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Cowboys News And Notes: Dallas Horrible On The "Money Down"

All the news that's fit, hell, we all know there's nothing worth talking about from that crapfest in Green Bay. Today's top storylines: post-game analysis; piling on Matt Cassel and Dez Bryant; injury report; Garrett: season not over!

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Our Tuesday morning breakfasts always begin with leftovers:

Morning After: How the 'money down' doomed Cowboys in Green Bay - Bob Sturm, DMN

The Sturminator's post game summation. Nor surprisingly, he chastises the Cowboys for their offensive ineptitude:

It was yet another day of less than 300 yards of total offense in a league where anything less than 350 is generally a poor day. This is the 5th time the team could not break 300 and the culprit is certainly another putrid day on 3rd down where they posted a 1-11 effort after Monday night's 1-9 in Washington. 2-20? 10%?

3rd down has been called the "money down" for many year, mostly because those who are really good at it get paid lots of money and those who are not get relegated to the bottom of the standings and are given backup QB jobs quickly. 3rd down is about extending drives, turning punts into field goals, and turning field goals into touchdowns. If you can't function on 3rd down, then football is going to be incredibly difficult.

2 Glaring Differences From 2014 Rear Ugly Head Again at Lambeau - Nick Eatman, The Mothership

Eatman writes that there were two big non-Romo differences between the 2014 and 2015 games at Lambeau:

1 – This defense just can’t take the football away from its opponent to save their...season.

2 – The offensive line we thought was absolute dominant isn’t really a strength of this team anymore.

See, that Eatman sure is clever; he wanted to put another, dirtier, word there, but put ellipses instead.

Packers 28 Cowboys 7: Ruined in the Rain - Rafael Vela, Cowboys Nation

Raf's post-mortem focuses on a key third quarter sequence:

The Cowboys rallied proudly in the 3rd quarter, stopping the Packers on four consecutive drives, while producing a lightning fast four play, 80 yard touchdown drive, all of it coming on the ground. DC Scott Linehan packed the Packers front in tight with heavy formations then ran wide of it. A weakside toss to Darren McFadden followed a spirited La’el Collins sprint up the left sideline and gained 45 yards. On the next play, Robert Turbin popped outside on the right and gained 22 more yards. On the next play, Turbin knifed inside, and hit paydirt, cutting the Packers lead to 14-7.

From here, the Packers staff outplayed the weather. The Packers tried running the ball or throwing short passes, and were content to play a field position game. Dallas, meanwhile, got three possessions with the score at 14-7 and failed to challenge the Packers’ red zone. Mental mistakes, a missed assignment by Turbin that resulted in a sack, a procedure penalty that put Dallas in 3rd and 13 where they could only gain 10 and a dropped pass by Dez Bryant, the last of several on a forgettable day by him, kept the Cowboys a touchdown behind.

Scout’s Eye: Breaking Down The Red Zone Turnover, Lawrence’s Development, More - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership

The Broad One with his post-game collocation of observations. Here we have one on the Cowboys pivotman:

The Wisconsin homecoming for Travis Frederick was not what he had hoped for on the scoreboard, but I thought he accounted for himself well. It is never easy to have to deal with nose tackle B.J. Raji the entire game, but Frederick was up to the challenge. Of the successful running plays that the Cowboys had in this game, Frederick was able to snatch Raji several times. In doing so it kept him from being a factor in controlling the line of scrimmage. Frederick played him with power and balance which threw Raji off his game. There was a time where a player like B.J. Raji would have given Frederick fits, but each time he has had to play with a man on his nose he has made nice improvements.

Dallas Cowboys run defense gets beaten down against Packers - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

After reminding us that the last time the Cowboys gave up so many rushing yards was last Thanksgiving against the hated Eagles, Archer details Sunday's carnage:

The 234-pound Lacy was able to run through and over tacklers consistently from the beginning of the game to the end. He had 18 yards on his first four carries after putting up 4 yards on five carries against the Lions. He had 50 yards on 11 carries in the first half.

In the fourth quarter, Lacy had nine carries for 51 yards, including a 24-yarder in which he carried defenders to the goal line. With Lacy wearing them down, Starks ran by them. He had four carries for 52 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 30-yard touchdown.

DAL-GB grades: Lacy and Starks take over the turf - Rick Drummond, PFF

Drummond, no relation to KD (aka the Noble) Drummond, offers up the best and worst grades from the Lambeau debacle. I'll focus on the good news:

DE Demarcus Lawrence (+1.6) landed another grade above +1.0, and once again filled up the pass-rushing section of the stat sheet. A sack, a hit and three hurries are what Lawrence collected this week to bring his total pressure count to 16 over the last five weeks—a span in which he’s posted a top-10 overall grade among 4-3 DEs (+7.5) and has been seventh-best as a pass rusher.


Since the final gun, the media has been playing a spirited game of Storm the Cassel...

Matt Cassel's play in Green Bay historically bad for Jerry Jones QBs; flop in Quincy Carter range - Rainer Sabin, DMN

Sabin shows us the hard evidence from the scene of the crime (warning: you best hide this from the kids; it's gruesome):

Cassel's awful 41.5 passer rating summed up this wretched display of quarterbacking. It was the 29th-worst mark by a Cowboys' player since Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989. His 44.8 completion percentage? The lowest by a Cowboys quarterback since a 2013 blowout loss to New Orleans. What about Cassel's 3.93 yards per attempt? Only 14 times in the last 26 years has a Cowboys quarterback produced an inferior average.

Three backup QBs who could have made Cowboys better, if not for GM Jerry Jones - Rick Gosselin, DMN

Here's the central premise of Goose's article:

What puzzles me is that there were better options available. I'll give you three Jones had seen with his very own eyes -- Colt McCoy, Josh McCown and Austin Davis -- and never moved on.

The question is: would any of these jokers really have made a difference?

Cowboys should've stuck with Brandon Weeden, would've won more games - Rick Gosselin, DMN

Although Gosselin increasingly sounds like the grumpy old man with his pants hiked up to his nipples, his crotchety points about Brandon Weeden have a faint glimmer of insight to them:

If the Cowboys had stuck with Weeden, I believe they would have won two, maybe three more games. He wouldn't have been the turnover machine that Cassel has become. He may have driven everyone nuts by continually throwing the check downs, but at least you were able retain possession and not put your defense in bad spots. I thought Weeden was released as a scapegoat for an owner who fumbled any attempt to upgrade the quarterback position and also a scapegoat for a coaching staff that couldn't figure out how to close out games.

Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett: 'We believe in Matt Cassel' - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Fresh from the Department of Shocking Quotations:

"We believe in Matt Cassel," Garrett said. "We believe he can win games for us. We will evaluate the tape before we talk about anything regarding personnel. Matt battles. He competes. Unfortunately we didn’t do enough offensively to win this ballgame."


Reporters spent their breaks from jumping up and down on Cassel's prostrate body piling on Number 88:

A forgettable return for Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

The prolific Archer with some sobering stats about Bryant's disappointing return to Lambeau:

This was the eighth time Bryant has had one or no catches in a game in his career, and the first time since Nov. 10, 2013, against the New Orleans Saints, but the catch in that game went for 44 yards. The only game in which he had fewer yards in a game with at least one catch was Nov. 21, 2010, his rookie season, when he caught three passes for 8 yards against the Detroit Lions.

Worst players from every position from week one - Bryson Vesnaver, Pro Football Focus

PFF's weekly list of the weekly worst once again features a Cowboy. And it ains a bottom-of-the-roster guy, either:

Wide receivers: Dez Bryant, Cowboys (-3.1) and Amari Cooper, Raiders (-2.8)

Bryant is making a rare appearance on this list, as he’s long been one of the best receivers in the league. But yesterday he struggled, catching just one pass on six targets. Three of those incompletions were dropped passes. He gained nine yards. Cooper was targeted seven times, and didn’t make a single reception. He dropped two passes and also took a bad block in the back penalty.


The hits, they keep a-comin'...

Dallas Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne has another injured hamstring - Brandon George, DMN

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne has another hamstring injury, George reports, but the club doesn't believe it's as serious as the previous one he suffered last month that, caused him to miss the Miami and Carolina games. Here's his head coach:

"We'll take it day by day," Garrett said Monday, "but we don't think it's a severe injury, so we'll see how he does here the next couple of days."


Garrett says season isn't yet lost for last-place Cowboys - Schuyler Dixon, USA Today

Garrett is going to be the voice of positivity until his team is mathematically eliminated:

"Our eyes are going to be forward," Garrett said Monday, a day after a 28-7 loss to Green Bay that again exposed an ineffective offense and a defense that can't make a game-changing play. *"We're going to be focused on this next challenge, not pulling back and saying, 'OK, let's look at all this right now.' That's not the time. The time right now is to prepare and play our best football on Saturday night."

Since the Cowboys play Saturday, there's no way for their game to be mathematically meaningless, so Cassel will once again be under center.

Should be fun.

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