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The Vent: Lethargic Cowboys Crushed By Eagles

Jay Ajayi

That was ugly, and pathetic, and any other word you want to describe how badly the Dallas Cowboys got beat down by the Philadelphia Eagles. After keeping it close for 30 minutes of football, the Eagles dominated the Cowboys in the second half, outscoring them 30-0.

It was also the worst game of Dak Prescott’s young career. He threw three interceptions, lost one fumble and was very poor throwing the ball. Prescott had opportunities to move the ball but his throws often sailed and he refused to use his legs when he had the chance. It was a puzzling performance from Dak.

Prescott wasn’t alone though, the entire team was taken behind the woodshed after halftime and it was the second consecutive performance that has many calling for the firing of Jason Garrett. After this game, it seems like a reasonable request.

Garrett and the coaching staff got blown out of the water in the second half, which has been a common theme this season. To continue to play Anthony Brown, who opponents are successfully targeting in mass quantities, is a joke. Brown has regressed in his second season and continues to give up big plays all over the field. It’s time to find a new spot for Brown, on the bench, or at least give him help.

The Eagles also schemed to take advantage of David Irving’s quickness by running right past him and manhandling the Cowboys’ linebackers. It rang even truer today, just as it did in the losses to the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers, no Sean Lee, no chance on defense. The Eagles ran for 215 yards and Dallas’ tackling was horrendous on the night.

We knew something would have to change for the Cowboys’ offense after witnessing what happened last week without Tyron Smith, but the adjustment was short lived. Helping out new left tackle Byron Bell was a good idea and the running game worked well, however, the short passing game and quick reads left the offense a shell of itself. Philadelphia’s defense knew the Cowboys couldn’t throw the ball more than a few yards down the field and put on a tackling display. Prescott never got comfortable with the quick throws and struggled all night long.

And yet, Dallas still had a shot in this game. Ryan Switzer took the opening kickoff into Philadelphia territory, but the Cowboys settled for a field goal. To win a game like this, you have to take advantage of those types of big plays. Instead, they played conservative football and kick field goals against a team that averages over 30 points per game. Settling for three points in a game like this will get you beat, every, damn, time.

The Cowboys just couldn’t capitalize on their chances: Brown drops an easy interception, the defense couldn’t tackle Carson Wentz in the backfield and they never played aggressive football when the game was in doubt. Make a play or two more, and maybe the outcome is different.

Dallas is now 5-5 and any goodwill they built up after winning three straight games is gone. This team isn’t strong enough to withstand the losses of Tyron Smith, Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott. It’s a completely different team without them.

There should be no more talk of the playoffs for the Dallas Cowboys, this team is headed in the wrong direction. There’s time to change the season, but there is no evidence they can. Bad just went to worse for the Cowboys and their season is on the line every single week now.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst ProFootBallTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi
Ben Grimaldi

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  • hardwater

    This will turn out to be the game that Ol Jer finally has his eyes opened to Jason Garrett. I will no longer defend JG. He has progressed as a coach as far as he is going to progress and just is what he is. Give him credit for helping improve the team and organization but it’s time to move on. Clean the coaching house out at the end of this year and bring in a young(ish), smart, imaginative HC and let him bring his own staff. Personnel still needs to be upgraded but coaching is now the biggest problem with this team. Time to move on.

    • Lee1936

      Coaching is no better than the drafting during the Garrett years. I know, several of my friends think Dallas has drafted well recently, but where the hell is our talent?

      • hardwater

        I do think our talent is much improved but as others have noted the talent is still primarily in the starters. The problem is depth although I would argue that is somewhat improved as well while still lacking. I have defended Jason Garrett previously as not being perfect but better than we’ve previously had but now believe the team has outgrown him and that it is time for a HC and coaching staff with a fresh view. Of course Jerry remains a big problem and finding a coach that can live with him will not be easy.

        • Lee1936

          Let’s focus on defense. How would you grade our STARTING DBs? Our LBs, with and then without Sean Lee? Our DLs?

          • hardwater

            I believe our DLine has shown tremendous improvement and is now above average with potential to be very good on a consistent basis. LB’s: Lee is of course THE big difference maker and Hitchens is at least good. The rest are jags and Jaylon Smith is still injured. The DB’s are either pretty awful or rookies. Scandrick is best in the slot but battles hard. Byron Jones is a disappointment. I would like to see what the rookies can do with some experience but there is some evidence they may turn into something.

            In summary the DLIne is now the strength of the defense but Sean Lee is the one indispensable player. The secondary is a shambles with some justifiable hope for the rookies.

            Important to note that until this year very few resources have been devoted to the defense and yet it appears that there are now at least SOME good players emerging there. The Cowboys have cast their lot on a strong offense which I believe is wise in today’s NFL with the restrictive rules on the defenders.

          • Lee1936

            How often does any team win a super bowl without a solid, stout defense?

          • hardwater

            Not much D in last year’s Super Bowl. But I agree, Jerry is no draft expert. Thankfully his voice has been moderated somewhat by Steven and their drafting has improved. They have done very well in the first round but keep taking wild flyers with rounds 2 and 3.

          • Lee1936

            This season is 2/3rds finished. Are you excited about this year’s top pick, DE Taco? Has he started any games yet? How about this year’s 2nd pick, CB Awuzie? Has he started a game yet?
            Are you pleased with FS Byron Jones in his 2nd year? He got his first NFL INT this year.
            Besides Scandrick, who are your favorites on Defense?

          • hardwater

            Lee, I think I mostly answered this already but Taco was always going to be a work in progress and Awuzie showed early promise but has been slowed by hamstring injury. I’m very disappointed in Byron Jones. The rest of the secondary are jags and rookies. We also have to look at these things in the context of WHEN these players were drafted, the situation, expectations, etc.

            My biggest problem is that on the whole the coaching staff doesn’t seem to be able to improve players much from when they come into the league. They also show no ability to compensate for injuries or unavailability. After yesterday’s disaster this team is in real trouble and the coaching staff has no clue. Even the vaunted OLine now looks mediocre. This season is all but lost without some sort of a miraculous reversal. Who would have thought when they were 5-3 and rolling? I didn’t.

  • PTM

    Im with all you guys. Nobody said anything I disagree with. The JG train has run its course. I like Jaylon but I think he’s still another year away from full recovery. There are no quality back-ups on this team.. A starter goes down and its mediocre city. Which I’m not sure its talent but coaching. The Pats don’t miss a beat when a guy goes down and they draft 28-32 every year. The Eagles lost there LT and didn’t miss a beat either. I believe JG is too soft, and Marinelli is not the genius every one made him out to be. He’s gotta go. And were all tired of the PED violations. This team is done this year. Sadly Dak is not the next coming of Brady but Wentz is. We all wanted them to take Wentz regardless of what we had to give up. Dudes a stud and the Boyz are gonna be feeling it for years to come sadly

    • Lee1936

      Agree on your every point. Above all, I agree that our backups, with the exception of Switzer, are not impressive. Several of my friends think the Boys have recently been drafting well. They were wrong.
      I gave up on Garrett after his first three 8-8 seasons. He is still not even an average NFL head coach. He may be OK as an OC somewhere else. He was never able to draft a defense for Dallas. Eagles ran through our middle for over 200 yards. Wentz was awesome.
      You guys who hated on Romo for years (you know who you are) welcome to the post-Romo years. Looks to me like a 6-10 season, maybe 7-9.

      • Michael

        I like Romo in the booth so much that I am glad he isn’t playing anywhere. He is fantastic as a color guy. And besides, the up and down seasons we can get with anybody under center.

        Down on Prescott after a tough streak? I’m not. Taking 12 sacks within a seven day span is enough to throw any QB off their game. That is why DEs are at a premium.

        Look at the Eagles. They lost a LT, a MLB, and have had a slew of other injuries. They have a second year QB. Yet their coaching staff has adjusted and have cleverly schemed around their weaknesses and foregrounded their strengths.

        Just like the Chiefs, the Eagles are playing a wide open option scheme lifted directly from college playbooks. The Cowboys could easily do the same – if Garrett wasn’t so conservative and afraid to adjust on the fly. Wentz isn’t doing anything more complicated than he did at North Dakota. He isn’t a great NFL style QB by any means. He is now what he was in college.

        The future of NFL offensive football was on display with the way the Eagles handled Irving Sunday night. Sometimes they followed an ancient tradition and trapped him with a TE or Guard but more often they optioned him and didn’t bother blocking him. The irony here is that many of Chip Kelly’s concepts are on display in the Eagles offense now, but the current staff is simply much better at adjusting and fitting plays to players.

        Dallas has some nice pieces on offense. Yet we rarely see two or three TE packages (despite Morris making hay from those formations) or Beasley and Switzer on the field together. And why hasn’t McFadden had a role this year? He is the best 3rd down back they have. There is a lot left on the table from JG and company.

        I won’t talk about Marinelli, except to say that he knows his scheme must have a stud weakside LB to have a chance in the running game and he has never found one.

        • Lee1936

          I like the way you think, and you write very well.

  • Taylor

    To be honest, Philly is the better team. Better players, better coaching. Zeke, Tyron and Sean would not have turned this outcome. We have beaten one team with a winning record, and have now been embarrassed three times. We got beat by GB, LA and Denver with Zeke, Tyron and Lee. I don’t think we were apathetic, we were overwhelmed.

    • Lee1936

      True post. We do not have the level of talent to compete with the current Eagles. They have a Defense! We don’t. Last year was not a glimpse of our future. It was a fluke.

  • Michael

    Lead at halftime. Blown out in the second half. This is the story of the JG era. Pick your season, pick your QB, pick your nose, none of it matters because the second half blow-out and/or blown lead has been a constant.

    I am still scratching my head that Witten only had one reception. I know he had extra chipping duties, but still…Nice job by the Eagles offense staff of trapping the Cowboys DTs in the running game. Marinelli’s DL scheme lives or dies by penetration. Last night it was death.

    I miss the player Dez Bryant used to be. It is time to move on from Dez and his insane contract.

    • Taylor

      I don’t know if we can move on from Dez. If I read and understand his contract correctly, we would have an 8m dead money hit 2018-2019. Crawford a 7 and a 4m dead money hit. Dez has devolved into a very high priced possession receiver and Crawford was never worth that money. This season and next, we still have to absorb Tony’s dead money. Someone would sign Dez and relieve some of the dead money, Crawford is a reasonably competent LDE so we could get some relief there, but we are handcuffed by these contracts.

  • TL fan

    I go back to what Tom Ryles? the wise sage writer for Blogging the Boys said back in the spring of 2016. ‘The cost of moving up one or two spots to nab Carson Wentz seems just too high…Shooting for 2017 seems a much more cost effective way of going about things’. What a complete idiot this man is. A total moron.

    Dallas made a huge mistake by not seizing this once-in-a decade opportunity, to take their highest rated QB on the board. It will haunt them for the next 12 years. We are stuck with whom Dallas rated the 7th??? best QB in the draft who has, to his credit, exceeded expectations but will never be elite.

    Get use to regular beatings by the Eagles.

    Suspended Zeke, gimpy Jaylon, and bust-written-all-over-him Taco vs Carson Wentz. Hmm, should we take the franchise QB. No, let’s wait for a more cost effective way to find our franchise QB. HaHaHa, Dallas will pay for this stupidity for a long time.

    It will be very interesting to see what Cowboys will offer Dak vs what his agent will demand.

    Mediocrity for a wee bit longer, Cowboy fans, you should be use to it by now.

  • Senovio Rodriguez

    Back to the drawing board.

    Hmm moment: so Bryon Bell is sooo much less talented than Chaz Green as was J Cooper? Just a symptom of what is, and hopefully was, wrong with team. Not Jaylon Smith’s fault…but he should be on IR… don’t know what he is learning by being on field…

  • fiverings37

    We are done. Time to clean house. New staff for next year. The current staff cannot make adjustments and is constantly outcoached.