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Jason Garrett: Not Ready To Give Up On Him Yet

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Jason Garrett Dallas Cowboys

As happy as I was that the Dallas Cowboys relieved themselves of Brian Stewart as DC. I was forced to make a decision on what I felt about Jason Garrett. The longer the day went on Friday the more it was becoming clear that the St.Louis Rams were about to hire away Jason Garrett. Now myself and Lee have had some very choice words for Mr. Garrett this year, and at the end of the season I was ready for a change with the OC. However when it came down to it actually happening, I must admit I was having second thoughts!

Now as we all know now Jason Garrett did not get the job in St.Louis, and the Cowboys will not be looking for a new OC (unless Jerry decides he just cannot make another year with Wade Phillips as HC). I was very relieved to hear that Jason would not be going anywhere, but why? To find out I decided to do some soul-searching to find the answers to my questions.

My first thought on Jason and the job he did this year was, what did he do differently this year versus last? His play calling tendencies changed very little! is this what happened to the offense? Did the rest of the league catch up to what he does, or did he just become to predictable and refuse to change?

Well in 2007, you remember one year ago when the Cowboys could not be stopped! Yes I know seems like an eternity. Anyway that year Jason preferred the pass by a margin of 12% (Pass 56% vs Run 44%) then this year he still preferred the pass, but this time by a slightly larger margin, 16% (Pass 58% vs Run 42%). What we have to also take into consideration here, is what part did injuries take in the equation? Now this is a touchy subject because it is no one's fault but his own for not utilizing Barber, Choice, and Jones more efficiently. Jason and his offensive coaches turned their noses up on using the rookies early on, and by the time they decided to start using Jones more, he was injured! I would be willing to say that the loss of Jones skewed this number by 4%, meaning had Jason had the services of Jones all year-long the play calling would have been equal to the previous years ratio. I would also say that I believe coming into 2008 that Jason more than likely had an internal number in mind, and that it was more than likely in the neighborhood of a 4% margin (Pass 52% vs Run 48%), but due to injuries, poor O-Line play, and crying receivers this number got away from them.What we have established now is that Garrett did change his play calling slightly, but not enough to change the direction of the offense as drastically as it changed.

The next question is, did the rest of the league catch up to him? I have problems with this because, and maybe it is just wishful thinking, but I just have a hard time believing that his playbook is as small as it looked this year. I will say that I do believe to a certain extent that the league caught up to him, but I do not think they got as close as Dallas made them look like they did! I truly believe that this year Jason was never able to get any kind of rhythm going due to several reasons. First this team had so many injuries, it seemed that every week at least 2 key players were knocked out. I am trying hard not to be a Jason Garrett apologists, but there are certain things that must happen for an offense to "click" and one of those items is having the same group play every week. Do any of you think things would have been any different had Garrett had the services of Felix Jones, Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Kyle Kosier, Miles Austin, and Sam Hurd for 16 games?

I truly believe that Jason Garrett is a very good coordinator, I also believe that he has some growing to do. The question has to be; Does Garrett have too much growing to do? I don't think so! I think Jason is having to use players that he does not want (Terrell Owens) not only is he having to use them but is being forced to allocate a certain percentage of plays in their direction. Do you all believe that a quarterback would keep throwing to a player that drops more than he catches if he was not instructed to keep throwing to that player? and in that same line of questioning do you think Jason Garrett is so stupid that he by himself would continue to instruct his QB to throw to that guy when three other players are open? What Jason Garrett is guilty of is not standing up to those people and not telling T.O. (like Todd Haley told Boldin) to "get open"!

If you could get rid of Wade Phillips and hire John Harbaugh would you do it? What if you could hire Mike Smith? I think most of us would say yes to either one of those guys. Jason Garrett was preferred by both the Ravens and Falcons last year, so does that not say that we may very well have the next great coach already on the team? I think it does! This is exactly what had me so tied up in knots over the weekend. Thanks to the Rams we may possibly still have the coach that we all ache for on the payroll. The grass is not always greener on the other side!

O.K. Jason I just stuck my neck out there on your behalf, don't make me regret it!



Game Notes

SEA 24, DAL 13: Cowboys Offensive Woes Continue

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Connor Williams, Seahawks
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Inefficient passing and turnovers cost the Dallas Cowboys today, leading to a 24-13 loss to the previously winless Seahawks in Seattle.

Dallas's offense produced just a single field goal by halftime, with Dak Prescott only completing two of his first nine passes for just four yards. He got better as the game went on, but still finished with just 168 passing yards and a single touchdown.

The box score will say Prescott threw two interceptions, but one was a bobbled catch by Michael Gallup. The other was not a good throw, trying to find Blake Jarwin in traffic. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner went up and caused a tipped ball.

Both picks ended up in the hands, and ankle, of Seattle safety Earl Thomas. He drew a taunting penalty for bowing at the Dallas sideline on his second INT, almost as if mocking the team for not giving up enough to trade for him.

Ezekiel Elliott did have a big day on the ground; 127 yards on just 16 carries. It's his first 100-yard game of 2018. But the fact Dallas couldn't capitalize on Zeke's production was just further indication of their offensive dysfunction.

Hurry home, Travis Frederick. Who knew you were our Offensive MVP?

Other Notes

  • While Zeke did have a strong rushing performance, two critical errors were big parts of the Cowboys' loss. An early TD catch was called back because Zeke stepped out of bounds before making the reception. Also, Elliott's fumble in the 4th quarter squandered a strong drive that could have started Dallas' comeback attempt sooner.
  • Dallas' defense looked good early but clearly wore down over time. Seattle RB Chris Carson ground out 102 rushing yards on 32 carries. Russell Wilson took advantage of some miscues in the secondary for two touchdown passes and 192 passing yards.
  • Tyrone Crawford got called for another bogus "roughing the passer" penalty after a clean hit on Wilson early in the game. The NFL has to get this figured out, because it's becoming a bigger eyesore for the league than any amount of kneeling ever did.
  • Tavon Austin got his second touchdown catch this year, the only Cowboy to record a receiving TD so far this year. Tight end Geoff Swaim had five catches for 47 yards, reminding the world that Dallas actually has TEs on their roster.
  • Speaking of which, as Troy Aikman commented on during the game, Rico Gathers was not used in redzone passing situations. Why is Gathers dressing for games and not being utilized in the one situation where he's not a liability?
  • Sean Lee left the game after reaggravating the hamstring injury he suffered last week. It meant more playing time for first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, who reminded you of Lee with how he was getting to the ball. Both finished the game credited with 11 tackles each.
  • Rookie guard Connor Williams continues to struggle when up against powerful defensive tackles. It's not a surprise for a converted college tackle, but growing pains still cost you on game day. Dallas may have to consider starting Joe Looney at guard once Travis Frederick comes back.
  • Kicker Brett Maher went 2/2 today on field goals, including a 50-yarder. He has hit four straight after missing his one attempt against Carolina in Week 1.
  • The rest of the NFC East won their games today. That puts Philly and Washington at 2-1 and now evens up the Cowboys and Giants at 1-2.
  • Dallas returns home next week to host the Detroit Lions, who are currently 0-2. They play the Patriots tonight.



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Game Notes

Why The Seahawks Will Be Looking Into A Mirror Against The Cowboys Sunday

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

For the better part of the last decade one defense has reigned supreme over the NFC. One defense has continually put their offense and team in position to win big games, including a dominant Super Bowl win over one of the more productive offenses in recent memory.

That defense, of course, belonged to the Seattle Seahawks.

With a secondary deemed as the "Legion of Boom" and a defensive line which rotated through Pro Bowl level talent routinely, the Seahawks bolstered one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. A defense which perfectly complimented the physical, run first philosophy their offense lived by.

Players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner will arguably be Hall of Famers one day, and they wreaked havoc on the conference for a strong 3-5 year stretch.

Now, however, things are changing.

Gone are many of the elite players which once bolstered the Seattle defense to top-tier status, and while some big names remain, the talent level simply isn't the same. The Seahawks missed the postseason a year ago, and now sit at 0-2 before their home opener today against the Cowboys.

Their window looks to be closed, while their opponent today is looking to build their defense (and team) in the mold of what once was in Seattle.

Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard has come to Dallas and brought with him a more aggressive defensive philosophy, one which he deployed successfully with the Seahawks. Under Richard the Cowboys are blitzing more often on third down than they have in the past under Rod Marinelli, they're utilizing more single high safety looks, and they are allowing their long and talented corners to do what they do best in coverage.

The Seahawks once leaned on a deep pass rush and long, physical secondary. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

The Seahawks once leaned on a mobile quarterback to make plays with his feet while relying on a strong running game and one of the league's best backs. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie look like they were molded in a 2013-Seahawks lab as cornerbacks, and DeMarcus Lawrence is as productive as any pass rusher those defenses had. Of course, we aren't able to say the Cowboys have the consistent front four depth that those Seattle teams did or that they have the single high safety of Earl Thomas' caliber, but the preliminary pieces are clearly in place.

Today the Cowboys look to improve to 2-1 with a conference road win. But, they also look to bury the Seahawks in the past and take another step towards cementing themselves as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.

It won't happen over night, but anyone can see that the potential is there.



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Player News

Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Sean Martin

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Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.

Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.

Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.

This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.

John Owning on Twitter

Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J

A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.

Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.

The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.

Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.

Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.

The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.

Tell us what you think about "Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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