Well, what a difference a week makes, or in the case of the Cowboys v the Giants, two weeks. Oh yeah and a coaching change mid season to help things along. Giving credit where it is due, the change seemed to work and Garrett got the game ball from Jerry Jones. Now that he’s shown he can change things in a single game, let’s talk turkey about the changes, the season, and the future.
Something changed over the last week since Garrett took over. The one-time coach-in-waiting turned disgraced offensive coordinator tried to instill order in the Cowboys’ locker room this week. Based on the way the club played, it worked for at least one game.
Only one major question remains after this win: Why did it take Cowboys owner Jerry Jones so long to make a change at head coach?
He delivered. That’s the bottom line, and it was a good win against a strong team in their division. However, does that absolve him of the sins of the past when he was offensive coordinator of a team that had no run game? Did he really change things, or is this just an introduction and his following act will stumble as well? He deserves his praise this week, but a season changer takes more than a game, even two, to pull off. I’ll give him credit, and put my trust in him that this is a pattern not a fluke. But after the start the Cowboys have had, I’ll reserve my high hopes until a few more games are behind us.
I’m not going to jump on the Kitna isn’t good enough bandwagon. I think he has a unique chance to play #1 QB on a talented team and show what he’s got. Roy Williams agrees. However, unless he’s been getting snaps in practice more than folks think, his rise to full readiness might take 2-3 weeks, and that’s time Dallas doesn’t have.
Now to that point, Kitna played an excellent game on Sun, which was 2 weeks after his “drop him in cold” introduction to the #1 QB spot.
Jon Kitna passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns and the Cowboys looked revitalized with Garrett running the team in a 33-20 victory that served as a reality check for the New York Giants on Sunday.
And from this game we can hopefully predict more solid play from Kitna as his experience level is now complimented by his practice time. Again we will see, but I remain confident that with the talent around him, Kitna has a unique chance to really show what he’s capable of.
Other issues, unresolved.
Mike Jenkins was a downright disgrace against the Packers, giving up on a play that resulted in a touchdown. If you’re not going to play, get out and flip burgers or sell hot dogs to see the game. Some folks out there would put out real effort to play in the NFL. Jenkins didn’t and he needs to realize he’s got a limited career span if that continues. A good quote about this situation:
“To me, this is high treason. An NFL football player does not turn down a play like that. And if I’m Jason Garrett, the first thing that I’m doing when I take over as the head coach of this team, is I’m getting guys like that — number 21, who absolutely committed treason, let his team down by passing up a tackle and let the ball get in the end zone — I’m taking him and I’m getting him out of my locker room.”
–Former Falcons and Seahawks coach Jim Mora, on NFL Network, after watching Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins back off a tackle against Green Bay’s James Jones eight days ago.
This type of play is the hallmark of the pre-Garrett 2010 season and the lack of professionalism and disrespect showed to the team is, to me, astounding. This is the same guy who has been a Pass Interference magnet early in the season too. Sure some of that comes with the job (Cornerback) but Jenkins had a knack for doing it at all the wrong times. In my book that guy goes home if he can’t get it sraightened out.
The Cowboys are now 2-7, facing the Lions, Saints, Colts, and Eagles next, and only 7 more total games (Redskins, Cardinals, Eagles round out the schedule). Not an easy schedule, but doable if they keep this momentum going leaving the best they can do at 9-7. Hardly a great record, but possibly enough for a wildcard if other teams cooperate by losing. But the Cowboys have already lost to the Redskins and Giants once. So the Giants need only 3-4 wins to ensure Dallas can’t win the division and they’re certainly capable, and playing like that will be the case. That leaves Redskins and Eagles in the way of a possible wildcard. Sure long shot, but with the Eagles at 5-3 and Redskins at 4-4 I’ve suddenly become an uncharacteristic Redskins fan for tonight’s MNF. With Redskins on the schedule for one more and the Eagles still to face the Cowboys twice, they have a little bit of control, but overall the Cowboys need losses to stack up on the Redskins and the Eagles. Given their schedules, the odds are against it.
However I never say never.
UPDATE: Monday Night Football – Eagles take care of Redskins very convincingly. This might make it more likely the Cowboys can get a 3rd place spot, but that’s not going to help the overall standings for a playoff berth. Barring en masse collapse on the part of several teams (Giants, Eagles, Packers, Bears, Falcons, Saints, and Bucs. Even the Seahawks could play into this equation) the Cowboys are really only playing for their pride and next season.