It’s a very loose term, sometimes overused. For the Dallas Cowboys, it’s the definition of the current team.
When Dak Prescott first took over at quarterback, we salivated. But at the end of the day, we knew he was back to the bench when Romo got healthy. Then he didn’t get benched.
I remember that day, I was ecstatic. The Cowboys organization was making a good move by riding the hot hand. The kid got a shot, he took it, and he was rewarded. What would come from that decision is a series of events that would completely change the Dallas Cowboys. A culture change.
April 4, 2017
Almost 13 months to the day ago, Tony Romo announces his retirement. 14 years in the organization, “The Guy”. He was gone. What was once an opportunity for Dak Prescott turned into his new job. The jokes of Romo’s clutch instincts wouldn’t be there anymore. He, instead, would be in the booth. He excelled, Dak Prescott did not.
There’s a difference in a guy who’s playing on borrowed time and who’s playing on his time. In 2016, Dak had to be good. In order to keep the job, he had to be almost perfect, and he was. In 2017, the roles were much different.
Cooper Rush was the next viable candidate to be quarterback, that doesn’t necessarily put you on high alert. Perhaps playing an even bigger role, Dak didn’t have a Tony Romo on the sidelines to mentor him.
The results? Dak threw for 3,000 less yards, had a nearly 5% decrease in completion percentage, and threw nine more interceptions (He had four in all of 2016). Culture change.
April 13, 2018
A little over a year later, the Cowboys lost another one. Well, they let him walk.
Like it or not, Dez Bryant was “The Guy” in the receiving corps. Without Dez, the best receivers on the team are as follows:
Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley.
That sounds intimidating, doesn’t it?
Allen Hurns had a monstrous 2015, but he’s failed to reach 500 receiving yards the last two years. Deonte Thompson is coming off the best year of his career, but one that isn’t a very good career. Terrence Williams is too worried about what people are saying about him on social media than trying to prove them wrong. Cole Beasley was nonexistent last year.
They picked up a lot of receivers in the draft and immediately after, but the front office didn’t get the memo that quantity does not equal quality.
Who knows where Dez will end up this year. The only certain is, for the first time in his eight-year career, it won’t be with the Cowboys.
May 3, 2018
Here we are. Perhaps the biggest shock of them all. Jason Witten made the call last Friday and made it official today. He is retiring.
This one stings. You can understand Tony Romo hanging them up, you can understand why the Cowboys would let Dez go, but this hurts.
Jason Witten, more than anyone else, wanted to bring another championship to Dallas. For him to leave like this, he knows the Cowboys are still years away.
Jason Witten wasn’t just the guy, he was the man, the organization, the mentor. Jason Witten was Dallas Cowboys football.
Jason Witten leaving the Cowboys is Yadier Molina leaving the Cardinals. It’s Russell Westbrook leaving the Thunder. He’s been around so long and left such a legacy that you didn’t think the day would come.
The starting tight end this season is the least of the Cowboys worries. Who’s going to step up? Who’s going to push everybody else? Who’s going to be your friend, but is still willing to beat your ass when you make a mistake?
These are the things the organization is going to miss.
If you told me Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten would no longer be with the Cowboys at the start of the 2016 season, I would’ve laughed. Now it’s reality
The young guns have to step up. Dak Prescott, Zeke, Jaylon Smith, Taco Charlton, Leighton Vander Esch, Connor Williams. It’s their time.
The Dallas Cowboys won’t look the same. The team’s culture is changing, and I don’t think I’m ready.