Another season ends in disappointment for the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite finishing the regular season at 12-5, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers at home during Super Wild Card Weekend.
Their 17 points during that game is a far cry from their regular-season average of over 31 per game.
The Cowboys tried to mount a comeback, but it was too late.
The Cowboys made a huge mistake in ignoring CeeDee Lamb vs 49ers 😬 pic.twitter.com/CvbPZ74NWi
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 19, 2022
The defeat extends their NFC Championship Game drought to 26 years.
With a season of high hopes coming down to a grinding halt, the five-time Super Bowl champions must make several changes to prevent a repeat of this meltdown.
While they will remain the standard of the NFC East for years, these changes will help them put up a better fight against the NFL’s elite teams.
3. The Defensive Line Needs Help
The Cowboys finished the regular season with 41 sacks, tied for 10th-most in the league.
Micah Parsons had the most sacks with 13, but he’s more of a linebacker than a defensive lineman.
The rookie filled in nicely for DeMarcus Lawrence, who played only seven games due to injury.
The Cowboys defensive line dared the refs to call them for holding all game on Sunday against the 49ers. Here are a few clips I found just watching Randy Gregory where he seemed to be prioritizing tackling a blocker over shedding them (only the last play drew a flag). pic.twitter.com/UO5OrGX66U
— Marc Delucchi (@maddelucchi) January 17, 2022
The Cowboys had zero sacks in the Wild Card game against San Francisco.
They failed to pressure Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed passes to six different receivers.
Last two snaps the #Cowboys defensive line were all up in Jimmy's personal space.
Make him uncomfortable and you'll get takeaways. I promise.
— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) January 16, 2022
It’s hard to expect a team to win if they can’t stop their opponent from scoring.
That said, the Cowboys must make their defensive line a priority, be it through free agency or the draft.
2. Upgrade The Offensive Line
The Cowboys have elite players on the offensive line.
However, the line committed several penalties throughout their game against the 49ers.
Mike McCarthy says Cowboys will take a look “fundamentally” at offensive line play this offseason. And a “longer look than normal” at pass protection.
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) January 19, 2022
Of the 14 penalties that the Cowboys had, eight were courtesy of the offense, and six were against the offensive line.
Connor Williams also had a holding, and a false start called against him.
Cowboys are going to need to fix this offensive line. It's broken.
And your quarterback needs to correct whatever was going on with him for most of the second half of the season.
— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) January 17, 2022
Those penalties resulted in 39 yards, and four of them occurred on third down to deprive the Cowboys of scoring opportunities.
The Cowboys’ offensive line has been solid all season, but they must remain disciplined, especially during the games that matter.
1. Elevate One Of Their Coordinators To Head Coach
What exactly does Mike McCarthy do for the Cowboys?
Yes, he gets the final say on plays, but the play calling falls to their coordinators.
Kellen Moore helped Dallas become of the NFL’s best offenses, while Dan Quinn helped the defense improve.
.@mspears96 says he'd promote Dan Quinn to head coach of the Cowboys before losing him 👀
"I wanna at least go with a guy that I saw [have] a marketable improvement, and Dan Quinn the only one on this staff that I saw that from." pic.twitter.com/B7o56uNStw
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 19, 2022
Therefore, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones must get rid of McCarthy and elevate Moore or Quinn as head coach.
McCarthy’s clock management blunders will cause further problems, and it’s right to address the concern sooner than later.
The Cowboys might take off even more without him.