Jerry Jones was on a warpath following the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the New England Patriots — a winnable game underscored by inexplicably shoddy coaching.
“With the makeup of this team, I shouldn’t be this frustrated,” Jones said after the 13-9 defeat, implying a Super Bowl-caliber roster is being undone by those in charge of it.
That was the most benign comment an extremely vexed Jones offered in the wake of Dallas dropping to 6-5, blowing a golden opportunity to establish themselves as a bonafide championship contender.
On a rainy and chilly afternoon in Foxboro, where the Cowboys’ defense held Tom Brady in check (17/37, 190 yards, TD), enough to score a season-defining upset, there was one coaching mistake after another.
Head man Jason Garrett is a predictable culprit, and those pushing for his ouster received added ammunition via Garrett’s mind-numbing decision to kick a field goal midway through the fourth quarter, trailing by seven, on a 4th-and-7 from New England’s 11.
“This is very frustrating,” Jones said, per The Athletic. “It’s frustrating just to be reminded that some of the fundamentals of football and coaching were what beat us out there today.”
But special teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn may have superseded Garrett, in terms of ire, for at least one game. O’Quinn’s unit melted down at the worst moments — plural — as the Cowboys had a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown and repeated breakdowns with their coverage units. The ineptitude was so glaring that FOX analyst Troy Aikman, noted Dallas observer, made continual references to it.
Jones, meanwhile, pulled exactly zero punches.
“To me, special teams is 100 percent coaching,” he said, per The Athletic. “It’s 100 percent coaching. It’s strategy. It’s having players ready…Special teams is nothing but coaching. Special teams is effort. Special teams is savvy. Special teams is thinking.”
“Significant setback for our team. We needed this win,” he said, via USA Today. “We needed a win against an opponent like this.”
“I don’t think there’s a game where a coaching staff couldn’t do better,” he said, per the team’s official website. “I don’t like that we’ve got so many [this year] as I’m standing here tonight.”
“Where my statements go, is when you come into New England on a day like today, against this team, and this era, you need to win this to establish what you’re about for a season,” he said, per The Athletic. “You dealt yourself a pretty narrow window to come out of here smiling.”
Smiles were nowhere to be found in the visitor’s locker room despite there being an excess of clapping (from a particular source) on the sidelines.
The Cowboys outgained the Patriots in total yards (321 to 282), averaged more yards per play (5.4 to 4.3), and held the ball longer (30:22 to 29:38). But they were doomed, almost immediately, by those under the headsets rather than those on the field.
Same old, same old.
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NFC East Rival ‘Legitimate Landing Spot’ for Jason Garrett
This may well be Jason Garrett’s last season with Dallas, but he could see the Cowboys again in 2020. Twice. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Garrett is a “real and legitimate” suitor for the New York Giants, who’ve eyed the 53-year-old for the better part of the decade.
The interest apparently is mutual, as New York is Garrett’s “preferred destination” if the lame-duck head man doesn’t receive a new contract from the Cowboys.
“The job status of Jason Garrett is always a conversation in Dallas,” Rapoport said. “Meanwhile, the Giants are struggling again under coach Pat Shurmur in his second year. So let’s fast forward a little bit: What if the Giants move on from Shurmur and what if the Cowboys and Jason Garrett part ways? My understanding is the Giants have emerged as a real and legitimate potential landing spot for Garrett. First of all, it is his preferred destination if he can’t stick with the Cowboys. And second, back in 2014, the Giants were trying to decide should they fire Tom Coughlin. My understanding is they would have fired Coughlin if they could get Jason Garrett. Instead, he signed an extension and the Giants held onto Coughlin. We will keep watching this one.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL