worst a push, especially with Felix and Choice mixed in. The real problems lie in the fact that Holland is now the starting right guard, and Ogletree is now the third wide receiver. Currently starting at safety: Alan Ball(?), the man who helped the 2010 Cowboys set franchise records for defensive futility, and a group of guys who couldn’t beat out Gerald Sensabaugh last year. Do we really trust Kyle Kosier to stay healthy for an entire season? Is a 33 year old Andre Gurode going to be able to bounce back from his knee surgery in June and play well? What if Dez gets hurt again, as he has shown a propensity to do?

How could the Cowboys possibly be so dormant in an off season filled with free agents that could help the club? What was Jerry doing while other teams were plugging holes and improving their teams?

Cowboy fans know that Jones loves to make the big splash. This year, the only guy able to cannonball free agency was Nnamdi Asomugha, and by all accounts, Dallas was in on him until the end. Asomugha eventually signed with Philadelphia for 5 years at $60 million, a price that proved too steep for Jerry. Fine. This team has so many holes that using all available cap space on one corner was probably a foolish idea to begin with. The real problem is that Jones allowed Asomugha to hold the Cowboys hostage, while other teams were making savvy moves. By fixating on Nnamdi, Jones guaranteed that he would miss out on many other useful players, because he had to keep that money available just in case they could sign the former Raiders corner. Every free agent contract took money away from the Nnamdi offer, and Jones appeared fine with waiting to see what Asomugha would do before seriously considering signing anyone else.

Now, Nnamdi is an Eagle. Dawan Landry is a Jaguar. Michael Huff is a Raider. Jonathan Joseph is a Texan. Eric Weddle is a Charger. The Cowboys were left so far in the lurch that they had to panic and re-sign Marcus Spears to a big deal because they lost Stephen Bowen. This 6-10 team has done nothing but bring the same players back, promote back-ups, and put all their faith in a new defensive scheme brought by an admittedly creative football guy, though we’ve seen that his scheme cannot overcome a severe lack of talent (Cleveland, Oakland).

Maybe Jones simply does not have the finances to sign free agents right now because of that monstrosity sitting in the heart of Arlington. Maybe he just got caught fixating on the big name and missed out on several chances to better his team in areas of need. Maybe he truly believes that the Cowboys can compete for a Super Bowl with Holland, Gurode, and Kosier up front, Ogletree in the slot, Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears trying to stop the run, a 33 year old injury-prone Newman starting at corner, and Barry Church/Akwasi Owusu-Ansah starting at safety. Maybe Keith Brooking and Bradie James will discover that the Riverwalk in San Antonio is actually the fountain of youth. One of these things has to be true, right? Which one is most comforting to you?

The path that this team is currently on leads to 8-8 at best, which means Jones is wasting another year of Tony Romo’s prime. At this point, it appears Cowboys fans will be subjected to watching Philadelphia dominate the NFC East. It is only August, and the season already feels like it is slowly slipping away. It is time to stop defending Jerry Jones. He does not want to win at all cost. He is now officially closer to being Tom Hicks than he is to Mark Cuban or Nolan Ryan.

But hey, that video board is pretty cool, right?