I am just disgusted today, one day after watching the Cowboys give a game away. The only way I know how to work through this is by looking at the problems and try to make sense of them. There is plenty of blame to go around but the more I look at it the more I come to understand the majority of the blame falls in one place.
Now I would like to start off by saying that in an earlier post I detailed what I thought would be the 5 keys to success both on offense and defense. So let's look at each key and see how they fared.
1. Protect Romo: Going up against the “Best Defense” in football the offensive line did an exceptional job. They gave up 3 sacks yes but Romo was not under constant duress! He was given the time needed to make something happen, and that is all we could ask for.
2. Force their LBs to cover: Going into a game without the services of Marion Barber and Felix Jones this would be a huge factor. Who would be the person that would dictate that the Steelers pay attention to? May I introduce you to Mr. Choice, that's right Tashard Choice the fourth round draft choice from Georgia Tech. All I can say is this guy played his butt off! He did everything well, blitz pick up, rushing, receiving he did it all. Choice accounted for 166 of the Cowboys 289 yards. No way could anyone have asked anymore of this young man.
3. Score early and often: This was toughest of all keys, the Steelers just do not allow you to score, particularly in the second half. I felt they would need to score a bunch in the first half to have a chance. I was wrong! The Cowboys offense could only muster 3 points. They had plenty of opportunities just could not make it happen. The offense seemed to be working from to different play books. Tony was working on one page while everyone else (minus choice) was on page 10. On one play in the first quarter Tony expecting T.O. to run a deep out, throws to the spot, but T.O. gave up on the play and cut the route short, allowing a perfect pass to Troy Polamalu! And it would not get any better!
This leads us to 4. Limit stupid Turnovers: Well here is where the “BIG O” blew it! Five freaking turnovers! Five! Those five were turned into 10 points for the Steelers. What was the final score again? Oh yeah 20 to 13! I am no math wizard but I do believe 20 minus 10 would be 10! This is absolutely inexcusable! This is by your account your statement game and you play with such recklessness? Hey Tony and Jason ever heard of “Game Management”? Well let me explain some simple rules of game management, first of all if its not there throw the freaking thing away! Two, do not decide before the play who you are going to throw the ball too! Hey Tony Martellus Bennett is still WIDE FREAKING OPEN! How do you make that decision to throw into triple coverage, and disregard the guy 20 yards down the middle of the field all alone? Who by the way could have crawled into the end zone with no one ever touching him! You are killing me still Smalls!
Last but not least 5. Spread them out create mismatches: They were there all night long! They did not take advantage of them! 8 and 10 yard cushions on T.O. and Roy all night and Jason Garrett fails to adjust his game plan! Wake up gentlemen! How about a slant, or a hook, or a damn cross in! Nope we have to make our quarterback wait for a triple move to develop! This was an absolute failure by Jason Garrett and his offensive coaches.
The blame of this game falls directly on the shoulders of Tony Romo, and Jason Garrett. Tony you are a gunslinger and I love you, but if you do not learn how to take care of the ball you are going to make me lose my mind! I am the least of your worries though, you are about to lose this team if you do not correct this issue! The first domino to fall on this front will be the one who cried for you last year! That's right the ever waiting to erupt Terrell Owens. Stop trying to force the ball to him and start going with the flow of the game. I understand he may get mad at you for going somewhere else, but I promise you if you are winning games he will back off! Man up! Jason Garrett as far as you are concerned the rest of the league has your system figured out! It is time to adapt! That stupid pitch to T.O. does not work, so stop running the damn thing! All good coaches use the talent they are given to the best of their ability! You sir are failing at this miserably! Force teams to adapt to what you are doing not you adapting to them all the time! I understand the players have to make the plays but it is up to you to make sure they understand what they are doing! It is obvious that no one knows what the hell is going on; you can tell this by Tony constantly having to tell everyone where to be before the snap of the ball, thus causing frantic snaps of the ball! I can give you a bit of advice in one word! K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) you have the most talented offense in the league! Stop designing your way out of the game! I once thought you would be an excellent head coach for us, but I don't think I would have you organize a lunch line right now! You guys have one last chance to change the course of the season, so get to work!
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019
In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.
Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.
The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?
Let's take a look.
As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.
Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.
As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.
Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.
Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.
There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.
Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.
While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.
Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.
In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.
Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.
With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.
Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka
As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with
The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.
It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.
The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.
Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.
Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.
Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.
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