Following the old-fashioned butt-whoopin' that the New Orleans Saints gave the team on Sunday night, there have been calls from Cowboys fans for some heads to roll. Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan, and Monte Kiffin have all been the subject of the fans wrath, and deservedly so. With the Cowboys now entering the bye week, if team owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen, the team's Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, wanted to make a mid-season change of direction, mainly among the coordinators, now would be the likely time for them to do just that. The man taking over the reigns would have two full weeks to focus on making his initial adjustments to the Cowboys rudder. In fact, one member of the media has gone so far to speculate that at least one change was imminent.
Would not be surprised if Monte Kiffin steps down in the next 48 hours, allowing Rod Marinelli to step in and start the transition to 2014.— Jeff Sullivan (@SullyBaldHead) November 11, 2013
While Kiffin may still choose to step aside, it now appears that is not what the team would like to have happen. In fact, the owner has stated publicly that at this point he does not envision any mid-course changes in the coaching staff.
"Say it any way you want to, I'm not even going to address -- really I'm not -- the coaching staff as to whether they're safe or they're not. We're 5-5. We're tied for the lead in our division. We've got players coming back. We've got one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. We're off of a rough loss. That doesn't call for major changes out here at all." - Jerry Jones
While Jerry was emphatic that he did not intend to make any changes now, it should be noted that the owner of the Cowboys did decline to address the fate of his coaches beyond the end of the season. In spite of what many fans may choose to believe, Jones is not blind to the issues his team is facing. One key issue that he sees is the fact that the team needs to focus on a topic that I referenced Monday. They must get their biggest threat, wide receiver Dez Bryant, more involved in the offense. Jones stressed that the coaches need to find ways for the star receiver to impact the game in spite of facing constant double teams like he saw from the Saints.
"We need to get him the ball more. I think that's the kind of thing that's a reasonable thing that you can adjust over a two-week period that we're going into with our bye week. How do we work to get him the ball more?" - Jerry Jones on Dez Bryant
Although the change in play-callers has yet to produce the desired results, Jones feels that they bye week will give the offensive brain-trust an opportunity to improve in a tangible manner. He also knows that the team's troubles go much deeper than just the offense's lackluster performance. Jerry also threw down the gauntlet for the defense.
"You need to probably man up more in the secondary than we've been doing, rather than relying on zone. "Because if we can't get pressure and we're relying on the traditional zone as you might mentally picture it, then that's a recipe for what happened to us the other night."
The Cowboys have several defensive players who are expected to make their return following the bye week and Jones expects them to have an impact. Among the returnees will be Jason Hatcher, whose absence severely limited the team's ability to pressure the passer on Sunday, and starting safety J.J. Wilcox. Unfortunately the team will still be missing its defensive leader Sean Lee for at least a couple games, but he should be back for the closing month of the season. Jones, however, remains optimistic that the defense can straighten itself out in the near future.
For now, the boss is willing to allow the team, and more specifically the coaching staff, to continue to follow the process that they have set in place. Although he made it clear that being a 5-5 team at this point in the season is not an acceptable mark, he still sees the potential for the current staff to rectify the situation. Losses like the ones to the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, two of the best teams in the league, could have gone either way, and Dallas could have reasonably emerged as the victor in four of the five losses this season. Only the Saints game was a blow-out. As far as he is concerned, the time has not yet come for him to take drastic action. For now, Jerry is treating the "Sunday Night Beatdown" as an anomaly.
"So you look back on those and I don't think you look at what happened to us in New Orleans the other night and become panicky."
On the other hand, we are all familiar with how Jerry operates, and if he feels the need to take action, well, anything could still happen. We heard some similar statements from Jones up to the humiliating night in Green Bay that led to the dismissal of Wade Phillips. Unless things change for the better, history could repeat itself in Dallas.