Next Man Up Philosophy Has Flaws; Adjustments Big & Small Needed - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
Eatman explains why the “Next Man Up” mindset might be getting in the way of making necessary adjustments both big and small.
The more I hear the phrase “Next Man Up,” the more I’m starting to really hate it. I get the premise of the phrase. Sure, you want the backup player to step right in and pick up the slack without any setbacks.
But it doesn’t happen like that. Not every situation is Kurt Warner waiting in the wings to replace Trent Green and the Rams just go win the Super Bowl. Yeah, those stories are usually sent to Hollywood, or Canton, or both.
In reality, most backup situations call for a change in the philosophy or scheme. I just don’t think you can lose Ezekiel Elliott and simply say, “Next man up, Alfred. Go in there and let’s play the way we always play.” You can’t just put Chaz Green out at left tackle and give him little help like you do with Tyron Smith.
You can’t play the same defensive scheme with Anthony Hitchens out there as you do with Sean Lee and expect it to be the same just because they’re the next guy up.
But it seems like there’s a mindset of “sticking to the game plan” even though the game plan was designed for other players.
Hopefully, the Cowboys can figure out how to adjust this situation before it’s too late.
Ed Werder: Where the blame really belongs for the Cowboys' 3-game skid - SportsDay Staff
Ed Werder joined KESN-FM 103.3 to talk all things Dallas Cowboys. An excerpt:
Question: Where do you start to place blame or who gets the majority of it for the Cowboys?
Ed Werder: Well I thought after the game, Jerry Jones made an interesting admission when I asked him in the hallway in front of other media people... I asked him after the game how surprised he is that Dak and the offense have failed so completely without Ezekiel Elliott, and he said, "I'm surprised. We all know it shouldn't be that way. Zeke's important, Zeke makes it better, but to a man around here, we all know it shouldn't be to this degree at all."
To me, that suggests that the blame is on the front office with those responsible for putting together a roster that should be able to absorb some of these injuries and not fall apart on both sides of the ball as we've seen the Cowboys do. And it falls on the coaching staff that has not been able to figure out any sort of consistent offense that can routinely score points and allow games to be competitive. So to me that's Jerry saying that's on me and this is on Jason Garrett and the coaches. He seems to be absolving the players for the most part.
Dallas Cowboys continue to make wrong kind of history in latest loss - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys' season is spiraling out of control. Will there be consequences?
Has Jason Garrett lost his team, and will it cost him his job a season after he led the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC? If he continues as the coach, are there significant changes to come for a coaching staff that has seen its past three opponents outscore the Cowboys 72-6 in the second half?
Is Dak Prescott, who followed his first three-interception game with another two interceptions after having just four picks in 2016, really the quarterback of the future? Is Dez Bryant in his final days with the Cowboys?
With five games left to play, everybody might be coaching for a job, here or elsewhere.
With five games left, Jason Garrett needs answers to Cowboys' woes - Todd Archer, ESPN
Jerry Jones is still confident in Jason Garrett, but what has Garrett done for him lately?
A year ago through 11 games, the Dallas Cowboys were 10-1, the best record in the NFL. A year later, the Cowboys are a mess.
Now, for the first time in his tenure in Dallas, Garrett’s future and that of his staff was brought up to owner and general manager Jerry Jones. Jones supported Garrett and the staff and was clear it was “not a negative vote of confidence.”
“I’ve got a lot of optimism for our talent,” Jones said. “I do. Now, we all know it has to get better. It has to get together. I really think this coaching staff is tops. I think Jason is able to use everything that he has learned as a coordinator as a [head] coach over the last years, and we’ve just got to get it together. I frankly have had some real losing moments right before we really knocked it out of the park.”
“I think the biggest thing you try to do is not really concern yourself with what the wins and losses are at this point,” said Garrett, who has two years left on his contract. “You really got to clean up this ballgame as quickly as you can and get ready for the next challenge. The best thing we can do is come back Sunday morning and lock in what we need to do to prepare the right way for the Redskins.”
But at some point Garrett will have to concern himself with the wins and losses.
If he doesn’t, Jones will.
Blog: Jones Believes Season Can Be Salvaged - Dallas Cowboys Staff
Ever the optimist, Jones doesn't yet acknowledge that the season is lost.
“We’re not a good team right now,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “I really will tell you – and this is some hopeful but it’s also some factual -- we can really salvage this thing.
“I look at our schedule, I look at where we are with our talent. I’ve seen it before – I’ve seen these guys play at levels, each one of them individually, that allows me to think this way. If I’ve never seen it, then that would be different on an individual basis or as a team.
“All of that’s what it is. We know that you have to go out and do it and you don’t have a lot of time to do it. Not only is the season coming fast, but so is next week.”
How these Dallas Cowboys hit rock bottom, and what it means for the Jason Garrett regime - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
No such misplaced optimism from Sturm.
The offense is so bad right now and the decisions are maddening. There was almost no attempt at play-action passing Thursday and no sign of even the slightest explosive play. The coaches are looking at an extremely young quarterback who is facing adversity for the first time, and it appears they want him to figure it out.
This is historically bad. When the defense and offense can both produce stat totals that suggest they have rarely played this bad in the same game, the floor has dropped out from under the season. When they do it three weeks in a row, then you have to consider pressing the button that tells HR to start filling out dismissal paperwork for an entire regime.
Nothing I write this morning can express how badly this month has been botched. Morale couldn't be lower. There is no trace of self-belief in that locker room.
Happy Thanksgiving. This is rock bottom.
Sean Lee's return won't be a panacea for Cowboys' defensive woes - Todd Archer, ESPN
The problems plaguing the Dallas defense run deeper than missing Sean Lee.
The Cowboys have gone 27 straight possessions without a sack. The Cowboys have gone 29 possessions without a takeaway.
Lee could miss the Cowboys’ next game, too. His days have been filled with rest and rehab, working on resistance training, trying to get his leg closer to 100 percent.
With the way things have gone lately, Lee’s return is no sure bet to fix the defense.
Cowboys' offense running to a stand still without Ezekiel Elliott - Todd Archer, ESPN
The whole country knew that Elliott would be suspended at some point, but it looks like the Cowboys were the only ones unprepared for that eventuality.
“I’m surprised,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “We all know it shouldn’t be. Zeke’s important. Zeke makes it better, but to a man around here we’d all say it shouldn’t be to this degree at all. So we’ve got to adjust again.”
Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant is 'really a better player' - Jeremy Bergman, NFL.com
Bryant has now gone five games without a TD and is averaging a career-low 10.9 yards per catch.
His stats and game tape tell the story of a wideout in decline -- Bryant, 29, is in his eighth season -- but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sees something else from his marquee receiver.
"Dez is actually, from the standpoint of being to excel, is a better player," Jones told 105.3 The Fan Dallas on Friday. "I know a lot of people are rolling their eyes on that one -- he's really a better player. He's just got to get into a better position. He had a ball yesterday that he can catch. I've seen him miss that ball before, but I've seen him catch that ball, too, great periods of times. Let me say this: I feel good about Dez."
Eli Manning Becomes The First QB To Lose 100 Starts With One Team - Chase Stuart, Footballperspective.com
Vinny Testaverde owns the most losses in NFL history, compiling a 90-123-1 record. But Eli Manning is pushing for that record, and set one himself.
With the Giants loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving, Eli Manning became the first quarterback in NFL history to lose 100 starts with a single team.