Say It Ainâ€™t So, Joe
12 penalties. 4 fumbles. 2 special teams touchdowns. 1 missed field goal. Zero emotion.
Did I mention the special teams?
I donâ€™t have enough hands with enough fingers to point out all the blame in Cardinals 30, Cowboys 24. So let me attack just the most glaring deficiency. Everything else aside, the Cowboys â€“ like every other team in the history of the NFL â€“ arenâ€™t good enough to overcome two special teams touchdowns.
Good enough? Who am I kidding? At this point the Cowboys are merely mediocre.
Sundayâ€™s debacle in the desert had bookend gaffes by special teamsâ€™ coach Bruce Readâ€™s crew. A 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to commence the proceedings. And a 3-yard return of a blocked punt for a touchdown in overtime. Neither return man J.J. Arrington nor punt-blocker Sean Morey were touched by a single Cowboy.
Itâ€™s the first time in NFL history, by the way, that a game ended in overtime with a blocked punt for a score. But, hey, at least we get to see the Jonas Brothers on Thanksgiving!
In a game in which we all forgot about Pacman Jonesâ€™ indiscretions and the only thing as atrocious as Tony Romoâ€™s ball security was the Cowboysâ€™ morose body language, the microscope was fixed on Bruce Almighty. Despite Fox training its cameras on Dave Campo after each and every kicking-game eff-up, the special teams belong â€“ at least for now â€“ to Read.
His units are simply horrible. Have been all season, in fact. Pacman Jones canâ€™t return a punt more than 10 yards, opponentsâ€™ kickoff returns are alarmingly plentiful and, the capper, backup tight end Tony Curtis inexplicably allowed Morey to go inside of him untouched en route to smothering Mat McBriarâ€™s punt.
I hear a lot of calls for Readâ€™s head. Do you guys really think Joe Avezzano is the answer?
Avezzano hasn't openly campaigned for the job, but has repeatedly said he'd pick up the phone if Jerry Jones called. Last night on his guest gig on Dale Hansen's Sports Special, he said it was "unexplainable" that the Cowboys allowed a punt to be blocked with the game on the line.
"The kicking game," Avezzano said, "is bad."
Wade Phillips claimed his team doubled its practice time on special teams last week to shore up problem areas.
Joked Avezzano, "Maybe they need to triple it." â€“ Richie Whitt