Rod Marinelli sounded less like a veteran NFL defensive coordinator and more like a United States Marine Corps combat veteran after the Sunday night contest where the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants despite a dismal outing for the team's defensive unit.
"I don't know if we figured anything out. t's about us, just tackling and doing the things we're supposed to do. There's nothing else to figure out." - Rod Marinelli
That was the answer the gruff Marine tunnel rat gave to a reporter who questioned how the Cowboys managed to adjust to what Ben McAdoo was doing with the Giants offense. The Devil Dog shut down any further discussion of the subject when the journalist attempted to get him to elaborate on the topic.
"I just explained it. What do you want me to do? What do you want me to say? I explained it. Next question."
Safety Barry Church expects the troops to hear much worse as the Cowboys use the short week to prepare for the Thanksgiving showdown with co-division leaders, the Philadelphia Eagles. After the game, Church told reporters that there will be plenty of players getting "cussed out" by coach for the lack of effort and miscommunication that we saw against New York.
Both coach and player are correct. For the most part, the Dallas defense failed to execute against their division rival from the Big Apple. The Cowboys struggled to get off the field on third down, it was near halftime before they were finally able to force the Giants to punt the ball away. Ultimately they allowed New York to convert on 11 of 16 third down attempts, nearly half of those coming as Big Blue put 21 first half points on the board. The Cowboys played the first two stanzas without any of the fire that normally surrounds the squad.
That changed at halftime, no doubt spurred on by some salty language that would be more at home at Parris Island. Marinelli managed to fire up his men and when they returned they were able to muster up enough to get the job done. The burning desire; the will to win that had been missing from the Dallas defense had made its return.
"...we like to see the energy in guys' eyes,"
"In the beginning, we didn't have it. We got in at halftime and made some adjustments, talked to each other, lifted each other up. We came back out like men and we went out swinging." Jeremy Mincey
The unit that had allowed Eli Manning to march the Giants offense down the field on three consecutive drives to start the game managed to keep its opponent out of the endzone during the third quarter and surrendered only one more touchdown the rest of the way.
It was enough...barely.