FIRSCO, Texas – That time of year, with the Cowboys already "gone fishing," we sit back to watch the rest of the playoffs. That is, if you can stomach watching all these games.
So from the first round of the postseason this past weekend, here is what stood out to me as of utmost importance if you are going to win in the playoffs.
First, better score. With the exception of the Jags beatings the Bills, the other three first-round winners scored at least 22 points, with the Saints and Falcons a high of 31 and 26, respectively.
Next, you had better protect your quarterback, which the Cowboys found out the second half of the season is quite determining of your fate if you don't. However you want to look at it, the four losing quarterbacks were sacked a combined 13 times.
The Cowboys ended up playing five games against teams qualifying for the playoffs, going 2-3, beating Kansas City and the Eagles, who punted that final game with nothing to gain, and, of course, losing to the Eagles, Rams and Falcons.
Here are a few more season-ending Mick Shot tidbits.
- Picking 19th: The Cowboys will have the 19th pick in the draft. Strange deal, the only time they've drafted 19th in their previous 57 drafts took place in 1965, when this was just a 14-team league. The 19th pick was the fifth pick in the second round, the Cowboys taking Rice center Malcolm Walker, who had four seasons with the Cowboys. He missed his rookie season after suffering a knee injury practicing in what was then the College All-Star game, placed on IR. He actually ended up the starting center in 1968 and 1969 before getting traded.
- But 18 & 20: Close to 19th, the Cowboys have drafted 18th four times: QB Sonny Gibbs in 1962, second round; LB Thomas Henderson in 1975, first round; WR Mike Sherrard in 1986, first round; and LB Bobby Carpenter in 2006, first round. Now, they've actually picked 20th just once, DE Ebenezer Ekuban in 1999, first round.
- Coaching Carousel: Here is exactly why you take a deep breath when replacing assistant coaches: You never know just who might come available during these first few weeks of January, and why the Cowboys are doing their due diligence before replacing assistants. Mike Shula is now available, the Panthers firing him as their offensive coordinator. Shula has experience coaching quarterbacks and also has served as an offensive assistant, along with being a head coach at Alabama. In addition, the son of former Cowboys OC Ernie Zampese, Ken Zampese, who was fired by the Bengals as their OC two games into the season, has coached wide receivers, quarterbacks and obviously been an offensive coordinator.
- Interviewing: Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown is interviewing for a similar position with new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who already has hired Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. Just know the Cowboys *do *want to sign him to an extension, I'm told. Always good to have options.
- Repair Time: You can add backup offensive lineman Joe Looney to the list of guys undergoing postseason surgeries, having his wrist repaired. Looney is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Also in for repairs have been Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin (minor elbow cleanup) and defensive tackle Maliek Collins, fifth metatarsal, which he managed to play through over the latter part of season. All are expected to be ready for offseason workouts. Stay tuned, probably several more minor surgeries upcoming.