Cowboys vs. Packers Initial Post-Game Notes, Observations
- The Cowboys opened the game with some innovative blitz packages and pre-snap alignments on defense. On their early sack of Aaron Rodgers on 3rd and 3, both Alan Ball and Orlando Scandrick blitzed without showing it before the snap. On a few other plays, certain Cowboys defenders acted as if they’d blitz but then backed into coverage. Of course the team got away from it as the game progressed.
- As I hoped, Dez Bryant was in on some two-receiver sets. This is of note because it means the Cowboys realize he needs to be on the field, no matter who he replaces.
- Jon Kitna’s first interception was a terrible throw. Miles Austin had a step on the outside, but the ball was really underthrown. I know there was a safety over the top, but that ball needs to be on the outside shoulder or not even attempted.
- Can we please stop running the fullback dive to Marion Barber? It isn’t like the defense doesn’t notice he’s at fullback. Cris Collinsworth criticized Jason Witten’s missed block on the second quarter dive play, but it isn’t easy when your man comes flying down the line because he knows a fullback dive is on the way.
- I absolutely can’t stand Wade Phillips’ decision to replace Bryan McCann with Dez Bryant at kick returner. First, McCann looked good on returns prior to his (non) fumble. Second, I don’t think Dez Bryant should be back deep on any kicks. It’s simply too risky. Most importantly, it seemed as though the move was a cowardly act of Phillips trying to conceal his own mistakes. The play should have never, ever stood because the Cowboys should have been able to challenge it. They couldn’t, however, because Phillips made a terrible decision to challenge a one-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jackson which wasn’t even really close, leaving the team with no timeouts. I know Phillips must rely on his people upstairs for most challenges, but it’s the head coach’s job to surround himself with trustworthy people. Phillips screwed up the call, then tried to shift the focus to McCann by taking him out. Now I’m all for benching players when they do dumb things, but Phillips isn’t. He doesn’t bench anyone. So why now? Any why did he come back in for the next return? His one-play discipline of role players means nothing when guys like Marion Barber are still starting.
- Mike Jenkins should be benched. It isn’t about his play. It’s about his effort. In the third quarter, he held up on attempting to tackle James Jones just before Jones scored. The effort on the play was a joke.
- Felix Jones completely missed a blocking assignment in the third quarter and got Kitna killed. How are these things still happening? The coaches can preach about “execution” all day, but at a certain point they need to take ownership for the fact that they are the ones who are responsible for the players’ execution. Everyone must be held accountable.
- What happened to Tashard Choice getting more touches, like the coaches promised him? Is a fourth quarter kick return while down 31 points what they meant? Or was it his three meaningless carries inside of four minutes to play when down 38? Barber, who continually stumbled after receiving handoffs, was still getting carries well into the fourth quarter. If the players can’t trust the coaches, the coaches need to go.
- The Packers kept running the exact same blitz all night, and the Cowboys failed to adjust. Clay Matthews would twist inside and Charles Woodson would come from the slot into the spot vacated by Matthews. They ran it in the first half and it worked. They ran it in the second half. . .and it worked. Where are the adjustments? Where is the adaptability? Where is the coaching?
- Stephen Bowen–why are you celebrating after a fourth quarter tackle when the score is 45-7? If I said you haven’t made a single play all year, it would be only a very slight exaggeration.