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The VRR: Could the Cowboys Use Better Communication?

The ESPN writers are criticizing the Cowboys for failing to make tough decisions regarding personnel moves. Ed Werder contrasts how coaches such as New England's Bill Belicheck ignored Joey Galloway's guaranteed contract, and instead, chose to bench and eventually cut the veteran receiver. He also credits Denver's Josh McDaniels for handling the Brandon Marshall situation in a disciplinary manner that seems to have had a team-oriented effect on the player.

As the Cowboys face changes at their wide receiver position, Werder questions whether the situation is being mismanaged.

[W]hen Miles Austin replaces an injured Williams and is productive in a statistical way that no other Cowboys receiver in the history of the franchise has ever been, he is rewarded with a starting position -- but not the one earned on the basis of his performance. It appears the Cowboys will have Austin replace not Williams, but instead, Patrick Crayton, which is unfair to both.

Crayton has been slightly more productive than Williams, and now Austin is forced to play out of pos which is unfition as a Z receiver, which some NFL coaches say will be difficult for him.

We wonder why the Cowboys so often seem to project a sense of entitlement?

More VRR after the jump.

Tim MacMahon says that Wade Phillips continues to be hesitant to name a starter at WR, which only adds to the coach's "soft" perception.

[T]his coaching staff goes to great lengths to avoid hurting players' feelings by demoting them. Coaches declined to confirm that Miles Austin has replaced Crayton in the starting lineup, although it's been obvious that would happen since Wade Phillips said Austin would play "fifty-something" snaps per game after his 250-yard, two-TD breakout performance against Kansas City. Those numbers, by the way, exceed Crayton's production through five games this season.


This is the same kid-gloves treatment that Phillips' staff gave Greg Ellis last season. Anthony Spencer had clearly established himself as the superior defender against the run, earning the vast majority of reps on first and second downs. But Ellis still started every game, a tribute that certainly didn't keep him from grumbling. Crayton speaks his mind as much as Ellis, but he's keeping his mouth shut at the moment.

Well, now Crayton has spoken. Calvin Watkins notes that the coaches still have yet to communicate with Crayton regarding his role in the offense.

Austin continued to get reps with the starters during Wednesday's practice, but none of the coaches have explained the situation to Crayton.

"I would have loved it," Crayton said of an explanation from head coach Wade Phillips or offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. "It would have been real stand-up. That's not what happened. Oh, well."

Crayton, who dealt with a similar demotion after the Cowboys traded for Roy Williams in the middle of last season, isn't pouting about becoming a No. 3 receiver again. He considers his role "to help in whatever way possible." He just feels that, as a six-year veteran, he deserves an explanation.

"That way you're not in the dark about why the change is made," Crayton said.

Although the Cowboys let yesterday's trade deadline pass without making a move, some team dangled some pretty fat carrots in front of Jerry Jones' nose.

"We had a significant offer for a key player that we turned down, and turned down in getting in more extended dialogue for," Jones said. "So we did have that kind of activity ... but I shouldn't name the player or the team. It was a very firm, significant offer for one of our young players that we had a chance for a lot of consideration if we had wanted to take it, and we didn't."

When asked specifically whether Tashard Choice was the target, Jones said the player was not a running back.

He indicated that the Cowboys were offered at least one premium draft pick for the player. He also hinted that the Cowboys could have pushed for a player who could contribute this season.

Hat tip to Big50 for the FanShot.

After practicing today, SS Gerald Sensabaugh sounds ready to play Sunday.

He is wearing a blue cast to protect the thumb and it will be wrapped even tighter so he can play Sunday against Atlanta.

"I can play like this," Sensabaugh said. "It felt good today. I did all the drills. They padded it up a little bit so I wouldn't hurt anybody, which is what they have to do for the game ... I was able to catch some balls. I dropped some too."

The red zone has not been an area of success for the Cowboys this season.

Dallas owns the league's second-ranked offense (420.4 yards), but the Cowboys are only 11th in scoring (24.4 points). That's because they are only 20th in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on 46.7 percent of their drives inside the 20-yard line (seven of 15 chances).

Coach Wade Phillips said an ineffective running game and a passing game that has struggled to find matchups to exploit are the main reasons Dallas scored just two TDs in its last nine trips inside the red zone.


The bad news is that Sunday's opponent, Atlanta (4-1), excels at red-zone defense. The Falcons are third in points (15.4) and TDs allowed (eight) and are coming off a victory over Chicago in which they prevented the Bears from scoring on three of their four trips into the red zone.

Atlanta is third in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score just six TDs in 16 trips inside the 20 (37.5 percent).

JWitt or TonyG: Who is the best tight end in the game? Gonzalez says it's Witten.

"Jason, in my opinion, he's the best tight end in the NFL," Gonzalez said during a conference call Wednesday. "Because his ability to catch the ball and block, a lot of people forget about that. The tight end position's not just about catching footballs. It's about going out there and opening holes as well, you're part offensive lineman, and I think Jason epitomizes that, and he's done it well for the last couple years.

"I enjoy watching him. Anytime he's on TV I'm definitely watching him . . . He's a guy that I definitely will be looking at on Sunday."

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