IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant’s rant received the most attention, but he wasn’t the only high-profile Cowboy to initiate an animated conversation with an official Sunday night.
Tony Romo got involved in the second round of Bryant’s complaint session after a heavy-contact incompletion in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Jason Witten jogged out to the middle of the field during a commercial break to plead his case after a third-down incompletion in the third quarter.
Coach Jason Garrett doesn’t mind his players discussing such plays with officials, to a certain extent.
“We don’t want our players officiating the game,” Garrett said. “Having said that, communicating with officials I don’t think is a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t get to the point of distraction.”
The Cowboys had cases on both non-calls. Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha got away with grabbing Bryant’s arm as the ball was in the air during the garbage-time third-and-goal play. Bryant demonstrated the motion in exaggerated fashion to the official standing a few yards away after the play and went back for more discussion after a sack the following play, when Romo halted his discussion with the official to hold back Bryant. Witten’s complaint came after Joselio Hanson got away with a more subtle grab in the middle of the field.
“I think that’s a natural reaction,” Garrett said of complaining to officials after such plays. “We don’t want to take that away from our players, but at the same time, we want them to continue to focus on the task at hand and worry about their job.”
THE VILLAGE IS BURNING: DMN columnist Rick Gosselin chats with readers after the Cowboys vs Eagles game
Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin chatted with readers Monday in the aftermath of the Cowboys-Eagles game to talk about a number of Cowboys-related items. Here are some highlights from the chat:
QUESTION: How is it that I can seemingly call exactly what they are going to do on offense about 70% of the time? Am I a football genius or are they truly that predictable?
Rick Gosselin: Until Dez Bryant learns how to run routes, this will be predictable offense. Hand it to Murray, throw short crossing routes to Jason Witten and work the intermediate areas with Miles Austin. Bryant is the wild card. He can make plays short, medium and long. But until he develops some discipline in his route running, Romo isn’t going to trust him. Bryant also better figure out how to beat press coverage by a defensive back. Nnamdi Asomugha schooled Bryant last night. When Bryant doesn’t have his way with defensive backs, he gets frustrated. Asomugha was so deep into Bryant’s head last night he became a non-factor.
QUESTION: Did the eagles figure out their problems and become a dominant team or was that more of an example of Dallas laying an egg against a 2-4 team?
Rick Gosselin: All of the above. The Eagles were the most talented team in the NFC East on opening day, and they remain the most talented team today. I believed the Eagles would have their struggles early and they might lose a few games as all the new pieces were attempting to fit together. I never expected them to lose four of their first six, though. Still, they have nine new starters, a new defensive coordinator and two new line coaches, one on offense and one on defense and it was going to take time for all of them to mesh. It appears the entire package came together last night and you saw what a juggernaut the Eagles could be. Still, the Cowboys played timid. Had they won, they would have all but ended Philadelphia’s season. The Eagles would have had to go 8-1 the rest of the way to win the division. With the rugged schedule the Giants face, I think the Eagles may have put themselves in a position to win the division last night. The Cowboys could have done the same with a victory. The Eagles succeeded, the Cowboys failed.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins said he will probably be out at least three games with a hamstring injury that sidelined him against the Eagles. It’s the continuation of injury-plagued year for Jenkins, who suffered a stinger and hyperextended knee before the season before injuring a shoulder in the season opener against the Jets. He had not been forced to miss any games until now.
Nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick will start in his place opposite Terence Newman. Scandrick started for Newman in the season opener.
Lee dislocated his left wrist against the Eagles but will try to play with it after consulting with Dr. Bo Frederick, a hand and wrist specialist, in Dallas on Monday. A final determination on his status for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks has yet to be determined. But if he plays, he will play with cast on his wrist.
“Yeah,” responded Lee when asked if he will try to play with the cast. “We’ll see. I don’t know for sure what the plan is this week, but I’m definitely going to try to see and work with the doctors and just see how it heals and go from there.”
Lee said the there certain issues they trying to figure out with the injury and will see how it heals over the next week or so. There is a chance it could require surgery, which would end his season.
“Right now that’s a good deal,” Lee said of not having surgery. “Hopefully it will stay that way.”
Lee is an important part of the Cowboys defense, and he would be missed if he was sidelined for any significant amount of team. He leads the team in tackles, interceptions, fumble recoveries and pass deflections.
Jay Ratliff left the game late in the fourth quarter but is Ok. He went to the sidelines and was looked at by the trainers. He played numerous snaps on Sunday night with the Cowboys keeping Josh Brent inactive and with Sean Lissemore being used in his place it meant a heavy load for Ratliff.
Mat McBriar has some nerve issues in his left foot (non-kicking) which prevents him from planting. Dan Bailey replaced him and Chris Jones was signed to the practice roster on Friday as a precaution.
Veterans Bradie James and Keith Brooking would likely start at inside linebacker if Sean Lee misses any time with his dislocated left wrist. But rookie Bruce Carter also would like to get in the mix there after making his season debut against the Eagles.
Carter, a second-round pick, missed the first six games of the season on the non-football injury list because of a college knee injury. He played only special teams against the Eagles.
“It felt good,” Carter said. “It was a lot of emotions running around. I got my first snaps. It felt good to run down on kickoffs. I can’t wait to get out there in the regular defense and show everybody what I can do.”
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was impressed with Carter’s work on special teams. Carter had a tackle on special teams, stopping Jeremy Maclin on a punt return on the final play of the second quarter, limiting Maclin to 7 yards.
“Bruce did a nice job. He really did,” Garrett said. “He’s gotten himself acclimated to playing football in a short period of time, has not had a lot of practices, but you can tell he’s a pretty natural, instinctive football player — a lot of what we saw of him on tape, coming out of school. He made a big tackle in the game on the punt coverage team. Maclin kind of broke out into the open, and Bruce made a nice angle tackle to get him down, really to prevent possibly a big return. He certainly has explosiveness, speed and quickness, and it looks like he’s getting acclimated to play football. The more he’s able to do, the more we’ll be able to give him.”
The Dallas Cowboys entered Sunday’s game ranked seventh in total defense, including first against the run. They left it ranked ninth in total defense, including fourth against the run, not including results from the Monday night game.
The Philadelphia Eagles have given the Cowboys’ future opponents some ideas on how to move the ball against Ryan’s defense. The only problem is: The Seahawks, Bills, Redskins, Dolphins, Cardinals, Giants and Bucs don’t have Michael Vick as their quarterback.
Vick threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 50 yards.
“I think it is a copycat league, so I think teams are always looking at what’s been successful against a particular team,” Garrett said. “But I do think Philly’s talent is unique. The quarterback is a unique player. I think he’s someone who has really demonstrated that he can throw from the pocket, and he obviously can make a ton of plays by moving around and making plays with his feet, not only extending plays but also running and making plays. So he’s someone who always kind of gets your attention. I think because he has a lot of the defense’s attention, it opens up a lot of opportunities for other people – runners and receivers.
“Having said that, certainly people are going to watch this tape and try to do some of the things they did.”
Safety Abe Elam said he expects teams to try to attack the Dallas Cowboys the same way the Philadelphia Eagles did Sunday.
“This is a copy-cat league,” Elam said. “They will try to do the same thing. That’s why we make corrections and improve.”
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan shouldered the blame for the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Cowboys said Monday they all share responsibility for the 34-7 loss.
“Rob felt the way all of us felt,” Dallas Cowboys safety Abe Elam said. “We didn’t want to lose that game. It was a divisional game, a game we wanted to win. To lose to them the way we did, it was painful. “Everybody in that locker room felt we let each other down. It was a big game we wanted to come away with a victory, and we didn’t.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he wouldn’t have expected Ryan to say anything else after the loss. It was the stand-up thing to do, Garrett said.
“I think one of the things we talk about as an organization is having the right kind of people in your organization, as coaches and players and everybody involved with our football operation,” Garrett said. “When you lose a game, I think there are two ways to go. You can say that it’s somebody else’s fault, or you take responsibility/accountability for what your job is within that ball game. I think we have a lot of guys who want to take responsibility and be accountable for what they did or didn’t do in the game. Rob is certainly one of them. I think we have a number of players who have the same approach, a number of really good players have said the same kind of thing to me today, and I certainly feel that way as a coach. I think everybody on our coaching staff feels that way and I think all of our players feel that way, that we need to do our jobs better to help us not have games like that.”