Rick Gosselin, sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, answered questions about the Cowboys and the NFL in a live chat at 11 a.m. Monday.
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Live chat: Rick Gosselin answers your Cowboys/NFL questions (12/12/2011)
Monday December 12, 2011 9:32 SportsDayDFW
10:58 SportsDayDFW: Welcome to the chat room. I sense another hostile crowd… So let’s get started.
Monday December 12, 2011 10:58 SportsDayDFW 10:58 [Comment From stu k: ]
After playing the whole game without a sack of manning, how do you continue to blitz and leave their horrible cornerbacks without help?
11:02 SportsDayDFW: Here’s the final line of my column after the Arizona game: "If the quarterback stays up, the Cowboys will go down." Eli Manning threw 47 passes without a sack. That’s a formula for success against the Cowboys. Rob Ryan’s entire scheme is based on pressure, the pass rush and blitzing. If his troops can’t get there, there are too many overmatched defensive backs left in one-on-one situations. It doesn’t appear Ryan has a Plan B, so he continues to send pass rushers. Here’s a stat for you — in five of the seven home games for the Cowboys this season, they have one sack or less. And you wonder why this team struggles? It’s an average team that needs an overhaul on defense.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:02 SportsDayDFW 11:02 [Comment From john: ]
the ref’s of this game was the worst i have ever witnessed, but the fact of the matter is the def could not hold of a 12 point lead with 6 min to go. for the remaining games we should take the buccaneers , but with the way the defense has been playing i don’t see us beating the eagles or the giants, what is your take rick, thanks
11:09 SportsDayDFW: Seems to me that every team that loses in the NFL wants to put some part of the blame on the officiating. The bottom line is the Cowboys have been a high penalty team for some time now. They have been penalized at least 100 times in six of the last seven seasons — and were flagged 99 times in the one year they didn’t hit the century mark. High penalty teams don’t get the benefit of doubt from the officials. So you see the Cowboys getting 8-10 penalties every week. In the meantime, teams like the Patriots and Saints get penalized 4-6 times every week. You have to earn the respect of the officials to get calls and the benefit of doubt. They Cowboys have not done that. There needs to be a culture change at Valley Ranch. Players need to be held accountable for penalties, especially the pre-snap flags.
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Monday December 12, 2011 11:09 SportsDayDFW 11:09 [Comment From john: ]
in 2012 need to upgrade the defensive line and the secondary. at best we are an average defensive team. the secondary will not hold up against the eagles and giants. this will put our average team out of the playoffs
11:13 SportsDayDFW: You’re correct — this is an average football team. Even if the Cowboys somehow managed to win the division or claim a playoff berth, this is a mediocre team. I wrote in August this would be a rebuilding season — the first, obviously, of what may be two or three. The Cowboys took a necessary step toward getting younger this season and also rebuilt the offensive line. Next season, the defense needs to be overhauled. The Cowboys could probably use two linemen, two linebackers, two corners and at least one safety. That’s a lot on the plate of general manager Jerry Jones, so he’ll probably need a third year to complete the rebuilding process. But by then Romo will be 33 and finding the next quarterback will be a priority.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:13 SportsDayDFW 11:14 [Comment From Joe: ]
The offense actually played very well. The defense, though… Ryan’s a good coach, isn’t he? We recorded no sacks; Ware had two off-sides penalties… is that coaching? Romo’s pass didn’t lose the game did it? We were ahead at that point. I think it goes deeper than the players’ themselves.
11:19 SportsDayDFW: Any time Tony Romo throws four touchdown passes and doesn’t commit a single turnover you should win the game. He built a 12-point lead with 5:54 remaining. He then put the Cowboys in position for the winning field goal with a 51-yard drive in the final 60 seconds. And Dan Bailey did kick that game winner — just as he did last week against Arizona. But each time a timeout cost the Cowboys a victory. This time Tom Coughlin called it. You can blame Romo for this loss, but you’d be missing the mark. This one is all on a defense that couldn’t sack the quarterback and couldn’t hold a lead.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:19 SportsDayDFW 11:19 [Comment From guest: ]
Do you think the Cowboys should have waited for Ray Horton and go after him for our DC?
11:23 SportsDayDFW: The Cowboys bought into the magic of the Ryan name. The bottom line on Rob — in his seven years as an NFL coordinator, he has fielded only one Top 10 defense. He has never ranked higher than 22nd in the other six seasons. The Cowboys bought into the premise that Ryan would bring an exciting and aggressive defensive scheme to Dallas. At times it has been exciting and aggressive. But it just hasn’t been successful. When you blow three double-digit leads at home in the fourth quarter of games, you’re not getting the bang you expected for your buck on defense.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:23 SportsDayDFW 11:23 [Comment From wizard: ]
Why didn’t the Cowpokes cut Ball and sing two more in the secondary this year when it hurt them last year
11:27 SportsDayDFW: This is an average secondary that looks below average when the pass rush can’t get to the quarterback. That’s the case with any defense. Your coverage is only as good as your pass rush. Right now the Cowboys can’t get to the quarterback and the defensive backs all look like Double-A players. These guys aren’t headed to the Pro Bowl nor should they be — but they aren’t as bad as the lack of a pass rush is making them look. They are average players. There needs to be an overhaul back there. But it’s too late to save this season.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:27 SportsDayDFW 11:27 [Comment From DJames: ]
Time and again, the O can’t get a first down to close a game and more importantly keep that mistake prone D off the field. This group just doesn’t seem to have the mental toughness and discipline and seemingly has regressed to pre-Garrett. Coaching or Personnel?
11:31 SportsDayDFW: Both. I’ve said a number of times in the pages of SportsDay and on these chats that Jason Garrett is still learning how to be a head coach. He is making mistakes and will continue to make mistakes until he has enough experience built up where decisions become automatic. He never called the shots at any level — high school, college or pro — before Jerry Jones promoted him. It was a gamble and Jones obviously still thinks Garrett can make it work. Upgrading the roster would speed up the process. Garrett inherited a 1-7 team that got its head coach fired. Much work needed to be done to fix this mess. There is still plenty of work to be done personnel-wise — and plenty of lessons for Garrett to learn.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:31 SportsDayDFW 11:32 [Comment From Wade: ]
Why hasn’t Garrett been fired yet?
11:39 SportsDayDFW: You can’t keep firing coaches every year hoping to one season get it right. Jones knew he was hiring an inexperienced head coach and had to realize it would take time for Garrett to learn the how to be a head coach. I still believe Garrett is bright enough and will figure it out. Continuity wins in this league. You ride out the highs and lows in building a consistent program. Since winning his last Super Bowl 16 years ago, Jones has gone through six coaches. Dan Snyder has also gone through six coaches in these last 16 years at Washington. And you wonder why these teams don’t win? The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three coaches since 1969. They have won a record six Lombardi Trophies in that time. You can’t keep blaming the coaches for failure. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and figure it out.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:39 SportsDayDFW 11:39 [Comment From Bob: ]
will the cowboys win another game
11:41 SportsDayDFW: Yes. Tampa Bay has a seven-game losing streak and is coming apart at the seams. Jacksonville ripped the Buccaneers apart last week. I wont go out on a limb and say they will beat either Philadelphia or New York, though. They are 0-2 against them and have gotten outcoached each game.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:41 SportsDayDFW 11:41 [Comment From JoeTx: ]
Why not rush 3 and drop 8?
11:45 SportsDayDFW: Give a great quarterback time and he will chew you up. The idea of a pass rush is to force a quarterback out of his rhythm, make him throw the ball before he wants to throw it. That leads to confusion, mistakes, turnovers, interceptions. If you let a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and, yes, even Eli Manning stand back in the pocket and throw the ball when he’s comfortable throwing it, you’ll see 50 points on the scoreboard. You have to rush the quarterback, hit the quarterback and take him out of his comfort zone. You can’t do that with a three-man rush. Rob Ryan has to figure out some way to free DeMarcus Ware and create winnable matchups in the pass rush. Right now, Ware is the only hope for salvaging this season. You’ve got the best pass rusher in the NFL — find a way to make him effective.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:45 SportsDayDFW 11:45 [Comment From Guest: ]
Do you see the secondary being revamped via free agency or entirely via draft?
11:48 SportsDayDFW: I liked what Houston did last season in free agency, bringing in second-tier free agents Jonathan Joseph and Daniel Manning. Both provided major upgrades at reasonable money. They helped the Texans jump from 30th to second in the NFL in defense, 32nd to third in the NFL in pass defense. But the key word is "reasonable" money. The Eagles stole all the headlines when they signed Nnamdi Asomugha, but the Texans got better bargains. That said, the Cowboys still need to focus in this draft on the secondary. That’s where the best deals can be struck.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:48 SportsDayDFW 11:48 [Comment From Wasi: ]
Even the most supportive fans are down on our defense after last night. You being an insider, do you believe this team makes the playoff?
11:52 SportsDayDFW: No. The Cowboys would have to win in New York in the season finale. Understand this — the Cowboys brought a healthy team to the home field last night to play the Giants. Their best wide receiver (Miles Austin) and lead blocker in the running game (Tony Fiammetta) were back. The Giants were on the road and they were not healthy — two starting offensive linemen were missing, as was one of their Pro Bowl pass rushers (Osi Umenyiora). The Cowboys still couldn’t get to Manning nor could they keep the New York pass rush off their own quarterback. The deck was stacked against the Giants today and they won. The deck will be stacked in their favor for the rematch.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:52 SportsDayDFW 11:52 [Comment From Clarence: ]
You said " You have to earn the benefit to get the calls" Are you saying refs favor certain teams, If so, would that not be cheating? Calls should be based on what is seen and not who’s playing.
11:55 SportsDayDFW: Good teams tend to get calls. The bad teams don’t. The Cowboys were the beneficiaries when they were winning Super Bowls. They were under 100 penalties in all three seasons they won Lombardi Trophies. Just like in baseball, the good and great pitchers get the benefit of calls from umpires on pitches on the black. In basketball, a Kobe Bryant and LeBron James get favorable calls. That’s just the way it is. If you’re a high penalty team in football, refs look a little harder for the penalties and tend to find them. If you don’t believe me, ask the Oakland Raiders.
Monday December 12, 2011 11:55 SportsDayDFW 11:56 [Comment From Kyle: ]
Todd Haley was fired in Kansas City. Do you think the Cowboys might pick him up to call plays on the offense? Was he wrongly fired?
12:00 SportsDayDFW: Like I mentioned above, firing the coach isn’t always the answer. The Chiefs fired Haley 12 games after winning an AFC West title. Haley lost his best offensive player (Jamaal Charles) and defensive player (Eric Berry) in the opening month of the season, then lost his starting quarterback (Matt Cassel) at midseason. He was the same coach that won 10 games a year ago — but he was asked to win this season with far lesser plays. I wrote last week that, given the hand he was dealt this fall, I thought Haley did a better job coaching the Chiefs to five wins this season than 10 wins a year ago. In my opinion, his firing was unfair.
Monday December 12, 2011 12:00 SportsDayDFW 12:00 SportsDayDFW: That’ll be it for today, folks, I have to go tape a SportsDay on Air show. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.
Courtesy: Dallas Morning News | Fox Sports
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