Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said it’s his responsibility to eliminate penalties and that he can threaten jobs, even in the salary cap era.
“Certainly, you have the option of saying, ‘OK, if you continue to get penalized like this, you’re going to be out of the lineup or you’re going to be off the football team,” he said.
The Cowboys committed 13 penalties Sunday, the third time this season they have hit that number.
“Ultimately, it’s on me,” he said. “I have to make sure that we’re not a highly penalized football team, and that’s everything that we do here. It’s my responsibility, and if we’re not doing it right on Sunday afternoon, somehow, someway, I’ve got to make sure we do it right.”
Garrett was asked at his Monday press conference why the message doesn’t sink in.
“Sometimes that happens in coaching,” he said. “You have to try and continue to get that message across and when you convey the values you think are important and the different, whatever it is – techniques, approaches you think are important – and oftentimes, over the course of time, if you say it the right way or get the right guy to do it, those messages eventually sink in.
“I think those are messages about that across our football team, and I know we’ve been talking about the importance of running the football all year long and doing that better and not having minus runs and you’ve heard me stand up here and say that for a couple of weeks now, and yesterday I think was a good example of continuing to be persistent with the message, and it sinks in, and you do it that way regardless of penalties and some other things on our team.”
Garrett said he sees some of the pre-snap penalties in practice, also.
“I don’t see them in practice as much,” he said. “I see them more in the game. Some of the physical penalties you have in regards to maybe a hold late in the down or in Felix’ case, a chop block, you’re not going to have those happen in practice. But the mechanics penalties, I think we do a good job emphasizing those things. We have officials at practice. We try to continue to make that emphasis. We just have to carry it to the game and handle that situation better.”
Editors note: The headline is an exaggeration, the subject is serious. Jason Garrett seems to be getting tired of costly penalties! Who will be first to walk the ‘Yellow (penalty flag) Mile"???
TAKING IT PERSONAL: Kevin Ogletree explains his part in getting back to line of scrimmage and penalties
Kevin Ogletree spoke for himself and Pro Bowl veteran Miles Austin on Monday about not getting back to the line of scrimmage in time to help the Cowboys try to run another play and get closer for a game-winning field goal try.
“That’s a personal mistake, for sure,” he said. “You want to, at that stage in the game, it’s very critical to at least get aligned to run a play, since the plays are so important. We just got to get that mentality that everything is happening fast, and it’s going to happen fluid.”
Ogletree and Austin were criticized for not hustling back to the line after Dez Bryant’s catch to the 34-yard line with 20 seconds to play. The Cowboys wanted to spike the ball to stop the clock and run another play, but instead used their last timeout to stop the clock at six seconds and try the field goal.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett blamed himself for a play call that took the wideouts so far down the field, but Ogletree accepted blame. Austin declined comment to reporters Monday at Valley Ranch.
“I know that’s my job to get there and get to the line,” he said. “I know Miles and I both feel bad about what happened, because we know the outcome. We know we missed the field goal and how close that was and how precious yardage was at the end of the day. So getting back to the line of scrimmage, maybe getting the play called, I think this will all be great for us going forward in learning a lesson.”
Ogletree also accepted blame for the illegal shift penalties. He was called for three (one declined) against the Ravens.
“I think the referees are doing an awesome job just calling things how they see it,” he said. “When a guy is not set or in a shift or a motion, someone before you moves, everyone has to be set. No one can be moving. So if a guy is moving a couple of fingers, hasn’t put every bit of pressure on his fingers on the line, he’s technically not set, so I can’t move until that happens. I have to do a better job at taking a look at that game plan and really just executing.”
Ogletree said the Cowboys coaches spend “numerous” hours teaching alignments and responsibilities.
“I think we’re more than anything letting our teammates down,” he said. “Of course, you let your coaches down, and everyone’s a part of this deal when you don’t have that success you want. I think I said this a second ago, but I really think what happened yesterday is going to be helpful going forward. Just because I know what type of guys we have. I know that feeling I have right now, it’s going to be good for us.”
BALTIMORE — Safety Gerald Sensabaugh sat in his locker putting on his socks and said to himself, "Man, we are so close."
That is what the Dallas Cowboys do so very well — close.
They do so in the most stupefying, maddening fashion that can be authored.
Not too far from the same neighborhood where one of the world’s most celebrated authors of fiction — Mr. Edgar Allen Poe — once penned his brilliance, the Cowboys once again created their own version of real-time hell.
The author of the Ravens’ 31-29 win against the Cowboys? Start with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
The Dallas Cowboys amassed 481 total yards and did not win the game. That is odd.
The Cowboys ran for 227 yards and did not win the game. That is hard.
The Cowboys had the ball at their own 46-yard line with 32 seconds remaining, one timeout, and ran but two offensive plays before settling for a 51-yard field goal attempt. That is inexcusable.
The Ravens defeated the Cowboys when they were clearly not the better team but managed to win because they simply were not the dumber team.
To show how the Cowboys played on Sunday, their smartest player was Dez Bryant. (In fairness to Dez, other than having to miss one drive because he was receiving an IV for dehydration, he played arguably the best game of his career.)
"What do you want? I believe in my guys," Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick said. "It’s not an exact science. It’s football. It’s not mathematics."
Exactly. No one expects the Dallas Cowboys to be NASA.
The Cowboys are coached by a Princeton grad, but his team plays sometimes as if it barely finished the seventh grade. As much as his Ivy League education should be a reflection of his own intellect, the way his team plays says something about Jason Garrett. Which is why it does not add up.
The Cowboys had 13 penalties for 82 yards on Sunday, one turnover, allowed a special teams touchdown, and made a series of self-inflicted wounds in the red zone that killed or hurt scoring chances.
"Three of the five games we’ve had a lot of penalties," Garrett said. "The officials were certainly involved in this game and you have to overcome that stuff."
And the clock management after the Cowboys recovered the onside kick with 32 seconds to play suggests nothing was learned from the nightmare in Arizona last season.
Garrett did the same thing at San Francisco last year — played for a long field goal — and got away with it when Dan Bailey nailed a long kick to send into overtime a game the Cowboys eventually won.
But he got burned on it in Arizona last season, and a little bit against the Giants in Arlington last December.
You cannot bank on making a 51-yard field goal. You always get closer.
"I felt like I could knock it through from there," Bailey said of his potential game-winning kick that sailed wide left with two seconds remaining.
In the Cowboys’ locker room after the game, at least two players were overheard talking about that 2011 loss in Arizona.
Coach Process looks smart. He acts smart. He is organized. His rhetoric sounds sharp, and yet his team plays the opposite.
The Cowboys under Garrett sometimes play not too much different than they did under Uncle Wade Phillips.
I asked Garrett if he thought he has a smart team. His response was some long-winded verbiage about pre-snap penalties, etc.
Garrett is not going to pull a Bill Callahan, who is on his staff now, and go on some long-winded diatribe about being the "dumbest team in America".
If effort is not the problem, and the coaches and front office people insist this is not a talent issue, then IQ is having its say, too.
The environment, as well as the Ravens, had a role in why the Cowboys did what they did. Perhaps the players are taking the cue from their leader and are trying to do too much.
Unlike the Cowboys’ losses against the Seahawks and Bears, which were blowouts, they were competitive throughout in Baltimore. They gave themselves a chance.
On the road that’s all you can ask.
"It wasn’t a perfect game, but we showed fight," tight end Jason Witten said. "You don’t walk away from this saying, ‘Hey, we played a good team close.’ We have to look at the tape and be better."
Because we have not heard that before.
The Cowboys should have won this game, and they know it.
"We should have had this," Bryant said.
Instead, the Cowboys do what they do so well — they get close.
Courtesy: Mac Engel | Ft Worth Star-Telegram
BALTIMORE — Whatever you do, don’t do that. Whatever the plan, it couldn’t have been that, could it?
Excuse both the rant, and the confusion, but 20 seconds, 20 precious seconds, were wasted by the Dallas Cowboys at the end of Sunday’s game, leading to, if nothing else, a flashback to the horror show of clock mismanagement in Arizona last season.
That one was Jason Garrett’s worst 2011 head coaching moment, and the lack of accountability in the aftermath still hangs over him.
Maybe not so much, which still doesn’t excuse what appeared to be a blunder. In this one, however, at least quarterback Tony Romo and Garrett had the same story, the same explanation on why those 20 precious seconds were left blowing in the Maryland wind.
And no, it wasn’t the "plan," both said.
As in Arizona, however, the Cowboys ended up losing a winnable game, falling 31-29 to the Ravens, and the lament of "oh-so-close" is becoming more hollow the more the Cowboys blow these kind of heartaches.
Always dependable Dan Bailey was a tad wide left on a 51-yard field goal in the final seconds, allowing the Ravens to escape.
But with a little less distance to cover with his foot, or with a better placement of the ball — as in between the hash marks — would the outcome have been different for Bailey?
Count that as one of a hundred coulda, shoulda, woulda questions the Cowboys had to answer in the aftermath.
First of all, they finally got a call, maybe a gift call, in the final minutes from an officiating crew that made the replacement boys look more acceptable with every yellow hanky that fell.
After a pass interference flag, the Cowboys had the ball at the Ravens’ 34-yard line with 26 seconds left and one timeout.
That has to be two-play territory, right? Heck yes, it’s right.
The Cowboys ran one play. Then came the failed kick.
What happened after a quick Romo inside throw to Dez Bryant netted only a yard? At that point the clock was running with 20 seconds left when Dez was taken down.
"What we were trying to do there is what we talked about before the play," Garrett said. "Tony was trying to get them on the ball as quickly as possible [after the Dez catch] knowing we had one [timeout] in our pocket.
"It just took too long for everyone to get unpiled, so it got down into single digits, so we said take it down to four seconds and bang the timeout."
Obviously, it’s up to the Cowboys to get "unpiled." The unpiling was not quick enough. But was there also clock panic? It sure looked like it.
Romo: "With the time left, we didn’t think it was in our best interest to run another play. We had guys who needed to get off the pile and receivers who needed to come to the huddle. There just wasn’t enough time."
But was there enough to time to get a snap off, with Romo diving forward to the middle of the hash marks, then get the timeout? It appeared to be the case, but Bailey wanted no such excuse after the game.
"Being on the hash mark makes no difference," he said. "My job is to make the kick. If the hold is on the hash, I’ve got to still make the kick. If you’re always hoping for the middle of the field, you aren’t going to be kicking very long."
But while Bailey blew off the advantage of kicking from the middle of the field, his long attempt was extremely tricky due to the windy conditions. The wind was swirling inside the bowl, and although not necessarily against him, there was a crosswind involved. He had plenty of foot on the kick, just not between the uprights.
Garrett’s boss, Jerry Jones, backed the decision to let 20 seconds escape at the end of the game. "I wanted the kick right there rather than take the risk of attempting to get more yards," said the owner-GM.
But even as Jerry admitted, it was a "sickening" kind of loss.
The Cowboys’ offensive line totally manhandled a once proud Ravens’ defense, paving the way for 227 yards rushing, the most ever allowed by this defense. And much of the pounding was done by, yes, Felix Jones (he lives, he lives), because of a foot injury to DeMarco Murray that took him out for the second half.
Garrett went an unheard-of four deep at running back, with third stringer Phillip Tanner heavily involved, and even rookie Lance Dunbar, signed off the street last week, getting a carry that went for 11 yards.
The Cowboys game-planned the run after the Ravens had been plowed under by the Kansas City ground attack a week ago. It worked incredibly well, but not for a win.
And here we go again. Garrett has one dumb football team. The penalties were immense (13 for the Cowboys) and some were very questionable, but heavily penalized, dumb teams normally end up on the short end of the officiating.
Once again, a special teams coverage breakdown also factored into this loss, with Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returning a kickoff untouched for 108 yards and a touchdown, tying an NFL record for the longest runback.
And even with Bryant repeatedly making tough, productive catches, he still muffed the biggest throw of the game. In the final minutes, after Romo made a gutty 120-yard drive (including 40 yards in penalties), the Cowboys had to go for two points and a tie game after the touchdown catch by Dez.
The 2-point throw was right there for Bryant. He flat missed it. The Cowboys, however, recovered the onside kick that led to the missed field goal. The Dez drop, however, low-lighted a frustrating end to a frustrating afternoon and a frustrating loss.
Also frustrating were the 20 seconds the Cowboys will never get back.
BALTIMORE — When Dan Bailey lined up the potential game-winning kick at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t even bother to look.
He had watched his team overcome 13 penalties for 82 yards, including four penalties for 40 yards on an 18-play, 80-yard touchdown drive just minutes earlier to get them within two points.
A 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo to receiver Dez Bryant with 32 seconds to go was followed by a drop by Bryant on the 2-point conversion.
Yet, Jones was undeterred in his faith.
He had watched the Cowboys survive the loss of running back DeMarco Murray and defensive end Sean Lissemore to injuries, and battle at times without cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins, Bryant and running back Felix Jones, who replaced Murray, because of injuries and dehydration. And yet they still battled back from an 11-point deficit.
He had watched them overcome a Romo interception for the sixth consecutive game and an NFL record-tying 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones.
He watched Andre Holmes recover an onside kick with 30 seconds left in the game to set up the Bailey try.
Jones didn’t look because he had no doubt that Bailey would make it, sending the Cowboys to a seemingly season-changing victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Never mind that it was from 51 yards out and in front of 71,384 fans who hadn’t witnessed a home defeat since 2010. And never mind that clock management issues with Romo and coach Jason Garrett prevented the Cowboys from running another play to possibly get a closer kick for Bailey.
Jones’ optimism proved futile when Bailey’s kick was wide left, giving the Ravens a 31-29 victory.
"We had the play with the kicker," Jones said. "We didn’t get it done. That’s putting more than maybe we should on him. But with the wind at our backs and him kicking, I had it counted. I had no doubt he would make it. I literally looked away because I thought he would make the kick."
It was Bailey’s first miss of the season. He was 8 for 8 before that try, including three earlier in the game from 42, 43 and 34 yards.
"It’s not a good feeling," said Bailey, who made four game-winning field goals for the Cowboys as a rookie last season. "Everybody worked their butts off, and it came down to a kick, and it didn’t go in. I don’t know what else to say but it hurts."
The pain of losing was felt throughout the locker room. It was their second consecutive loss as they fell to 2-3 and under .500 for the first time since last season.
The Cowboys left Baltimore (5-1) with something they didn’t have coming into the game: a sense of pride, a sense of self-respect and a feeling of optimism for the rest of the season.
They didn’t have any of that following the 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears before last week’s bye.
"I’m sick about losing this game," Jones said. "I feel good about this team. Even though we’re at 2-3, I feel good about the way we held up, stayed in there, fought. The way we did some things, executed, the way our offensive line played. There are some things I feel good about our future with, future being this year. I feel a lot more encouraged than I did after Chicago."
Dallas rushed for 227 yards, the most ever against the Ravens. Murray had 13 carries for 95 yards before going out. Felix Jones had 18 carries for 92 yards, including a 22 yard touchdown run.
The Cowboys dominated time of possession as than ran 79 plays, which tied for the most in team history, set Nov. 12, 1978 at Green Bay, while holding the ball for more than 40 minutes.
Coach Jason Garrett understands that fixing the penalties remains a huge issue. Dallas, however, had 13 penalties for third time this season, including a number of drive-killing pre-snap penalties that forced the Cowboys to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns on each of Bailey’s first three attempts.
Those plays and the record kickoff return for the touchdown proved to be the difference in the game — despite clock mismanagement after the onside kick.
The Cowboys were unable to get another play to get a little closer for Bailey. The play began with 26 seconds to go and was down to 16 seconds when Bryant caught a pass at the Baltimore 34. The Cowboys had a timeout, but they didn’t get to the line fast enough so Garrett let it run down to attempt the final missed kick with six seconds left.
"We had guys who were trying to get off the pile and receivers needing to come back to the huddle," said Romo, who completed 225 of 36 passes for 261 yards in the game with one touchdown and one interception. "There just wasn’t enough time."
But the Cowboys do have time to save their season and they are encouraged by their ability to fight back on Sunday — as evidenced by their converting a third-and-27 play, thanks to a litany of penalties, before Bryant’s score. A 17-yard pass to Bryant was followed by a 16-yarder to tight end Jason Witten to get the conversion.
"I thought we fought really well through a lot of different adversities," Garrett said. "We battled. We continued to battle. Our team grew a lot in this game. At the end of the day, we have to finish the game. We have to win the game. We can learn from that. But I love how our team battle and believe we can grow from this game."
Bryant was the last player to walk out the postgame locker room and was defiant in saying he and the Cowboys will be better going forward.
"I feel this game has made us 10 times stronger than what we were. I know it’s something we can build off of," said Bryant, who caught a career-high 13 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in addition to the dropped two-pointer.
The Dallas Cowboys may be America’s Team, but the Ravens have the football gods on their side.
Fate plays a part in every season as well as luck, but the Ravens seem to be getting divine intervention. And after the team’s 31-29 win against the Cowboys in Baltimore Sunday, even the Ravens were starting to have some fun with it.
"Before the game I said should I go into prayer in a closet for this one?" asked Ravens left guard Bobbie Williams. "I thought, ‘Why not? Well, why not?’ I think it plays a huge part."
It appears to be working because the Ravens have won four straight games, all going down to the last minute. It would be unfair to say the Ravens haven’t made big plays or had strong individual performances, but some of this stuff is unexplainable.
A week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs fumbled at the Ravens 1-yard line on a quarterback exchange in the third quarter, and that play changed the momentum of the game in the Ravens’ favor.
On Sunday, Dallas receiver Dez Bryant dropped a very catchable two-point conversion pass that would have tied the score in the final seconds. On the previous play, Bryant ran the same pattern and made the same catch for a touchdown.
Even though the Ravens may have lost middle linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb to serious injuries, they’ve been reasonably healthy since the season started.
Here is some more:
In Kansas City last Sunday, the Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe, one of the best receivers in the NFL, had one pass bounce off his chest and another off his helmet, both resulting in interceptions, one that killed a Kansas City drive.
Somebody over at The Castle is living right.
"We got a whole lot of guys who believe," said Williams.
The football gods are watching over the Ravens. They lost an onside kick Sunday with 30 seconds left in the game, but Dallas wasn’t able to get off another play after a 1-yard catch to the Ravens’ 33-yard-line with 26 seconds left and one timeout.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett said couldn’t get another play off because they couldn’t get players to the line of scrimmage fast enough. That should not have happened.
Bailey’s 51-yard field goal went wide left.
"Thank you, Jesus," Ravens running back Ray Rice said. "He may have pushed that thing a little to the left."
The Ravens are the anointed team. They have to be. They gave up 227 rushing yards Sunday and at one time didn’t have Ray Lewis,Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb and Terrell Suggs playing defense. Dallas had the ball for 40 minutes and the Ravens had it for just 20.
And they still won.
They are receiving favor from a higher being.
Courtesy: Mike Preston | Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — No, of course there are no moral victories in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys understand how tough it is to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, and they justifiably felt much better about the way they played in Sunday’s 31-29 loss than they felt two weeks ago after the Bears thumped them. But they’re professional football players, and they believed they could and should have won the game. They rushed for 227 yards, possessed the ball for 40 minutes, recovered an onside kick at the end and set their kicker up with a 51-yard field goal attempt that would have won it. The feeling in their locker room was disappointment.
"I’m sick about losing this game," owner Jerry Jones said. "We made our share of mistakes, but I thought we had a shot to win at the end. With our time of possession, it’s hard to understand how we didn’t win. Everybody is as frustrated as I am."
But there’s a bigger picture here, and it’s one that keeps getting missed as Cowboys fans wail and gnash their teeth about every single loss (and even some of the wins). These Cowboys are a work in progress — a team and a staff and a roster that is piecing itself together and building something it hopes can be sustainable well into the future. You may not want to hear it, and you may not be able to believe it about the Cowboys, but they are in a rebuilding phase right now and much more likely to be a playoff contender in 2013 than this year. So as disappointed as Cowboys fans are about the loss, the penalties, the late-game clock management and everything and everybody else you want to blame, that bigger picture really needs to be the one on which the conversation about the 2012 Cowboys centers.
"We have to win the game, and we didn’t do that," coach Jason Garrett said. "But I loved how our team battled. I was proud of our football team today, and we believe that we can grow from this football game."
A growth opportunity. A learning experience. These are valuable things for the Cowboys at this point in their history, and as Cowboys fans you may just have to accept that. Sure, this is the NFL, and the NFC East required only nine victories to win it last year, so nothing’s impossible. The Cowboys’ schedule gets easier, and if the run game and the offensive line can play the way they played Sunday, they could be much better in the second half of this season. But this season isn’t the central focus of the people running the Cowboys right now. What they’re looking for is growth and improvement, and they saw plenty of it Sunday.
"A lot of this game, you look at and you say, ‘Those are the Cowboys we’re talking about,’" tight end Jason Witten said. "Those are the kinds of players and leaders you want to grow with and build on."
He’s talking about guys like Sean Lee, who remains a terror on defense, and DeMarco Murray, who ran for 91 yards in the first half before a foot injury forced him out of the game. But lots of Cowboys played very well Sunday, including Dez Bryant, who caught 13 passes for 95 yards, and Felix Jones, who rushed for 92 yards in relief of Murray, and Phil Costa and the rest of an offensive line that’s been pulverized all year but on this day looked tough and mean and physical for the first time.
All of it comes with warts, though, and they’re mainly the result of the team and many of its players being unfinished products. Bryant’s big game is likely to be remembered for his drop of the two-point conversion attempt that would have tied it in the final minute. Murray got hurt again, which is a problem with Murray. And the line had its issues, contributing extensively to the fact that the Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 82 yards. The Cowboys made mistakes in this game, and at this point they are not a good enough team to make as many mistakes as they did and win in a place like this, even in a game they dominate physically. They had their shot, they came up short and they have a bunch of film to watch as they keep working to get better.
"I’m all right with anything as long as it’s moving forward," Jerry Jones said. "I’m not for taking any steps back. We knew this was going to be a challenge, but looking at the overall game, as a team, I felt we played well enough to win the ballgame. I’m a lot more encouraged than I was after Chicago."
So before you start asking whether Garrett’s job is in jeopardy (it’s not) or crying about poor late-game clock management or looking at the standings and worrying that the sky is falling, it’s important to step back and see Sunday for what it was — a critical and encouraging step in the development of a team that’s thinking well beyond the borders of just one season. Someday, the Cowboys believe, they’ll win games like this routinely. And if they do, part of the reason will be Sunday’s experience, which showed them how they could.
Courtesy: Dan Graziano | ESPN Dallas