Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan isn’t talking to the media after games this season, so we’ll have to wait until Friday afternoon to ask this question:
What the heck was up with that soft game plan against the Seahawks?
This was a disgrace to the blitz-happy Ryan family name. Give credit to Seattle’s Russell Wilson for playing a poised, mistake-free game, but the Cowboys barely tried to rattle the vertically challenge rookie quarterback with blitzes.
Ryan called only six blitzes on Wilson’s 25 drop backs. And this came after Wilson went 6-of-18 for 47 yards and was sacked three times against five-plus-man pressure in a Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, according to numbers crunched by ESPN Stats & Information.
It’s not like Wilson burned the Cowboys when they blitzed. He was 3-of-5 for only 21 yards and was sacked once.
Wilson, who had plenty of time in the pocket against the Cowboys’ three- and four-man rushes, completed 12 of 15 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown when Dallas didn’t blitz. He also scrambled three times for 26 yards and was sacked once, in garbage time.
The Seahawks averaged 7.6 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against regular pressure. Seattle averaged 2.8 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against the blitz. But the Cowboys blitzed less than a quarter of his drop backs?!
The Cowboys’ personnel makes the lack of aggressiveness by Ryan even more puzzling.
The Cowboys’ sorry cornerbacks forced Ryan to play soft too often last season. That’s no longer the case after Jerry Jones invested $50 million in Brandon Carr and a first-round pick in Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys should have felt more than comfortable leaving their corners alone against mediocre receivers like Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards and Golden Tate.
And the Seahawks played most of the game with a backup left tackle and right guard. Maybe Ryan figured that Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware would wreak havoc against Frank Omiyale, a tackle so bad the Bears got rid of him. Ware’s lack of impact was one of the biggest mysteries of the afternoon.
But why not see if Seattle’s patchwork offensive line could handle Ryan’s creative blitz schemes? Why not force a munchkin rookie quarterback to make decisions under duress?
We’ll try to get answers … Friday.
Until then, watch it again on NFL Game Rewind:
Jason Garrett answers questions from the Dallas media about the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 loss in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. The topics below, and others, were addressed.
Felix Jones won’t be benched, but Jason Garrett considering alternatives
IRVING — Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the fumble on the opening kickoff return against Seattle is the type of play that makes him consider other options.
Felix Jones lost the ball, and the Seahawks recovered and kicked a field goal as they built a 10-0 lead five minutes into the game.
"When you make a play like that, you look hard again at that and what the alternatives are," Garrett said Monday at Valley Ranch.
"… We have a few different guys working at that, and we’ll evaluate that again this week."
Jones averaged 21.8 yards on five returns against Seattle, but he started two returns deep in the end zone and got past the 20-yard line only once. He has been the only returner this season. Dwayne Harris and Phillip Tanner are also back to return on kickoffs.
Garrett said Jones’ explosiveness hasn’t shown, perhaps because he missed the off-season with a shoulder injury, but that ball security is most important.
"We have to improve in that area obviously, and then hopefully we’ll continue to improve, both our returner and how we’re blocking things to get him better opportunities," Garrett said.
There was no thought about benching Jones.
"He was going to go back out there the next time, and we had to make sure that he was ready to go. And he returned the ball better as he got more opportunities in the game and certainly protected it better," Garrett said. "But I think the situations vary. Sometimes you say, ‘Hey, you’ve had enough opportunities, let’s put the next guy in,’ and other times you believe in the guy because of his body of work and you give him another chance to do it."
The Cowboys might have to start backups Danny McCray and Mana Silva at safety against Tampa Bay, and they could use cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Mario Butler for extra help.
Starters Barry Church (thigh bruise) and Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) are questionable after getting hurt against Seattle, although Church said he will be able to play Sunday.
"He doesn’t have a lot of experience playing true safety, but he is a good athlete and he’s got a good instinct and feel for playing the game," Jason Garrett said of Jenkins. "We will have to make that evaluation and see how he stacks up against the other guys in normal down-and-distance situations as well as the third-down coverage situation."
Dez Bryant was inconsistent getting free against Seattle’s physical press coverage, Jason Garrett said.
"I thought at times he did a good job. Other times, he didn’t win on enough routes," Garrett said. "But that’s what good press corners do to you. You have to keep fighting and keep battling. Typically, what happens is the game feels a little uncomfortable to you when you play a style of defense like that."
Bryant was limited to three catches for 17 yards. He has seven catches for 102 yards this season, no touchdowns and two drops.
Jason Garrett said it’s difficult to defend a player who has been hit hard like Sean Lee was against Seattle but stay within the rules.
"It’s a tricky situation," he said. "You want to have each other’s backs, but you also have to have poise and composure. It’s really important for us to understand how to handle ourselves at the end of a down after a play like that because you don’t want to compound the mistake. You don’t want to add another 15-yard penalty to that. It’s a tricky situation."
Kenyon Coleman left the facility on crutches with his knee wrapped. Jason Garrett said the defensive end suffered a hyperextension.
Garrett said it was a technique error that led to the punt block. "It was not a real complicated look. We just got beat on the edge," he said.
Courtesy: Carlos Mendez | Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks about the performance of his team and also speaks of the Seattle Seahawks.
JERRY JONES: Seahawks imposed their will, showed how to use home field
Jerry Jones wanted to give credit to the Seahawks, and he wanted to make sure he was understood.
“In everything about playing football, they were better than we were,” he said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. “Every aspect of it. So we can call it whatever you want to call it, but they were better than we were, all the way.”
It was plain, simple talk from the Cowboys owner, who usually convolutes his sentences around themselves to get to a basic point.
Sunday, there were no roundabouts.
“They were prepared. They played ready. They played with emotion,” he said of the Seahawks. “We knew they were a good team when we came up here. And they are a good team, especially at home. So we do congratulate them. This is a disappointment for us, an example for us how about how to play with home field.”
Jones said the outcome didn’t surprise him, not after the way the teams played.
“But that doesn’t make it any easier,” he said. “We thought we had an opportunity to win two on the road, which would be a great way to start. But they had other ideas. They imposed their will on us today. And we’ve just got to look at that and learn form that, and that’s what the NFL is.”
Jones said the Cowboys have to be good enough to overcome an early deficit, no matter how it happened. He said not getting to 2-0 is a frustration.
“We’ve got to be good enough to come in situations like this and win to get where we’re going, and we weren’t today,” he said. “We’ve got to be good enough to play a team like this at home and gain on it, to create a win that we can build on. That’s what we are. We didn’t get it done today. And I know everybody in this room’s disappointed. We’ve got to be good enough to win a game like this, and we weren’t today. But they had everything to say about it.”
RELATED: Felix Jones says kickoff fumble caused by helmet hit
Felix Jones said the ball got hit by a helmet when he fumbled on the opening kickoff.
“Man, he made a great play,” Jones said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. Michael Robinson was credited with causing the fumble, which led to a field goal for the Seahawks and a 3-0 lead.
“The ball, he hit right on the ball, his head, helmet,” Jones said. “Ball flew out. He made a great tackle. That’s something I’ve got to work on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Jones continued to return kickoffs. He took only one touchback. Twice he returned kicks from 8 yards deep.
“You want to be a playmaker,” he said. “You want to go out there and do things for your team and help your team out and put them in a good position. That’s what we’re doing on special teams. We’ve got to continue to do that and get better.”
Jerry Jones hasn’t lost confidence in Felix.
“I don’t think that I’m worried about him fumbling the ball. At all,” the Cowboys owner said. “We need to get him some holes. We need to get some blocking for him up there as well.”
Felix, who averaged 21.8 yards on five returns Sunday and 20.3 yards on three returns against the Giants, said he felt bad after the play.
“You feel bad when you put the team in a bad position,” he said. “I did that. So just got to make up for it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
He said his own confidence is up, also.
“Feel good. Just got to make sure I stay on top of my game and keep getting better every week,” he said.