FRISCO, Texas – OK, that's that.
Locker room is basically empty, save some of the rehab guys.
The practice fields, indoors and out, are empty, too.
Yep, the Cowboys' 2017 season has come to a screeching halt, and within three days of their 6-0 victory in Philadelphia on Sunday, the offseason has begun with everyone on the outside in a rush-hour hurry to fix everything that went wrong in a 9-7 season.
Yep, no one is happy when you miss the playoffs, and the Cowboys have done so for either the second time in three years or the second time in four years, depending on your level of frustration. Winning season, eh.
You know, my NFL Preview 2017 Sports Illustrated for some reason still was sitting on the living room coffee table, right there on top. So being the curious sort, wonder where *SI *picked the Cowboys.
Well, picked second in the NFC East, at 10-6. So, close, just one game off. The Giants were first at 10-6, too, so guess they were supposed to beat the Cowboys twice. Oops. Third were the Eagles at 8-8. Double oops. And fourth were the Redskins at 7-9. Right on the button.
Me, well, I was at 11-5, not as good as the 13-3 of 2016, but me failing to factor in the bumps in the road that were pointed out at the same time: Maybe no Ezekiel Elliott, three suspended players to start the season; and those young cornerbacks fighting through injuries.
So, let's take some season-ending Shots.
- For a plethora of reasons, the Cowboys passing game let them down in the second half of the season. Wow, finished 26th in passing offense. Not as bad as 27th in 2015 when Tony Romo only played four games, finishing just two. But have to go back to 2002 to find the next lowest ranking, 31st for the second consecutive season during their third consecutive 5-11 year.
- While Zeke missed six games during his suspension, get this: His 983 yards were fourth best in the NFC and 10th most in the NFL, just 57 shy of seventh. And his 54 points in 10 games tied him for seventh, just eight points shy of tying for fourth. So please do not minimize his importance.
- Now here is a guy who didn't have huge numbers, but Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett insists you can't imagine how much he's meant to the success of the defense: Tyrone Crawford. "Probably had his best season," Garrett says. OK, 38 tackles, four sacks but second on the team with 26 QB pressures. Not only that, he was versatile enough to play the weakside defensive end spot then move inside to rush on the nickel from the tackle position.
- Let's hear it for former Cowboys four-time Pro Bowler Everson Walls advancing to the final 15 in this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame field. It's about time for a guy who led the Cowboys five seasons in interceptions. Great hometown guy makes good story, growing up in the Hamilton Park neighborhood of suburban Richardson, Texas, playing nine seasons with the Cowboys and then two and a half more with the New York Giants, winning a Super Bowl that 1990 season with Bill Parcells.