Shoulda Known

Wade Phillips accepted blame for not vetoing the play call that led to Choice's costly fumble.

selling that story is reaching for something.  

The truth is, running the same play 64 yards from the end zone as they had planned from 54 constitutes questionable judgment on Garrett's part, and perhaps carelessness on that of Phillips for not overriding the O.C., which he does have the power to do. It's sort of a universal coaching give-up, at times when a penalty sets you back, to just go with the same play already called. This was not the time or the place for give-ups, and it cost the Cowboys the difference in the game.  

They nearly overcame themselves in the final two minutes, which superior talent often does. Tony Romo was throwing into the end zone when time expired, and, by the way, Roy Williams did happen to catch the shoulda-been-game-winning touchdown pass. Barron's patented clothesline block made that all irrelevant, however.  

Too bad the Cowboys' 12th and most costly penalty could have been prevented in any number of ways.  

Perhaps Barron, who had been struggling with Orakpo all night, shoulda been expressly told not to hold the guy on that particularly play.  

Perhaps Marion Barber shoulda been notified of Barron's struggles and directed to help him block Orakpo instead of slipping out into a pass route. 

Perhaps the team shoulda not taken such a laissez faire attitude toward the preseason. Barron's struggles against Cameron Wake of Miami in the exhibition finale were swept under the rug by Phillips, who explained he might not have been up for the occasion because his fellow starters didn't have to play.  

Perhaps the Cowboys shoulda hit on more than one of these seven offensive tackles they've drafted over the last decade. Doug Free's play doesn't make up for misses on guys like Jacob Rogers and James Marten, who might have eliminated the need to trade for a guy like Barron. 

And finally, perhaps the Barron deal shoulda never been done after all. The Cowboys were happy to get an experienced swing tackle in return for a guy they had seen about enough of in Bobby Carpenter, but maybe there was a better way to address depth on the line than by picking up the only guy in the league more apt to penalty flags than Flozell Adams. Incidentally, I thought Carpenter was at least serviceable in his nickel role last year. That job is currently filled by 34-year-old Keith Brooking, who appeared beaten all to hell from playing just about every snap Sunday night. On Monday he was wearing a heavy wrap and ice around the shoulder he injured in the offseason. 

So, on top of the mistakes by the players on the field, a few miscalculations off it had a part in this loss. Maybe these offseason gambles and coaching decisions pay off in the future. Who knows? This is just one game, and it was never the easy win a lot of folks made it out to be.  

Shoulda known the Redskins were going to be tough to beat.     

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