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Cowboys news: Taking the temperature of Jason Garrett’s hot seat

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Jason Garrett not worried about job status - Jeremy Bergman,
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is starting to feel the heat after three consecutive, ugly losses.

One day removed from Dallas’ 24-22 loss to the New York Jets, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked whether he had been given any assurances about his job security. The skipper dismissed the query quickly.

”I’m focused on doing my job as well as I can do it,” Garrett said, per The Athletic.

Garrett is entering the final year of his contract with the Cowboys. The organization has made assurances that the coach will play out the year but does not have an HBC under wraps for the 2020 season. That sort of uncertainty inspires speculation, especially after three consecutive defeats.

But following Sunday’s disappointing setback, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones declared that Garrett was not in jeopardy of losing his job.

It’s too early for Cowboys to fire Jason Garrett, but his arrogance is inching him closer to the end - Tim Cowlishaw,
Cue the opinion-writers asking if Garrett’s time is up.

It’s way too early to engage in talk of Garrett following Washington’s Jay Gruden out the door, but keep in mind what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered on the “hot seat” front Sunday night: “I’m not even coming close to those future type considerations.”

Is that the same as “don’t bet on it, you’ll lose your money,” or is that inching slightly the other direction? Jones might be the one hedging his bets. He made the remark about losing your money last week because, in part, he never saw his team losing to the previously 0-4 Jets.

I wouldn’t say all bets are off now, but it’s something to watch if this thing edges closer to the cliff. It’s a popular topic but one that disregards the players and their personal failings. I’ve never fully understood the whole “coach didn’t have his team ready” argument in a once-a-week league. The beloved Landry thought motivation belonged to the players’ locker room, not his.

Garrett isn’t Landry and never will be. He’s still 20 years short of matching Landry’s tenure here, and unless he finds a way to turn a 3-3 team into at the very least a 10-6 club, someone else gets his turn on the Cowboys coaching carousel in the next few months.

The Morning After: Everything is called into question as Cowboys losing streak stretches to three – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The Sturminator breaks down the loss to the Jets.

It took Dallas four drives to really get going, but they were marching with purpose midway through the second quarter, ready to take the lead with a touchdown. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been turned into a bit of a punchline over the years, but make no mistake, he is no fun to face if able to dictate terms to his opponent with a loud stadium, a blitz-happy defensive cast with capable parts and a safety like Jamal Adams to bring it all together. The Jets are unleashing a series of pressures to cross the Cowboys up, especially after they lost Amari Cooper on the first drive, scratched Randall Cobb and even made Devin Smith inactive because they assumed they had Cooper. Basically, it is down to Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson and Tavon Austin for the balance of the proceedings. The sacks are not coming, but the Jets are rushing Dak Prescott to get the ball out and leaving him with bruises nearly every single time.

Dallas keeps weathering the storm on this fourth drive and converts a couple of solid third downs to Wilson and then Austin to bring the march into the red zone. The Cowboys have been uneven at the start of this season, but red-zone efficiency — converting drives into touchdowns — has come easily in 2019. Kellen Moore may not have solved everything, but his ability to fix this has not gone unnoticed.

On this occasion, however, the Cowboys had four snaps inside the 20 and decided to run the ball each time. They love to run the ball and to use Ezekiel Elliott to blast through walls. The trouble there, of course, is that the walls get thicker down in the red zone. Empty boxes at midfield begin to fill with huge defenders. In the Jets’ case, those defenders were often taken quite high in Round 1 of the draft. 3rd-and-1 from the six-yard line out of 22 personnel featured the Cowboys’ effort to dictate terms to this Jets front. Folorunso Fatukasi broke through a double team of Travis Frederick and Connor Williams to stop Zeke in is tracks with the help of his friends. A 3rd-and-1 became 4th-and-2. The Cowboys trail 7-3 and certainly don’t want to accept a mere field goal. They will dig in and go for it on fourth down, too.

There are two decisions we always try to analyze in these scenarios. First, the idea of going for the touchdown over the field goal at this juncture of the game meets the full approval of any clear thinker in this situation. The game is still early, and there is little to no reason to treat the Jets as an opponent where any points are an accomplishment. You must make your drives count. That fully checks out.

How Brees’ injury can catapult the Saints; GMs weigh in on what the Panthers should do at QB – Mike Sando, The Athletic
A Dallas team that is desperate to rebound before the bye.

Cowboys go from 3-0 to 3-3. Yes, the schedule got tougher, but wasn’t the schedule supposed to get easier against the previously winless Jets in Week 6, even with Sam Darnold back in the lineup for New York? Final score: Jets 24, Cowboys 22.

“Dallas is really banged up right now,” an exec said. “Both offensive tackles did not play. (Amari) Cooper sits out. They did not have their slot (Randall Cobb). Their quarterback (Dak Prescott) took a beating and I was actually impressed with his toughness. He got crushed about four times, went into the tent, everything, and he is still out there in the fourth quarter running it in.”

Beating Philly in Week 7 before reaching the bye would solve a lot for the Cowboys.

Jerry Jones on Jason Garrett’s job status, plus 5 plays that decided Cowboys’ third consecutive loss – Jon Machota, The Athletic
Which plays made the difference Sunday?

2.) The Jets’ first TD. This one isn’t noted for the particular play – a two-yard Le’Veon Bell run – as much as the series as a whole. The Cowboys went three-and-out on their first possession. New York followed with a 14-play, 83-yard drive that ate up almost eight minutes of clock. This was a Jets offense that entered Sunday’s game having scored only two offensive touchdowns in four games. Three of those games were without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who was sidelined with mono, but Dallas’ offense allowed him to look like Aaron Rodgers most of the day. Darnold finished 23 of 32 for 338 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 113.8, his fourth-highest in 15 career games.

“They just kind of did what they do,” Darnold said of the Cowboys defense. “They do it every single week. They just play one-high (safety), occasionally two-high, and they like to stop the run. I knew that I had to throw the ball today to have success, and we did that.”

The Cowboys’ defense, which was expected to be a team strength entering the season, greatly aided the Jets’ first scoring drive, committing four penalties to help move the chains.

Doug Pederson: Eagles 'going to win' versus Cowboys - Kevin Patra,
Meanwhile, opposing coaches of equally mediocre teams are out guaranteeing wins.

It's Cowboys-Eagles week.

With the NFC East rivals both struggling, Eagles coach Doug Pederson added some fuel to the Week 7 fire.

"I know the sky's falling outside. It's falling. I get that," Pederson said Monday on WIP Radio. "But we're going down to Dallas and our guys are going to be ready to play. And we're going to win that football game, and when we do, we're in first place in the NFC East. We control our own destiny, we're right where we need to be. Has it been perfect or beautiful or all that? No. But all we got to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we're in first place, and listen they're reeling too. They're struggling to. They've dropped their last three games, so this will be an exciting football game."

Jason Garrett, Cowboys respond to Doug Pederson’s claim of Eagles win - Jori Epstein,
Apparently saying “we’re gonna win that football game” isn’t a guarantee, at least not when spoken by the Eagles’ head coach.

A Cowboys team that’s bought into Jason Garrett’s “worry about ourselves” mantra had heard, by Monday evening locker room availability, what Pederson said. The Eagles coach told Philadelphia radio station 94.1 WIP that “we’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.” He later insisted to reporters he didn’t assure a win.

“Never said guarantee a win,” Pederson said. “I’d never do that.”

The Cowboys, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, didn’t formally discuss the comments, players said. Sure, it’s yet another element of the rivalry that “makes us come out a little bit fired up,” receiver Michael Gallup said. But did a .500 Cowboys team playing for first place in the division ahead of their bye week really need more fuel?

“If you need a coach, or anybody else, to fire you up, I don’t think you really should be playing,” Gallup said. “That’s what Dak says, really every week. We shouldn’t [need] anybody else to motivate us to be fired up. You should already have that. For me, I’m not looking for anybody to fire me up.”

Sizing Up Cooper’s Status Entering Week 7 - David Helman,
Without Amari Cooper the offense sure looked a lot like lat year’s ineffective pre-Cooper unit.

All eyes will be on Amari Cooper this week, from the sounds of Jason Garrett’s Monday press conference.

The Cowboys’ head coach spoke to reporters Monday evening in the wake of his team’s 24-22 loss to the New York Jets. Chief among the many concerns after that game was the health of Cooper, who exited the game with a quad injury after just three snaps.

“He has the contusion on his thigh, which obviously bothered him yesterday,” Garrett said. “He was going to try to play and he just felt like once he got started he couldn’t play. So we’ll see. We’ll take his situation day by day.”

This isn’t a new injury, as Cooper has said it’s bothered him at times. It was listed on the Cowboys’ injury report heading into the game. He appeared to aggravate the problem while getting tackled on his only reception of the game, and he seemed to struggle hitting top speed on a double-move on the next play.

Mailbag: What’s Happening Defensively? - Bryan Broaddus, Rob Phillips,
Kevin from Grapevine asks a question many other Cowboys’ fans have been asking for a while now - why is Jourdan Lewis rotting on the bench?

With Jourdan Lewis’ latest interception I’m convinced, more than ever, that certain special players can attract the football coming from opposing QBs. Is there some glaring reason that keeps this young interception magnet from getting a chance? Or is it more seniority? - KEVIN PARKER / GRAPEVINE, TX

Bryan: With Anthony Brown injured he will get more of a chance. Would not be one bit surprised if he’s the starter this week against the Eagles. He’s one of the most competitive players they have in that secondary.

Rob: Lewis also made a key breakup in the fourth quarter that forced a Jets field goal to keep the deficit at one possession. He got a season-high 37 snaps against the Jets, and he might play more regardless this week depending on how Byron Jones and Anthony Brown do with the hamstring injuries they sustained. I’ve been in agreement with you about Lewis – he’s not perfect on every snap, but he seems to make a difference when he’s in there.

3 things we learned from Cowboys’ loss to the Jets, including why Dak Prescott isn’t the problem, nor the solution - John Owning,
Some thoughts with the usual assortment of supporting video clips.

The coaching staff didn’t adequately prepare the offense for the myriad of blitzes the Jets threw their way. Even more frustrating was the fact that Dallas didn’t attempt to scheme up separation against New York’s man-heavy defense when blitzing. Take Dallas’ first third-down attempt of the game as an example:

On this play, the Cowboys are in a 3x1 formation, using 11 personnel (one RB, one TE, three WRs), with Jason Witten isolated as the lone receiver to the short side of the field, three receivers to the wide side of the field, and Ezekiel Elliott aligned in the backfield to Dak Prescott’s left.

The Cowboys run a variation of the ‘Hank’ concept to the short side of the field where Witten and Austin, who comes across the middle of the field, run curl/sit routes just past the sticks while Elliott runs a swing route to the flats. To the wide side of the field, Gallup is tasked with a pivot route while Amari Cooper runs a double move.

This is a common play-call to defeat multiple coverages, as the “Hank” concept is effective versus most zone coverages while the pivot route and double move are usually effective against man coverage.

This seems like a wise call at first; however, when you take in Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ propensity to blitz and play man coverage behind it on third down, the play-call becomes much more questionable.

The problem with this play-call is the side of the field that ‘man-beater’ routes to the wide side of the field were slow-developing, which gave the Jets’ blitz time to affect Prescott’s throw to Amari Cooper.

When you know a team is likely to blitz and play man coverage behind it on third down, it would seemingly be a better idea to run more quick-hitting ‘man-beater’ concepts such as mesh, rubs, bunch formations or stack releases. They could have even used motion to create and take advantage of a defensive back’s movement.

For the third straight game, the Cowboys offense was not only outexecuted but out-schemed as well, which is a bad sign for an offensive-minded head coach who is in the last year of his contract.

What the heck is wrong with the Dallas Cowboys? - Christian D'Andrea,
The SB Nation writer asks a good question without any clear answers.

The Cowboys’ 3-0 start was an illusion.

Over the course of three weeks, Dallas has shrunk from potential contender to .500 also-ran. Wins over the Giants, Dolphins, and Washington turned out to be hollow confidence builders for a team whose fatal flaws couldn’t be fixed in a single offseason. Where defeats to the Saints and Packers could be brushed off as solid efforts against the conference’s best, a 24-22 loss to the then-winless Jets wrote the team’s shortcomings in skywriting over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

The Cowboys’ passing defense, when pressed by anyone who hasn’t been a veteran backup at some point in their NFL careers, can’t get the stops they need. Dak Prescott, for all his early-season greatness, hasn’t been the kind of top-level quarterback who can navigate his team out of the first-half deficits his team’s faced during this losing streak. The Cowboys came into Week 6 with the league’s most efficient offense — their 7.2 yards-per-play was tops in the league — and now ranks 11th when it comes to turning those gains into points.

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