KANSAS CITY AFTERMATH: Garrett repeats his message to players — there’s no issue that can’t be solved
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he stresses to the players to come to him or anyone in the organization if they have anything in their lives they want to talk about or want help with, and that the Cowboys will do anything they can to provide help.
“Literally, I said I’ll get down on my hands and knees, and I beg you to do this because it’s the most important thing there is,” Garrett said Monday, talking about the effect of the murder-suicide on Saturday involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins.
“There’s no issue that you have in your life that we can’t somehow solve in some way and in some way make it better,” Garrett said. “I just say that from the bottom of my heart because you never know what guys are going through, and you just let them know they have a place to turn. It’s a real tragedy there, so you just want to make sure you do everything you can to make sure something like that doesn’t happen here, and you want to make them really aware that we have the resources to help them.”
Garrett said he spoke to the team about the shootings on Saturday night at the team hotel and that everyone listened and he hoped he got the message across. He said the macho image of a football player shouldn’t prevent him from seeking help.
“You have to make clear to them there’s no judgment involved,” Garrett said. “We’re not judging you, we’re helping you. We’re here to help. We’ve got a lot of resources to help you. We’ve got professional people who are experts in this area to help you. Everybody’s got my cell phone. They’ve got all their position coaches’ cell phone numbers. Just call us. Players, watch out for each other if you see something that doesn’t look right or feel right, because you never know. Some guys might just have a feeling that I’ve got to handle it myself, I don’t want anybody else to know. Somehow, someway, you’ve got to break through that.”
Garrett said cornerback Brandon Carr, who spent his first four years in Kansas City before joining the Cowboys this year, knew the deceased player well and did a good job of getting himself ready to play as best he could.
The suicide of Belcher touched Carr most directly, but Garrett said everyone felt its effect.
“That’s part of our fraternity. That happened in the Kansas City Chiefs’ organization, but it happened in the NFL, and we had some guys on our team who knew him and knew that situation really well,” Garrett said. “It directly affects them, but it affects everybody. Again, what you want to do is take the football part out of it, put the human part in it and make sure that anybody knows we have resources to help them if they’re thinking about anything like that at all, we can help. I can’t try to convey that too much. I mean, it’s really the most important thing you’ll hear me say.”
ARLINGTON, Texas – Think about the 83 yards Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray gained. The four catches for 19 yards also mattered.
So does the touchdown he scored.
Beyond that, Murray’s impact is bigger than any stat you want to discuss after the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-33, on Sunday night.
He gives the Cowboys a toughness and a physical mentality they lack when he’s not in the lineup.
Murray is the reason Tony Romo had his best game, passing for 303 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Murray is the reason Jason Garrett didn’t abandon the run with the Cowboys trailing by a touchdown at halftime like he usually does.
He’s the reason offensive line coach Bill Callahan was laughing and joking with all of his starters after the game. And he’s the reason why more than one lineman talked about Garrett’s commitment to running the ball the entire game.
Murray missed the past six games with a sprained foot, and that’s the biggest reason the Cowboys entered the game ranked last in the NFL in rushing (78.7 yards) and attempts (22.0). They ranked 31st in average per carry (3.55) and hadn’t had a run of more than 20 yards in 166 carries.
Just so you know, they also ranked last in first-down rushing (3.45), which meant Romo and Garrett usually found themselves in second-and-long.
Here’s the deal: No team can consistently win — even in today’s NFL — throwing the ball 68 percent of the time, which is what the Cowboys did in their first 11 games.
The six-game absence was also difficult for Murray, who watched the Cowboys lose three of six games without him.
"I thought I was going to play against Washington, but it was a short week and the training staff just wanted to be careful," Murray said.
Against the Eagles, the Cowboys ran 33 times and passed 27 times. It’s the first time Garrett has called more runs than passes since the Cowboys ran the ball 42 times for 227 yards against Baltimore, when Murray hurt his foot.
"I knew once I got out there, I wasn’t going to want to come out," Murray said. "To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get that much work. I was telling Coach, ‘Hey, I’m going to come a little bit to make sure my foot is ready and right.’
"Once I got out there and adrenaline started rushing, I felt good. It’s not there where I’m 100 percent. There were a couple times it got tweaked and I definitely felt it, but after a few minutes it goes away.
Murray ripped off a 14-yard run on his first carry, and Philadelphia never really slowed him down enough to discourage Garrett from giving him the ball. Murray had only 35 yards on nine carries in the first half.
But Murray gave Garrett every incentive to keep giving him the ball on the first possession of the third quarter.
With Dallas trailing 17-10, Murray gained 13 yards on the quarter’s first play.
On third-and-1 from the Dallas 42, Murray bounced an inside run around the right end and gained 27 yards yards to the Philadelphia 31. It was only the Cowboys’ fourth run of more than 20 yards this season.
Three plays later, Dez Bryant’s 23-yard catch-and-run tied the score at 17-17.
"I was off a little bit," Murray said. "There were some runs I felt good and some I knew I had been out for six weeks."
Murray’s presence was enough.
Miles Austin scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass set up by a run-fake to Murray. Jason Witten had six catches for 108 yards and his first two catches of more than 20 yards in four games. Bryant had 98 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Murray created all of that. Every bit.
That’s the kind of balance Garrett wants on offense. Now, he just needs Murray on the field for the last four games.