Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Focus On Health, 3rd Down Offense And Defense During Bye Week

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: DeMarcus Ware believes the best fix for the defense is health, the third-down offense is at the heart of bye week study, and the Cowboys completely re-evaluate where they stand defensively.

DeMarcus Ware: Best fix for Dallas Cowboys' defense is health - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Ware pins his hope on getting some defensive players back from injury:

"I mean when you have, what, five guys or six of the starters out, the best way to fix it is to get the guys back," Ware said. "Sometimes we have guys in there that sort of don’t know what they’re doing because it’s probably the first time they’ve been playing in a long time. When you have a team that doesn’t make mistakes and sort of expose you that with those guys that are in the game, that’s what [New Orleans] did. You’ve got to get the guys back that know what’s going on and during the bye week use that to make a big push."

Cowboys' third-down offense at heart of bye week study - ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys are ranked 30th in the league with a third-down efficiency of 32.8 percent, just ahead of the Cardinals and Jaguars. Bill Callahan says the Cowboys are "doing everything we can to remedy that and fix every aspect of our third-down plan."

"In the last few days we've done a lot of research on third down, we've broken it down into every category imaginable," offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "We've looked at protections. We've looked at formations. We've looked at any kind of tendency we've created. We've looked at every route we're using, utilizing. So, without going any further into that, we've looked at every aspect. And we've got to do a better job as coaches, players, we all have to do a better job and come up with a better plan to put guys in positions. That's really the crux of it, coming back and doing a better job versus the coverages that we're facing, whether it's third and 2 or 3, 2-6, 7-10 or 10-plus, all of those areas are areas we're trying to improve."

"Trying to improve the route concept, trying to improve the timing and the positioning of the receivers as well. We've really done a lot of work in the last 48 hours there."

WR coach Derek Dooley: I’ve enjoyed coaching Dez Bryant as much as any player I’ve ever coached - Jon Machota, DMN
Dooley understands that Dez Bryant's passion can sometimes be misunderstood from a distance, but that doesn't his appreciation for Bryant's passion.

"I’ve enjoyed coaching him as much as any player I’ve ever coached because I would love for every player to have that kind of passion for winning. That’s what it is. It’s not a passion to catch a certain number of balls. It’s a passion for winning and it’s a passion for his team. He really loves being part of a team and being together, so it’s been great."

Garrett on state of the team: ‘We’re in great position’ - Tom Orsborn, Evening-News
"Great" may not have been the best choice of adjective after the demoralizing loss to the Saints, but the Cowboys still share first place in the NFC East, and three more wins could give Dallas its first East title since 2009, writes Osborn.

"Yeah, we’re in a great position," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday. "We control our own destiny. Everything we want is in front of us. Has this been a perfect season up to this point? Absolutely not. We understand that….But it’s all in front of us and we’ve got to take advantage of it."

Kiffin Report: Attack of the 600 Yard Games - Bob Sturm
It sounds like the title to a very bad, straight-to-video movie, but it is depressingly accurate. Warning: contains a Dave Campo reference.

Monte Kiffin evaluates Cowboys defense - ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys are not in a very good place defensively, and they'll use the bye week not just to get healthier but also to re-evaluate where they stand defensively:

"You've got to look at yourself as coaches and stuff and I think you always want to win before the bye week," Kiffin said. "You always want to win no matter if you have a bye week or didn't have a bye week. We didn't win and we didn't play very well and we had a nice practice [Wednesday] and we sat down yesterday, Monday, Tuesday and re-evaluated the whole thing as a staff. We looked at some things and we critiqued some things and showed our players some things on how we can get better."

Practice report: Ware, Scandrick sit out; Austin, Holloman return - Star-Telegram
The Cowboys had only one practice scheduled for this week. DeMarcus Ware sat out and Orlando Scandrick was excused from practice, while Miles Austin and Devonte Holloman returned to practice.

Why Dallas Cowboys DE Kyle Wilber is practicing at linebacker - Rainer Sabin, DMN
Wilber played linebacker in his rookie season before moving to defensive end, but the move back to linebacker is only temporary, according to Kiffin.

"It’s not a permanent move," defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said of Wilber’s transition to linebacker. "We’re banged up right now and we’re short some guys."

Hatcher Admits This Season Could Be Last In Dallas - Jeff Sullivan, DallasCowboys.com
Jason Hatcher is not happy that the Cowboys have not yet approached him with a new contract offer, and accepts that he may have to move on.

"Yeah, I can understand the Cowboys not signing me to an extension before this season started," Hatcher said. "But at the same time, I know for a fact that I have outplayed my contract, and for those guys not to acknowledge it, it’s just one of those things I’m starting to lean on, starting to think about more and more. I’ve talked to my family about the worst-case scenario, playing somewhere else."

"I would love to retire here, that’s always been the dream, but it’s just one of those things. Every game that goes on, it’s kind of disrespectful. You start feeling a little disrespected."

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