Diner morning news: Too many problems in Big D

QUOTE: “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” -- Malcolm S. Forbes


Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports for the second consecutive week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked on his own show about (Wade) Phillips' job status.

"Under no circumstances would I make a change," Jones said. "We've got a chance to get a lot of things done and we've got a lot of football left to play and we've got some good people that not only can play it, but coach it."

Jerry never answered the essential question: What’s it going to take for Wade to keep his job beyond this year? Keeping him this season is no big deal since the team is not bad enough to fire him, but clearly -- at least in my mind -- it’s not talented enough to win a Super Bowl. On tape, the Chiefs game proved to me that the Cowboys have to make giant strides on both sides of the ball to compete at the highest level in the NFL. They have too many weaknesses that appear from time to time — in every game. Their lack of safety play, their lack of corners (including Terence Newman), their lack of receivers and their inconsistency at left tackle are all huge concerns that appear to be exploited in every game.

Patrick Crayton has gone down faster than any player I’ve seen in a very long time. He has no juice left in his legs, appears to have lost his quickness and doesn’t show any skills that make him tough to cover. He’s easily covered by any team’s fourth of fifth corner right now.

Maybe things will change after the bye week — but I doubt it. These are flaws that are hard to change during the season and are easily attacked by good opponents.

From Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: But Steven Jackson isn't happy about his start in 2009. "It's been a rough one in my opinion," Jackson said. "I've yet to reach the end zone. I have two fumbles on the year. ... So although I've been racking up yards, I've yet to lead this team to victory. And those kinds of mistakes that I've had in the last five games won't help."

It’s not going to get any better for Jackson, and the idea of being traded should be very appealing to him at this point in his career. He’s only 26 years old, prime time for a running back. The Rams are a work in progress -- in fact, a very long work in progress -- so by the time they’re ready to be good, Jackson will be too old. The Rams should be the ones pushing a trade as a part of their long-term rebuilding process. They should be proactive and explain to fans their plans to rebuild. Fans buy hope; talking about the right plan is the best way to sell hope. No one is going to buy the idea that the Rams are going to turn this around unless they’re shown a plan. The Rams cannot hide from their lack of talent, but they can show the fans how they’re going to turn around this mess.

"If you want to blame someone, look at the film. Look at the guys who are out there trying to play," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "We haven't been doing a great job. Bottom line, we haven't been doing a great job. I think the blame lies with us. I think we're the ones out there playing every day, practicing, trying to do the right thing, but I don't know if we've got the right personnel here to do it."

I don’t often agree with DeAngelo Hall as a player, but his words are dead on right. The mess in Washington isn’t one man’s fault – the entire organization is to blame. When I hear these kinds of comments, whether they’re from former players or current players, it’s clear that there’s a huge leadership void in the organization.

The Redskins remind me so much of the Oakland Raiders -- run by a very powerful owner with no leadership coming from the front office or the coach because the owner controls everything. They’ve become the Raiders of the east. Blame the coach for all the problems, then change the coach.

Matt Bowen was right with his assessment Thursday. There will be no progress in Washington until the owner hires quality NFL people and allows them to do their jobs.


Hey Michael: I just read your article Diner morning news: Teams that need a boost. Anyway, what do you think about the Steelers and the Dolphins, Limas Sweed for Matt Roth?

-- Tom from Montana.

I think everyone in the league knows that Sweed has been a major disappointment for the Steelers, even though they’ve given him every chance to be a player. His trade value is very low; in fact, I’d be very surprised if they could get even an “if” draft pick for him right now. The Dolphins need a wide receiver, but I think they would pass on Sweed. His lack of competitive fire wouldn’t fit in well in Miami.

Michael: You’ve stated in earlier posts that teams want to play well in September but it’s most important to improve as the season goes on. With that theory, how do you see the Denver Broncos improving as the season goes on? Their offense is efficient right now, but once the scheme becomes more familiar to the players, do you see a more explosive offense developing for the important December and January months?

-- Robbie

Yes, I do feel the Broncos will keep improving, but as they begin to play the better teams, they’ll be facing some with more talent and will lose. The Broncos are very well-coached and tailor their game plan to fit the team they’re playing. They do a great job making sure they focus on the essential items that relate to winning. The offense will never be overly explosive because they want to play smart and not take chances that result in turnovers. They’ll be productive, but I’m not sure they’ll be explosive.

Yo, who was more responsible for the Patriots offensive dominance in 2007?

-- Omar

Any time you have the brilliance that the Patriots had in 2007, there’s more than one person responsible. It took creative planning, great execution, great coaching and hard work. Today, the Patriots’ problems are not the result of a lack of design or coaching but a lack of execution. They just have not been making the plays they normally make, especially in the red zone.

Michael, I am a huge fan of your National Football Post column. Never miss it. I have a quick question and greatly appreciate any insight you can provide. Unfortunately, I am a long-time Buffalo Bills fan. Given the team's poor start and low probability of a miracle turnaround, it is likely that Dick Jauron will be let go after the season. I like Jauron as a person and wished he had worked out as a head coach, but it appears it is time for Ralph Wilson to clean house. In your opinion, who are the current best candidates to fill head coaching vacancies in 2010? Also, given that Wilson had a bad experience with Tom Donahue, I doubt he will bring in another GM.

-- Jon

I agree. Wilson has soured on the traditional GM concept that he once strongly believed in. He should go back to that role and have a football man running his team. He brought in Bill Polian years ago after having non-football people run his team in a similar set-up to what he has now. The GM should then help Wilson pick the right coach for the team. This doesn’t mean giving the GM full power, but they do need someone in the building who knows how to find a coach and can interview a coach. Otherwise, they’ll have problems like they have currently in Tampa.

The Bills need to get the right people running their team. Right now, the design of this team is really bad. Who could have actually s at in a meeting in Buffalo last winter or spring and thought the offensive line was going to be able to lead the team to the playoffs? The Bills need to ask some honest questions of themselves before they set out to solve all their problems.

Have a great weekend. I’m heading out to do the Browns-Steelers game this weekend for NFL Network. Also, be sure to check out Sunday at the Post.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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