Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should take a page from Texas A&M University football, to never settle for mediocrity.

Because that’s what Cowboy fans were treated to this disappointing season and for another year coached by Jason Garrett.

After soaring to a 13-3 regular-season record last year to grab the NFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Dallas would go one-and-done, losing a heartbreaker to Green Bay in the divisional round.

But at least there were signs of hope, knowing the Cowboys had some up and coming superstars in Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott.

So much for high expectations.

Beginning with week No. 1, Dallas looked so-so in an ugly Sunday night win at home against New York.

Then there was the off and on question for weeks to follow, will Elliott be playing in the next game or not?

After falling to 2-3, the Cowboys put together a three-game win streak, including an impressive home win against Kansas City, to finish the first half at 5-3.

Three games later, though, Dallas was back below .500, dropping three consecutive stinkers without Elliott to Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Chargers, the latter ruining Turkey Day for Cowboy followers like me still believing.

Dallas would win its next three, but realistically it was a playoff setting down the stretch, the Cowboys needing to run the table to even have a chance of talking playoffs.

All that came to a halt, however, in week No. 16, Dallas losing to Seattle in Elliott’s much-anticipated return, 21-12.

So who is to blame for this year’s fiasco?

Even without Elliott in the lineup, the Cowboys still had plenty talent to at least extend their season into the playoffs as a wild card.

Unfortunately the defense let the team down throughout the year, especially several key players sidelined early because of their selfish interests off the field. Then, of course, Elliott having to eventually sit out six games.

But long before that, Dallas knew what it was getting into when it drafted Elliott.

Alfred Morris filled in well as Elliott’s understudy, but even then it took the Cowboys a while to figure out his worth as a backup. At the same time, some of the play-calling in key situations just did not make any sense.

Go back a couple of Sundays when Dallas barely got by Oakland. Remember the fourth-and-inches call that eventually went the Cowboys’ way with a you-can’t-be-serious index card ruling?

Who in their right mind would line up then with an empty backfield? At least make the Raiders guess what you have in mind before Prescott takes the snap.

Just one of many dumb decisions by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

And don’t forget his first-and-goal calls late in the Seattle game when Dallas was at the Seahawks’ 3-yard-line. Not once did Elliott touch the ball. Instead, the drive resulted in a Dan Bailey missed field goal from just 34 yards out.

So hopefully Jones at least will have the guts to bid Linehan farewell since he certainly won’t be doing so to his puppet Garrett.

Jerry, there’s a guy in the sportscasting booth right now that would man that position well, and he happens to conveniently live in Dallas, too.

Sure would be nice to see Tony Romo making the calls one more time.

Obviously not a Jimbo Fisher coaching move, but a darn good way to start the new year.

Manuel Moreno Jr.: mmjtenicon@aol.com.

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