Cowboys Coaches Get All That Can Be Got Out Of Jerry’s Roster

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Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) intercepts the ball in the fourth quarter against Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (19) at AT

When Romo threw the interception that led to the winning score, he flexed out of a run play because he saw 10 Packers in the box. It was the right call, because moments later Miles Austin had a step on his man and no one between him and the end zone. Play calling is nothing more than the art of creating moments like this in a game. It was a great play call. The circumstances of the final minutes forced the Packers to load the box to stop the run, and Bill Callahan made them pay for it, twice calling plays that got his receivers behind the defense.

But his quarterback didn’t make the throws he had to, so Cowboys fans are exposed to a week of TV expert bile about playcalling.

They’re the same experts who praised Jimmy Johnson for throwing with 4:22 left to play, a four-point lead, and the league’s reigning rushing champion Emmitt Smith in the backfield. Remember the revered 73-yard, game-icing Aikman-to-Harper slant in the 1992 NFC Championship at San Francisco? Of course you remember it. You love that play.

But why didn’t Jimmy just run out the clock? He was up by four with four minutes to play. He had the Holy Grail of offensive lines and Emmitt Smith, for God’s sake. Why risk throwing in that situation? It’s just moronic – give the ball to Emmitt ‘till there’s no time left and go home champions!

Ever thought that way about that play? Nope. Know why? Because they executed. If Troy misses that throw, or Harper runs a lazy route, and they lose that game, the last 20 years would have been filled with talk about the wisdom of handing off the ball to Emmitt to close out the game. Instead, Cowboys fans celebrate that play – it may be the most famous in franchise history. Why? Because the players executed.

So let’s give the whole play calling thing a rest. This coaching staff is putting the players on the field in position to succeed, and the players aren’t getting it done.

And that brings us to the last thing we know for sure about this Cowboys team. They bounce back. They’re resilient. They’re tough. When they lose painful, they win the next week.

Last week’s 37-36 loss to the Packers was brutal, but it wasn’t any more gut-wrenching than the 51-48 loss to the Broncos in Week 5 and the 31-30 loss to Detroit in Week 8. How does one team bounce back from any of those epic collapses?

This team just does. They found a way to win after both the Denver and Detroit losses. Don’t ask how. It’s not because of the talent on the field. It must be because of the coaching staff. They get these guys ready to give their best every week, regardless of what happened last week, and put them in position to succeed on the field.

The hire of Wade Phillips as head coach in 2007 was a decision that set back the talent and culture of this franchise by a decade. It might be the worst decision GM Jerry has made since allowing Jimmy to leave 20 years ago.

Bad as it was, firing Garrett would be worse. Garrett and his staff get everything that can be got out of Jerry’s roster. Turns out, surprise, there’s just not much to get.

Will they win this weekend in Washington? Maybe. Will the players have put the Green Bay loss out of their minds and be focused on the task at hand? Assuredly.

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  • Earl Robertson

    Jerry is the problem the players on this team has no playmaking skills

    • SmartThinking

      Jones or not, during the game, the players still have to play. And they stand a better chance, such as it is, of winning against Washington if Romo doesn’t freelance off the game plan again and absent-mindedly throw another game-ending interception.

      Fixing this mess starts at the bottom and works it’s way up. Romo must pay attention to his coaches and not ad lib the game plan!

  • SmartThinking

    I’m so tired of you guys referring back to Aikman and those Super Bowl teams and comparing them to this year’s mess.

    LISTEN! There is no comparison, even when you use this team as an opposite. All you do is disparage those great Cowboys champions by mentioning them in the same or adjacent breath with whatever you want to call what we laughingly refer to as this year’s Dallas Cowboys football team.

    You do make several good points in this story re: this team’s offensive capabilities. But this offense runs (no intentional play on words) through Romo. And with him under center, this team is a steam roller with the gas pedal disconnected.

    Forget how well (well, sort of) the offensive line has been opening holes and limiting penalties. Forget how well the run game “could ” be. Forget the long distance firepower the receivers and tight ends offer. This team makes or breaks depending on Romo’s decision making. And, as we all know, his decision making, well, it sucks!

    Why the, what I offhandedly refer to as coaches, allow this guy to change plays at the line of scrimmage, is beyond me. He has lost our confidence in his decision-making ability. If Dallas has any chance of winning against Washington this Sunday in what will be their Super Bowl, Romo MUST NOT be allowed to change plays!!!

    Even if it means calling a time out or, even, Romo looking over to Garrett and shaking his head NO, Romo must be told to run the play that’s sent in. Why? Because, like it or not, the coaches run this team and, at this stage of the season, with this team in the condition it’s in, with the record it’s sporting, the coaches should script this game and Romo should run it exactly as scripted.

    Then, at season’s end, we’ll know whether it’s the coaches or the players who’re at fault for winning or losing the season. It’s just that simple. Let’s see if Romo can do ‘simple’ without buggering it up for a third week in a row!

    • John

      You actually watched the Green Bay game. The TV experts who shape the national narrative didn’t. They saw highlights and a box score. You know better. Why do you let them influence your thinking?
      Throwing in that situation had risks. So did running. You watched the second half with your own eyes. You know if the Cowboys ran and went 3-and-out, Green Bay was going to get the ball back, score, and win the game. You know the Cowboys D wasn’t going to stop them.
      As such, there wasn’t anything wrong with Romo’s decision making. Throwing was smart, particularly when the play calling set him up with receivers behind the defense for big plays. It was his execution that let the team down. Physically, he just missed the throws to Dez and Miles. If he connects on either of them, the TV genius class is praising his decision making the same way they praised Jimmy’s in 1992.

      • SmartThinking

        You mean, he did nothing wrong except throw that pesky, game-losing interception … again, don’t you?

        • Dave

          You mean he is not perfect? Eli Manning has two rings (a standard most apply to quality of quarterbacks) and i would suggest would be no better in that situation. Stuff happens, sucks when it’s your team though.

        • John

          Think I’m shifting blame from Romo? Quite the opposite. Just pointing out the collapse was physical, not mental. TV expert conventional wisdom states Romo makes bad decisions, so, regardless of what actually happened, that’s the analysis they offered all this week. Just thought I’d point out that, in reality, the play calls created opportunities for big plays that would have iced the game, and Romo missed the throws…

          Problem is, this team needs Romo to be perfect to win. He can’t miss throws. Eli’s Giants never asked much of him, putting two rings on his finger and he didn’t have to score more than 18 points to win either of them. Romo’s got a tougher road to hoe – on his team, if he doesn’t make it happen, it aint gonna get done.

  • Old Frog

    I’m pretty sure if someone actually accused Jerry Jones face to face of being the worst GM in the NFL, he’d probably say something like, “No I’m not. At 8 and 8 we finished better than 12 other teams in 2011, better than 16 teams in 2012, and we’ll be better than 14 teams in 2013. I may not be the best GM, but I’m clearly not the worst.”
    JJ ain’t going anywhere…

  • Unc Forrever

    Look Romo didn’t execute on that pass to Austin. it was BAD! But we should have been running and running out the clock. Loss is on Garrett just like Detroit the last 2 years. I hope we win out but Im ready for a HC that can manage a game and not lose it for the team.

    • John

      I feel your pain, but running wouldn’t have guaranteed a win. It could have worked, sure, but with 10 Packers in the box they could very well have forced a 3-and-out. You have to acknowledge that very real risk. Everyone watching that game knew Green Bay was going to score if they got the ball back.

      The Cowboys were forced to choose between passing to try and go up by 12 (which posed risks) and running to milk the clock (which also posed risks). If they run it into a stacked box and lose because they had to punt (pretty much how they lost in Detroit earlier this year), the TV experts would have flayed Garrett for that decision. There’s only one way to look smart – execute.