With yesterday's 28-6 Thanksgiving loss to the LA Chargers, Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett put his name alongside the legendary Tom Landry for all the wrong reasons. Becoming the first Cowboys coach to lose three straight games by 20 or more points at the helm of America's Team since Landry, a price is going to have to be paid somewhere in Dallas as their 2017 season sits at 5-6 and in need of saving.
The belief that any player - on offense or defense - or coach can turn this around is understandably low however.
Jerry Jones felt the need to address his team in the locker room immediately following another collapse by the Cowboys sans Ezekiel Elliott or Sean Lee last night. All signs point to this talk by Jones remaining positive and inspirational for a team that plays yet again in seven days.
Despite the desperate nature of everything surrounding football in Dallas right now, Jones left the locker room and presented the waiting media with a clear message regarding the NFL's reigning Coach of the Year.
Jones is "absolutely not" considering firing Head Coach Jason Garrett at this time.
Jerry Jones was asked after leaving the Cowboys' locker room if his coaching position needed to be re-evaluated after tonight: His answer: "Absolutely not." #cowboyswire
Jones has been a supporter of Garrett for a long time, even prior to Jason stepping up from Offensive Coordinator (where he was viewed as a HC in waiting) to Head Coach following Wade Phillips' firing in 2010.
Jerry has seen Jason Garrett rebuild an aging roster into a stable one with separate starting quarterbacks winning NFC East titles under his leadership. From this perspective, without even including the full range of failures that Jones has witnessed from atop the Cowboys, this team's current ineptitude in functioning without a handful of star players is barely a blip on the radar.
There is a sense though that Garrett along with Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli have collectively hit their ceiling as the top coaches here.
Marinelli's defense may have players full of promise, but his scheme and ability to develop talent leaves a lot to be desired.
Linehan's once-dynamic offense has failed to crack just ten points without Zeke Elliott.
Playing six games without Ezekiel Elliott this late in the season was never going to be easy, but starting off this current stretch of losses with that week 10 beat down in Atlanta only foreshadowed the struggles that would lie ahead.
It feels safe to say that, if noncompetitive and uninspiring losses continue, somebody in power with the Cowboys is going to have to pay for it. Cases can be made for any possible combination of a new play caller on offense or defense, or even a new Head Coach, to lead the team in 2018.
For the moment though, with fans pouring for the exits to enjoy what was left of a Thanksgiving lacking subsistence from the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett is safe as the coach of the Cowboys.
It will be up to him to once again motivate his group out of tough times into a playoff spot that feels painfully dangled in front of the faces of Cowboys Nation like that final slice of pumpkin pie from last night. It's still there, but for how much longer - and do we really want it to be in the first place?
Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: RB Alfred Morris
After two seasons of providing veteran depth for the Dallas Cowboys, running back Alfred Morris is about to be a free agent again. Does the 29-year-old still have value for the club, or will Dallas go with younger options in 2018?
Morris was signed in March of 2016. At the time, it was assumed he would be the backup to incumbent starter Darren McFadden and perhaps even split carries.
But a month later, Dallas drafted Ezekiel Elliott and drastically changed the landscape at the running back position.
If Alfred suddenly seemed expendable, that quickly changed in June when McFadden broke his elbow. Morris wound being the number-two back after all, but he was rarely used as Elliott immediately became the workhorse RB and held that role for all of his spectacular rookie season.
Last year, we all know what happened with Ezekiel Elliott. Morris became the primary RB during Zeke's suspension and had solid numbers, averaging 4.35 yards on his 99 carries during that six-week stretch.
By Week 16, though, not only had Zeke returned but Rod Smith had started to break out from the depth chart. In the Cowboys' pivotal game that week against the Seattle Seahawks, Alfred didn't even get a touch behind Elliott and Smith.
Considering Smith's emergence last year, and him only being 26, it's easy to see why Dallas may not be looking to bring Alfred Morris back. They seem to have their one-two punch already set at the top of the RB depth chart.
What's more, Morris isn't likely to settle for a likely third-place role. He may not be interested in coming back to Dallas given the situation.
Thankfully for Alfred, he enters the free agent market with some good tape from 2017 showing that he can still produce. It's not a loaded crop of free agents this year and, despite his age, Morris could still find a good job somewhere. He's earned an opportunity to compete, if nothing else.
That opportunity likely won't come in Dallas, though. As I wrote about last month, the Cowboys have enough power already and need to add a speed option in their RB rotation.
That said, Alfred Morris spent the last two years giving Dallas good value for the money. He was a solid free agent pickup and his time as a Cowboy should be remembered fondly. At this point, though, I doubt that relationship will continue.
Though Promising, We Need To Relax About Safety Kavon Frazier
With the addition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to the Cowboys' defensive coaching staff, fans are hoping that Dallas will create their own "Legion of Boom." Of course this is a lofty goal, but one worth pursuing nonetheless.
If the Cowboys are to recreate the Legion of Boom they will need their version of two vital pieces: Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks defense works, in many ways, because of these two players. Thomas' ability to play centerfield and literally defend sideline to sideline gives the Seahawks the freedom to use Chancellor where he's best, as a box safety. Chancellor is a big, physical safety who defends the run effectively in the box and can blanket tight ends in man coverage with his size and athleticism.
These safeties are arguably the most critical pieces to the Legion of Boom, though having a shutdown corner in Richard Sherman certainly doesn't hurt.
Realizing Chancellor's importance, Cowboys fans are hoping that current safety Kavon Frazier can fulfill this role in Dallas. Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 Frazier has made his home on Special Teams. As an impressive tackler in both punt and kick coverage, Frazier earned himself time at safety down the stretch of the 2017 season.
All in all, Frazier played rather well. Against the Washington Redskins he stepped in and made a few splash plays at the line of scrimmage, causing Cowboys Nation to lose their minds. After that impressive Thursday night game, however, Kavon Frazier didn't really reach that same level of performance.
Frazier is still a liability when asked to cover, especially when asked to play as a two deep safety. He also struggles when taking angles at times, though playing downhill as a tackler is his best attribute. Frazier actually reminds me a bit of Barry Church, though over time Church became more refined in coverage than Frazier currently is.
Some have argued that Kavon Frazier's presence should stop the Cowboys from considering a first round safety. I would disagree, and actually believe that if Florida State's Derwin James is available, the Cowboys should consider making that pick.
If you could combine the athleticism and coverage abilities of Byron Jones with the physicality and "box safety" qualities of Kavon Frazier, you'd have a fantastic safety. Unfortunately, this isn't the Marvel Universe and we are left without any super heroes in the back-end.
Hopefully Kris Richard will figure out how to correctly place all of these pieces in the Dallas Cowboys secondary going forward.
Maverick Carter: LeBron James Considered Cowboys During NBA Lockout
Maverick Carter is a pretty important man in the world of sports. As a business man, entrepreneur, and manager of one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James, Maverick Carter is certainly used to making headlines.
This week, while on former NFL running back Arian Foster's podcast "Now What? with Arian Foster," Carter claimed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once attempted to negotiate a contract with LeBron James.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, Carter claims that Jones contacted LeBron James and discussed bringing him in as a Cowboy while the NBA was without games.
"Jerry Jones, being the smart marketer he is...one day out of the clear blue sky LeBron got a contract I think it was for like one year, a couple million bucks to play for the Dallas Cowboys." - Maverick Carter.
Carter then states that LeBron may have the paperwork framed in his house to remember these discussions with Jerry Jones. LeBron's fandom for the Cowboys has been well documented, as has been his high school football prowess.
We may never know how "real" these discussions were, and of course it is long over now, but just imagining LeBron James getting a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys would break the internet.
You can check out the full episode of the podcast here, and I highly suggest listening to the other episodes Arian Foster has to offer.
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