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Hmm. Does anyone get the sense some people are on the hot seat in Dallas?

And they should be, but you never really know in Jerry World.

But after Sunday’s dramatic comeback loss to Green Bay, you had Jason Garrett throwing QB Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan under the bus, Romo for audibling to the final fateful pass and Callahan for the play calling throughout the day.

You’ve got Callahan and WR Dez Bryant refusing to speak to the media afterward.

And you’ve got Jones refusing “to be firm” about his declaration that Jason Garrett would return as head coach … though if you read the PFT post it looks like he actually is saying he is firm on that stance … and why not? Because Jones isn’t holding himself accountable for his team’s failings, it makes sense to not hold Garrett to the same standing.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is this. If Garrett wanted a run called, he could go to Callahan and say “I want a run called.” Or he could go to Romo and say “I want a run called. No frickin’ dumbass audibles, Tony.” He is the head coach. The buck stops with him on game day. (Shoot, I did a Google search to confirm whether play calling was one word or two and the second item that came up was a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headline calling the Cowboys’ play calling “bizarre.”)

But instead, the team has now twice in a row come out of the gates on fire, establishing the run with a healthy dose of DeMarco Murray. And twice the team has then largely abandoned the run, once snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the final minutes and once getting shellacked. And once again, the Cowboys are 7-7, on their way to another .500 season – which is right around where this team has been most seasons since Jones installed himself as general manager.

Here’s the breakdown:

Against Green Bay Murray finished the first quarter with seven carries for 83 yards – a pace for 28 carries and 332 yards. Of course that’s not likely sustainable, but still – when your running back is averaging just under 12 yards per carry KEEP FEEDING HIM THE BALL!!! At least make the defense stop him once or twice before changing to a pass-heavy attack.

Instead, Murray received just 11 carries during the entire final three quarters. It can’t be that he was no longer running effectively. He gained 51 yards on those runs – or still an above average 4.6 yards per rush. He finished with 18 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown.

The Chicago game, in hindsight, was even more egregious. In that Monday night tilt, Murray again had a hot first quarter, finishing with eight carries for 66 yards. Six of those carries came on an opening drive during which he plowed through the inept Bears defense for 52 yards. Romo capped that drive with a two-yard TD pass to Dez Bryant and Dallas actually briefly led the game.

Then, again, inexplicably, the Cowboys got away from the run. This time Murray got just 10 more carries the rest of the game. When he did tote the rock he averaged eight yards per carry. So who the hell knows what the reasoning was for his lack of touches. It couldn’t have been the score – it was still a one score game until Chicago the Bears scored a TD with 10 seconds left in the second quarter to go up 24-14. From there the rout was on.

In fairness, Murray has not been the most durable player during his first three years in the league. Maybe it makes sense to work in a second back for a few carries. And against Chicago, his counterpart Joseph Randle did carry the ball nine times for 53 yards, but most of those carries came after the game was decided.

Yes, this is a passing league and the Cowboys have a lot of weapons on offense who need to see the ball – Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and on and on and on. But guess what. When you are completely controlling a game like Dallas was on the ground Sunday against Green Bay and you continue mixing that in, it’s going to make an effective passing game even more so. When you’re not even mixing in the run to help keep the clock burning throughout the second half, that’s just bad coaching.

Jason Garrett can say whatever he wants in a postgame press conference about Romo changing the play or not rolling with a run play on a pass that ultimately was intercepted, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the last three quarters of a game where the Cowboys had a huge lead throughout that Murray ran the ball just 11 times. It’s inexcusable. It’s confusing. Happening repeatedly, it should be a fireable offense.

But if 2013 goes like 2012 did, it’ll probably be Callahan or defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin who take the fall. Not that they don’t deserve their share of the blame, but Garrett, for some reason, seems to have achieved golden boy status in the eyes of Jones. He must know just the right order in which jones would like his rings kissed or his lenses scrubbed, because it seems he can do no wrong in the eyes of the attention-needy owner.

All this does is continue to make the case for this simple fact: Jerry Jones is not a football man. He’s made laughable personnel mistakes in the draft and free agency ever since appointing himself general manager. He surrounds himself with sycophantic yes men there to feed his ego. And the good players and fans of Dallas will continue to pay with .500 football until he either wises up and puts someone else in charge or until he sells the team.

Cowboys fans deserve better.

4 Responses to Even a day later, Cowboys play calling mystifies

  • Dr Phil:

    I’m a Packers, but they had no business winning that game. More accurately, the Cowboys had no business losing it, as they were well in control. As you say the play calling was mystifying.

    I think Garrett, Callahan and Kiffin all need to go at the end of the season, but more importantly Jones needs to stop acting as GM. He needs to hire a GM and then step back from all personnel decisions and tell the GM to be in charge of the direction of the team from a sporting standpoint. I would bet that this won’t happen.

  • Andy:

    I agree. The whole coaching staff should be turned over. And the blind loyalty to Romo, who has a lot of great moments followed by some ridiculous late game failures, is strange to me.

    But at the end of the day, the only way anything really changes for the better in Dallas, is if Jones goes back to being owner and he finds a real GM to be the GM.

    Otherwise Dallas will remain mediocre and mockable.

  • William:

    Someone asked me what came to mind when I hear Jerry Jones as the GM of the Dallas Cowboys…. I laughed and said Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

  • Rasputin:

    I certainly agree with your last sentence. I can’t defend Garrett after last night. Regarding the larger problem, I’m not sure if the issue is that JJ isn’t a football man, or that he’s spread too thin running his business empire and trying to be GM simultaneously. Or maybe it’s not Jones per se but a flawed dynamic where the owner as GM tends to undermine coaching authority, though the attention seeking Jones doesn’t exactly go out of his way to help avoid that.

    Cowboys fans have been placing hope in Stephen Jones’ increasing role, but the truth is that the jury is very much out on him too. The Cowboys will be in all sorts of salary cap trouble next year, probably unable to retain DT Jason Hatcher, one of the few bright spots this year, and with DeMarcus Ware’s massive contract eating up space. If Ware can’t give us more than a guy like George Selvie, then he’ll have to restructure or the defense will be screwed for a long time. For too long they’ve paid guys too quickly and too much, and I wasn’t happy to see Scandrick get another extension just a few days ago.

    Back to the coaching side, they’ve got to figure out how to reduce these injuries. Their top 4 LBs are out, their first round second year CB is out, and their defensive line was shredded before the season even started. This has been happening every year and it’s getting ridiculous. On the bright side, they may have finally improved the offensive line for the long term. This will be the first off season in a long while where the O-line isn’t the #1 topic of teeth gnashing.

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