IRVING, Texas – Maybe there will come a time this season in which Jason Garrett will be able to roll out the same 46-man roster in back to back weeks.
But it won’t happen this week as we ponder the 46-man roster for Sunday’s game at Carolina.
Chris Jones was on the practice field Friday but did not punt during the portion of practice open to the media. Brian Moorman punted Thursday and was extremely effective in his practice work. So let’s say Moorman fills in this week for Jones.
You can rule out DeMarco Murray (foot) and Sean Lissemore (ankle) and all but rule out Ryan Cook (hamstring), as inactive players.
Where do the final two come from?
Well, if Matt Johnson suffered an injury in Friday’s practice that forced him to leave the session early, he would be another.
The other candidates to dress would be Kyle Wilber, Orie Lemon, Derrick Dockery, Andre Holmes and Cole Beasley.
With Cook out, I can’t imagine Dockery is inactive as the Cowboys are going to great lengths to make sure David Arkin is needed only in an emergency. Mark it down that the Cowboys keep eight offensive linemen active vs. the Panthers.
The Beasley-Holmes debate comes down to special teams and since Beasley doesn’t cover kicks, Holmes gets the nod. Holmes, however, does not add much to the offense and Beasley seems to be giving guys fits in practice. But the Cowboys will go with five wides again and it looks like Beasley is down.
Lemon was inactive last week at Baltimore, but could he get the call over Wilber with Anthony Spencer set to return? The Cowboys would not need a fifth outside linebacker active and Lemon might be the better special teams player.
IRVING, Texas – Give Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan credit for coming up with an interesting way to address creating turnovers.
“Obviously we’re not good at getting turnovers, so we’re going to get takeovers this week,” Ryan said. “We’ve changed the game and I think we’re going to do much better. So we’re getting takeovers and we’re ready to go.”
In the first five games, the Cowboys have generated only four turnovers, including a league-low one interception. Only Indianapolis (three) has created fewer than the Cowboys. New England leads the NFL with 16 takeaways (six interceptions, 10 fumbles).
Dallas’ defense does rank #2 in yards allowed per game, only behind the 49ers. The Cowboys also have the #1 passing defense in the NFL.
Sunday’s foe, Carolina, has turned it over 11 times on the season with five interceptions and two lost fumbles from Cam Newton, two lost fumbles from Joe Adams and one each from Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams.
The Cowboys have emphasized the importance of creating turnovers every possibly way through drills and video. Let’s see if the name change works.
Todd Archer (ESPN – Dallas) contributed to this post
Rob Ryan talks about handling the Panthers offense, and what he expects once his defense is full speed.
I dedicate that one name to all of those who are now doubting (a.) Jason Garrett is the head coaching answer for the local football team, or (b.) who never thought Jason Garrett was the head coaching answer, or (c.) anyone still totally confused about Red J’s clock management malfunction in those final 26 seconds in Baltimore.
But why Mike Holmgren?
Returning to the ABCs, with an additional D:
As of this week, Holmgren has been ordered to hit the NFL street. At the end of the season, he will be out of work in Cleveland, where he’s served as team president.
I’ve been adamant since Garrett took over as interim head coach two years ago that the CowSheep should pray for Jason’s success, because Jerry Jones’ “next” hire at head coach is guaranteed to be a Jerry houseboy.
Garrett is his own man, but he’s also very compatible with Jones, and is respected by Jones, who is notorious for disrespecting the job of the head coach.
You are barking at the moon if you think anyone on the list of potential “name” candidates (Cowher, Gruden, the sudden emergence of Andy Reid after this season, etc.) would last more than five minutes with Jerry. Bobby Petrino? I laughed, although with Jerry, never say never.
I have heard it said since the mid-’90s, when the Green Bay Packers replaced Jones and the Cowboys as the NFC Super Bowl representative, that a strong mutual admiration society exists between these two.
While Holmgren was going to Super Bowls with the Packers, and later in the 2000s with Seattle, I have heard the Valley Ranch voices say if Mike ever became available then there would be the good possibility of a Valley Ranch match.
Since I’ve repeatedly dismissed all those other names, OK, now you can go ahead and stick the name of Mike Holmgren in your hip pocket and sit on it for a while.
Next up, the disclaimers.
Holmgren hasn’t been a head coach since 2008, is 64 years old, and obviously wanted to work forever as the shot-caller for the Browns’ front office. New ownership, however, wanted new direction.
There is nothing to suggest Holmgren wants to return to the sidelines.
Then there’s Garrett.
No matter what happens the remainder of this season, I’d make it 99.9 percent that Jason is back here next season as the head coach.
Actually, I’ll double down on that prediction.
I’d make it 90 percent that Garrett has two more seasons, after this season, to get it right as the head coach.
Granted, with Jerry, it’s risky going 90 percent or above on any predictions, particularly when it comes to his head coach. But Jones, admittedly, always errs on the side of “too long” instead of a quick trigger when it comes to his head coaches.
With Barry Switzer, Jerry concedes he should have retired him two years earlier. With Wade Phillips, Jerry admits he should have retired him a year earlier. Dave Campo stayed at least a year too long. With Bill Parcells, it’s a guess, but I’d say Big Bill wore out his welcome with Jerry at least two years before he departed after four seasons here.
The only quick trigger Jerry has ever had on a head coach was firing Chan Gailey after two seasons, which he also says he regrets.
The lone possibility of Jerry giving Garrett the heave-ho would emerge if attendance numbers at the Big Yard crash this season and next season. Even then, the firing of Garrett would be sacrificial, because if the fans stop coming that’s a backlash against Jerry not the head coach.
As an adamant but now shaken supporter of Garrett, the truth from here is the final 26 seconds in Baltimore caused added doubt to creep in.
Obviously, there was no sense of urgency by basically any player on the field as those precious seconds ticked off. The blame game has been recorded, mainly aimed at Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree, but it doesn’t appear that any player, including Tony Romo, knew what the heck to do next.
And that confusion is squarely on the head coach, the same as the clock management malfunction was in Arizona last December.
By coincidence, Mike Holmgren’s name surfaced this week.
No, I’m not saying Garrett’s job is in jeopardy. No, I’m not saying Holmgren even wants to coach again.
But as opposed to a Cowher or a Gruden, the Holmgren name is one that “fits” with Jerry, a hard man to find a fit when it comes to a head coach.
Go ahead, sit on that name.
Randy Galloway | Ft Worth Star-Telegram
There has been a lot of talk since last Sunday’s 31-29 loss to the Ravens, which featured some game management mistakes in the final moments, about whether veteran offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan should take over play-calling duties from coach Jason Garrett.
Callahan wants no part of the discussion. He said Garrett does a great job and he is here to support him.
"I think coach does a great job calling plays," Callahan said. "When I first took the job, I came here to help him in any capacity. That’s what my function is and that’s what my role is on our staff. Anyway I can help coach in preparation. We got great communication on the sideline and in between series, he’s the play caller here and does a great job with it and he has a great feel for what Tony (Romo) likes and what we want to do as an offense. I got nothing but immense respect for coach and his ability to call plays."
Callahan said he also had no problem with how Garrett handled things at the end of the Ravens games. He said no one is perfect.
"In the heat of the moment there are a lot of things that are transpiring," Callahan said. "I support him greatly. He made the best decision he could at the time. We are not perfect. Those situations come up. But that’s what makes the game fascinating."
Bill Callahan talks about his responsibilities as offensive coordinator, and what the lines of communication are like between him and Jason Garrett.