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Cowboys vs. Packers Initial Post-Game Notes, Observations

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Jonathan Bales

  • 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.
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11 Responses to Cowboys vs. Packers Initial Post-Game Notes, Observations

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    A very poor showing by just about everyone. Even Dez, who was having a decent game, fouled up in special teams play.

    Is there anyone who can go an entire game w/o a major slip up?

    So who’s available as a free agent (from other teams) in 201? Tackes Gaither and McNeil. Guard Faneca and a few others. There are so many problems along the line that even if Free is resigned, another 2-3 starting caliber players are needed.

  2. Omar says:

    Hey, remember after the first big loss of the season (Washington) where the team underperformed and played like shit, and I said Wade needed to be axed? And everyone said no…yeah, yeah I was right.

    Now that that’s out of the way, Jerry MUST FIRE WADE. There is simply no reason to watch this team because that worthless softy is in charge. Wade needs to go. End of story.

  3. moses says:

    I don’t think Jerry Jones likes strong minded and strong willed coaches. And vice versa. Strong football personalities don’t want an owner meddling a lot. That is why it is hard for the hands on owners to keep good personnel for long.

    I think that is why Parcells left. He wasn’t done with football. He was done with Jerry.

    Jerry got what he wanted, malleable coaches that will bend at his will.
    Time to get another Parcells-like coach. Maybe Jones will consider bringing in a strong GM to put a good team together before he takes the reins again.

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  5. I’d agree it is time for Wade to go now. I am not a fan of mid-season changes, but this is an exception.

  6. Brett says:

    @Omar, you were still wrong. You don’t fire a coach after a week 1 loss. Period. Thats like going for it on 4th down on your own 20 up by 2, 1 min left in a game. You may get away with it, but its NEVER the right decision

  7. john coleman says:

    It is clear that now is the time for a coaching change. Wade has clearly lost this team. As far as free agent players go, I feel we can get a RT out of the draft. We also have several prospects on hand now like Young. Free definitely needs to be retained. I also have to agree with you Jonathon from last week, that replacing 14 players is not possible. I had mentioned cutting 14 and replacing the whole oline except Free. Realistically we don’t have enough picks to plug all the holes on both sides of the ball. We will probably have to keep Gurode and/or Kosier or both. Davis and Columbo need to go at all costs. I expect to be discussing Wade’s replacement by tomorrow.

  8. Omar says:

    Brett, I felt as if Wade should have been canned after the team didn’t show up to play the last three games of the 2008 season, after the brutal loss to the Vikings, and pretty much most of the season. He doesn’t have the team prepared to play, end of story. This was a long time coming.

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  10. JJ says:

    Jonathan,

    It must be difficult to assess performance when there just seems to be so many issues. It is clear the team has resigned itself to apathy. I was on the “fire Wade” bandwagon weeks ago not out sheer emotion but what I felt was a growing mindset within the team. Now, it really is on dire alert status.

    I pray that Jerry is hearing solid input because he really must find a strong presence not only in coaching but in talent assessment. Collinsworth made several statements last night digging at the Cowboys. I took no offense to any of them since he was the same analyst that shined praise on Spencer and Jenkins last year. One telling comment, after Al Michaels stated that the defense is bascially the same defense and the OLine was aging, was that good teams must anticpate players slide. I think the Patriots not only do this well, they gain value back when they do it.

    Therefore, it’s not just Wade’s presence. It’s not just poor performance. It’s that there is no cohesive football approach in place and that hurts the team. Jerry listens to football scouts sometimes. He listens to Wade related to Jason Williams. He listens to Hudson Houck related to Brewester. Yet, Jerry is not a premier talent evaluator of football players. And, while he was worrying about Flozell’s diminishing skills against his pay, he took his eye of off Davis, Colombo, Brooking, Igor, the safeties and spewed what he was told. How great they all were. Someone needs to be THE FOOTBALL GUY just as Jimmy and Parcells both were under Jerry.

    It’s sort of like having a bunch of specialists looking at a patient but not one person in charge of the patient. Unfortunately, we’re almost ready for the coroner.

  11. John–I think we can get by next year with Gurode at center and Kosier at LG. They are still average (maybe slightly below), but the alternatives are worse.

    JJ–It sure is difficult. Plus, the stats simply don’t mean as much when they’re playing like this. I mean, who really cares whether the Cowboys choose to run a draw or a counter when they’re down by 38 points?

    I love your last analogy about the patient. Doesn’t it feel as though this team doesn’t really even have a head coach? Just an OC and a DC who makes decisions from time to time. . .

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