This week's edition of What They're Saying is one ticked-off affair. Look, there's no shame in losing to the Redskins, I think it's becoming obvious that they're a very talented football team. I hate losing inside the division, especially at home, but with the talent-level in the NFC East so high, it's going to happen. The reason it's a ticked-off edition is because the Cowboys played stupid football, I don't know how else to explain it. So I'll try to explain it as I go along.
Let's start with the obvious. Did you check out the stat-line for our running game? Abysmal. The number of yards isn't the key piece of information; it's the number of times we ran the ball. How can a team with Marion Barber and Felix Jones end up just abandoning the run in a game where the score was never out-of-hand?
"The style of defense they were playing was forcing us to do some other things," Garrett said. "We have to execute better in those other areas to be able to get back to some of those things you want to do. You have to aggressively take what the defense gives you."
Uh, how about dictating to a defense what you want to do. We put together an offensive line of road-graders and we didn't use them at all. We have one of the premier power-runners in the game and we didn't let him establish himself at all. We've seen what can happen if we hammer a defense repeatedly, but we didn't see it on Sunday. Jason Garrett is a talented coordinator, let's not lose sight of the fact that our offense has been one of the most explosive in the league under his tutelage, but on this day he lost sight of what works for us. How is play-action passing, one of our signatures on offense, going to work if the defense has no respect for the run game?
"It wasn't hard to run the ball against them," guard Leonard Davis said. "We had a game plan based on the looks they were giving us, and that dictated we stick with the passing game."
Aargh, there's that dictating thing again. We dictate to defenses, not the other way around. If they're crowding the line of scrimmage, how about getting wide on them and forcing them to respect us horizontally. Or how about using a technique that is essentially a run, the screen pass? We have a speedster in the backfield that can change the way a defense plays, but we never saw him play.
"Sometimes the game takes you certain places," Garrett said. "We tried to get [Felix] in on certain things as the game progressed. Yeah, we'd like to get him more opportunities. He's that kind of player. But just as the game went, we weren't able to get him his chances."
You weren't able to get him his chances because you chose not to. As Keyshawn used to say - just give him the damn ball. Are we all of a sudden so scared of defenses that we are going to let them make the calls for us on offense?
"He has a specific role that he plays," head coach Wade Phillips said of Jones, whose only touches came on four kickoff returns, for a total of just 54 yards. "The plays that he works on, they aren't really come-from-behind plays. They are more normal-game situation plays. We will be more and more comfortable with him as he learns more."
Come-from-behind plays? It's not like we were behind by 21 points! Even though the Redskins outplayed us on the day, the score was relatively close throughout the game. The coaching staff really did a lousy job on Sunday. With the talent we have on the offensive side of the ball, we should be doing the dictating. These excuses are terrible. I've also heard that Tony Romo was changing the plays at the line based on the defensive alignment. Well, there's an easy way to solve that, call plays without audibles and tell him not to change the play. Run what is called, and I do mean "run."
Click the link below to keep reading becasue there is plenty more to pick apart from this game, including a certain receiver who needs to re-think his commentary.
The following quotes come from the STFU department. Our man T.O., who has been the model teammate over the last few years, dipped his toe in the selfish pond with his post-game comments.
"It's no secret, when I get the ball things move, we move," said Owens, who was held to just two catches for 17 yards in last Sunday night's victory over Green Bay. "If not, you see a stagnate in the offense."
Yeah, it was really stagnant up in Green Bay. More STFU comments:
"Most of the time, I was getting in my routes and coming out of them, the ball was already going in another direction," he said. "They were really congesting the middle, played a lot of bump and runs, safety over top."
I guess T.O. didn't notice that about 1/3 of the offensive plays we ran were directed at him. He might not have noticed that Shawn Springs was up in his grill for most of the night, either. Look, T.O. you're the man, we know that, but it's not like the Cowboys didn't try to get you the ball, in fact, they probably forced it to you when they shouldn't have. We lost the game, it's only one game, but the last thing we need now is a return to the old T.O. who was a selfish player. So my advice - STFU. It was one game and the ball came your way a disproportionate number of times.
"Everybody recognized that I wasn't really getting the ball in the first half," Owens said. "I'm pretty sure everybody watching the game recognized it, people in the stands recognized it. I think my team recognized it."
Actually, during the game we recognized that Romo was forcing the ball your way. Now here is the one statement where you are actually making sense.
"There were some opportunities there, and there were some opportunities there where they were holding and the refs just didn't call it," Owens said. "You can't blame the refs; we just didn't make the plays."
The refs didn't cost us that game, so I'm not even trying to blame then. But I did think that the Redskins got away with a lot of physical play in coverage that could have been called much tighter.
The offense and the coaching staff weren't the only culprits yesterday. Our defense played poor coverage and couldn't tackle worth a darn. The breakdowns in the secondary were mainly centered on one of our best players, Terence Newman. Santana Moss proved to Cowboy-Nation that he doesn't need Roy Williams on the field to torch our secondary. Anybody will do just fine.
"(Moss) made some big plays today," Newman said. "He had one on me that I wasn't very smart on. Coach had went over the play in meetings, they ran the double-move; that was my fault. It was just something where I saw the opportunity to try and make a play, and I tried to take it and it didn't pay off."
It paid off alright, just not for us. It wasn't the only play that paid-off for them either. Newman is doing a little damage control on the James Thrash TD.
"I was trying to make a play scrambling and it happened to be a touchdown," Newman said. "That was a play that our offense ran the same play in mini-camp, in training camp, Pat (Watkins has) never seen it, but me and Roy (Williams) know to switch it, me and Ken (Hamlin) know to switch it, so I'm trying to get his attention and he's focused in on his guy. So I'm a sitting duck basically, you can't guard that play unless you switch it."
You may be right, I don't know. But it's hard to hear that kind of thing when there were plenty of other plays where the Dallas secondary couldn't handle Moss. Whether it was the coaching, the scheme, the players or that Jupiter wasn't aligned with Venus, they took advantage again and again of our secondary. And yes, T-New, your game wasn't up to snuff, yesterday.
"I was frustrated early in the game," Newman said. "The first half was basically a terrible half for me. The second half didn't have much come my way, so it's just one of those things where I just couldn't get anything going."
Well, at least you can admit it. I'll give you some credit for that.
As for the rest of the defense, you stunk, too. The missed tackles finally caught up to us as Clinton Portis steamrolled us, especially in the second half. That's something we usually do with Marion Barber and it was hard to watch it being done on us.
But there was a moment when we stopped them and might have gotten the ball back with time to win the game. Then a cruel joke was played on us all. We gave it back to them with a stupid penalty. Pat Watkins at least had the courage to take the blame for 12 men on the field.
"Apparently it changed; it was on me," Watkins said. "I should have been looking at the sideline. The personnel got switched and I was still in there."
"I can't understand how two players playing the position could be standing out there," Phillips said. "I can't fathom that. They were standing right next to each other."
Well, I can't fathom how we only ran the ball 11 times, didn't let Felix Jones touch the ball, and about 20 other things during the game. The players didn't play well, but our coaching staff was even worse.
"Somebody comes in and we just tell everybody and everybody is supposed to echo it along," [Campo] said. "Didn't get it done. That's our fault, that's not the player's fault. That's our fault, so I'll take that one."
You can take it Campo. And we can sit here and blame Jason Garrett for poor play-calling, we can blame Brian Stewart for not having the defense ready to stop Moss and Portis, we can blame a lot of people. But when it comes down to blaming the coaches, the buck stops with the man in charge. Wade Phillips is the guy who can override any decisions being made in the game and he never did. Wade, this one is on you, too.
"I thought they outplayed our offense, they outplayed our defense, they outplayed our special teams and our coaching. All of it. Take your pick."
I pick them all, and it's your responsibility to not let that happen.