It was, to put it mildly, a rather bad performance for the Dallas Cowboys against the Chicago Bears, and the defense, which did not force a single punt or turnover, has taken the brunt of the criticism. That means a lot of heat has been coming down on defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. On Tuesday, Jerry Jones stated "There's nobody I'd rather have than him." Wednesday, head coach Jason Garrett joined in supporting his defensive coordinator. And he did a lot of supporting
"Absolutely," Garrett said when asked about the confidence level in Kiffin. "Well, we just have to go back to work. We have to look at what happened in the ballgame. There were some technical things. There were some scheme things. We just have to make the necessary corrections."
"Necessary corrections" seems a bit mild to describe what needs to be done, but does fit the basic requirements of Garrettspeak.
Garrett points to the fact that the defense has bounced back from some significant butt-whippings already this season.
"I think at different times we've responded well to these kinds of games, and that's happened over the course of this season, where teams have had a lot of yards, they've scored a lot of points, and we've gotten back to work and made adjustments that we think would help our football team, and we've played better," Garrett said. "So we've simply got to do that again."
Bob Sturm takes a look at the bigger picture of how this problem has been building for a long time. He makes the argument that fixing it is going to require something besides churning the coaching staff again.
It simply means that to turn all of our angst to Monte Kiffin is to forget about 2010, 2011, and 2012 and to fall for the shell game of Cowboys football. Each year, they promise to serve you up a new victim to get mad at and therefore we can continue to address the symptoms but never the disease.
Kiffin this year. Rob Ryan last year. Rob Ryan's scheme the year before. But never the actual issues which continue to be paying for wasteful drafts, horrible "all your eggs in 1 basket" trade ideas (I am looking at you, Roy Williams, and you, Morris Claiborne) and salary cap mismanagement that leaves this team with a 1-deep depth chart and roster when the powers in the league seem to have a 2-deep.
It's a long read that covers a lot of the issues - but well worth your time.
How Dallas Can Hit The Reset Button
If you want to know how the Cowboys can blow it all up and put it back together again over the next few seasons, we have got it covered.
If the Cowboys take things into their own hands and put together the first three game winning streak of the season, everything else becomes moot. And the head coach gets it - but as always, reminds us (wait for it) that it's a process.
"There's no question we understand where we are and what the task is at hand," coach Jason Garrett said. "But really the task is the only way you win out is you win one ballgame first. So we're focused on playing our best football against Green Bay."
Winning that next game may be a lot easier - if the Cowboys don't help Matt Flynn (who, after all, holds the Packers' franchise record for touchdown passes in a single game) have a Josh McCown-style game.
While no determination has been made on Rodgers' status, a source told ESPN the Packers doubt that the quarterback -- who revealed Tuesday he suffered pain in his injured left collarbone while making simple movements on the practice field last week -- will be cleared to play.
A scan performed last week showed Rodgers' collarbone had not fully healed. He still must be medically cleared for game contact.
The always perceptive Bryan Broaddus takes a look at the Green Bay offense, including just how much difference it will make if Rodgers is unable to play against the Cowboys.
In studying Flynn's tapes these last two week it is very clear of one thing, you need to stack the box against him to handle the running of Eddie Lacy and make him beat you throwing the ball. Flynn tends to hold the ball and will get jittery in the pocket even when things are not breaking down. When the play is designed to get it out, he can do that whether that means throwing the out or flat pass to Andrew Quarless, Jordy Nelson, James Jones or Jarrett Boykin. With Flynn, I do not see much arm strength and is limited in making all those throws that you would have seen from a player like Rodgers. There is a calmness to Rodgers game, a willingness to sit in there and deliver the ball. I do not see that with Flynn. I understand that you can say this every week and we tend to but Monte Kiffin must figure out a way to attack the pocket with this guy and knock him around.
And Green Bay is not the only team coming up with some major issues at quarterback. In the midst of what looks to be a real breakdown in the relationship between Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and owner Dan Snyder, Robert Griffin III has not only been benched in favor of Kirk Cousins, he is not even expected to be active this week.
Jeff Darlington of NFL Network reports that it will be Rex Grossman -- not Griffin -- backing up Cousins and that RG3 will be inactive for Washington when they head to Atlanta on Sunday.
The move away from Bob3 in Washington should work to Dallas' advantage. Right?
Monday was a disaster against Chicago Bears backup Josh McCown. He was making his fourth start (and third in a row) for an injured Jay Cutler and lit up the Cowboys for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
So maybe seeing Cousins in two weeks might not be such a great thing after all.
Maybe the things are contagious? The team is trying to figure it out, but not making much progress, as Dwayne Harris and Bruce Carter have become the tenth and eleventh Cowboys to go down with the dreaded hammy pull.
"We've had too many of them, there's no question about that," Garrett said. "They happen all around the league, I get that, but we've got to keep doing our part in our evaluations to how we can eliminate them as best we can."
Those evaluations haven't turned up any conclusive problems, though Garrett said the Cowboys need to keep an eye on the amount of running players do during the week. He also said players need to monitor their own habits and make sure they're preparing properly during games.
It was uncertain just how soon the recently signed fullback would see any significant work. He appears to have stepped right in.
In the first half the Cowboys had nine rushing plays with Clutts on the field and picked up 60 yards. The longest gain was 12 yards. The shortest was three.