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Donovan McNabb and Randy Moss: Cowboys’ problem is coaching

Jason GarrettThe Dallas Cowboys have not made the playoffs since 2009, which was also the last time they posted a winning record. Despite having some talented players on their roster, the Cowboys can’t seem to win when it counts. Tony Romo takes most of the blame for that, but Donovan McNabb and Randy Moss see things a bit differently. The two former NFLers think coaching is the issue.

Under Monte Kiffin last season, the Cowboys allowed a league-worst 415.3 yards per game. They also gave up 27 points per game, which makes the fact that they even won eight games somewhat impressive.

“I think for the Dallas Cowboys it’s much more than just what we see from the defense and offense, I mean, let’s go upstairs,” McNabb said on FOX Sports Live, via The Dallas Morning News. “Let’s talk about the coaching staff. How do you go from Monte Kiffin and Marinelli being a position coach to [Marinelli] now being the defensive coordinator and Kiffin being like a position coach? And it’s the same on the offensive end. You had Jason Garrett calling plays, supposedly, then Callahan.”

Most defensive coordinators would have been fired in a heartbeat given how bad the Cowboys were last season. Kiffin was basically just demoted.

McNabb didn’t let Jason Garrett off the hook, either. He said it makes no sense that Garrett has kept his job while doing worse than Wade Phillips did before him.

“I’m still figuring out how he still has a job at this particular point the way we have continued to see this team just continue to crumble,” McNabb said. “(You played) behind hall of famers and you see how they carry the two-minute offense. He’s run the two-minute offense himself as a starting quarterback. The way that they control their offense in certain games, how can you lead games in the middle of the third quarter and you end up losing the game?”

Moss agreed, though he went much easier on Garrett.

“The thing that’s not really fair to Tony Romo is he really hasn’t had that coaching to be able to bring him along,” Moss said. “I’m not sitting here busting Garrett or trying to call Garrett out, but there has not been nothing steady in Dallas. It’s always coaches come and go.”

Playcalling has been a major issue for the Cowboys in recent years — there’s no debating that. They seem lost at times when playing with a lead, and most of that falls on the coaching staff. If Dallas misses the playoffs again this season, Jerry Jones will have no choice but to move on from Garrett.

Cowboys looking at Brian Urlacher after Sean Lee injury?

brian-urlacherThe Dallas Cowboys are in serious need of help at linebacker after Sean Lee suffered a knee injury in practice that will keep him out for the season. Brian Urlacher is an exciting name, but does he have anything left in the tank after taking an entire year off?

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Cowboys have shown some interest in reaching out to Urlacher to see if he would like to return to the NFL. They have also discussed the possibility of bringing in Jonathan Vilma, though there is said to be “not much” interest in either.

Lee is a workhorse and the anchor of the Cowboys’ defense when healthy, but he rarely ever is. Many feel that Urlacher was not ready to call it a career after 13 seasons, but he is now 36 and has lost more than a step. Even as a platoon player, he likely wouldn’t be able to bring much more than veteran leadership.

Cowboys drafted players who won’t ‘pee their pants’

Zack-MartinThe Dallas Cowboys don’t expect any bathroom accidents this season. If any of their players wind up needing to change their underwear during practice or a game, the Cowboys failed to accomplish their goal in the draft. That’s basically how Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay described the team’s approach earlier this week.

McClay, the man in charge of evaluating talent for Jerry Jones, said some of the Cowboys’ picks may have come as a surprise because they made it their top priority to select players they believe can handle the pressure of playing for America’s team.

“I think it was important for us to say if we’re trying to build this thing and get to a point where we can win now, who has been able to handle the pressure of a big time program?” McClay explained, via Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. “Who will most likely be able to come into a situation like the Dallas Cowboys and the microscope that we’re under with all the games we play on national TV, and not, pardon the expression, pee their pants? We want grown men that are able to handle the situation.”

That would make sense for first-round pick Zack Martin, an offensive lineman from Notre Dame. Many expected the Cowboys to bolster their defense in the first round, but they chose to make some very quiet selections. They waited until the fifth round to take a skill player and did not draft a defensive back until the seventh round.

“We wanted to find players that filled roles. We spent time with the coaching staff and the scouts went out, did the things and did the work that we asked,” McClay added. “We came back with a good feeling for the guys that were on our draft board and the guys that we picked.”

And guys with very, very strong bladders. In other words, don’t be like Tony Romo.

H/T Around the League

Jerry Jones: Cowboys are not rebuilding – you don’t rebuild with Tony Romo

Jerry JonesThe Dallas Cowboys will have a new-look defense next season mostly because they lost so many players, but that doesn’t mean the team is rebuilding. Oh no. And Jerry Jones wants to make that clear.

In an interview from the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Jerruh emphasized that the team is revamping, not rebuilding. And his reason for saying that is pretty awesome.

“You don’t rebuild with (Tony) Romo,” Jones said via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The firepower we have on offense and where we are with our running backs, and our receivers — you don’t rebuild with an offense that’s got the capability we’ve got.

“We didn’t bring [Scott] Linehan in here to rebuild. We’re not rebuilding. We are, by necessity, having to revamp the defensive line.’’

The Cowboys decided to let DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher go because of financial constraints, but they did add former Bears DT Henry Melton. They also reassigned Monte Kiffin and brought in Linehan as DC, as Jerruh said. They will definitely have a new look on defense. But remember: you don’t rebuild when you have Tony Romo. You just go 8-8.

Dallas Cowboys clock operator screwup leads to delay of game penalty

The Dallas Cowboys were screwed over by their clock operator during Sunday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the mistake resulted in a penalty.

Tight end Jason Witten caught a pass on 1st-and-10 in the fourth quarter and took it down to the Philly 33 for a gain of 34 yards. Witten was brought down with around 5:25 left in the game. The clock error occurred when the operator reset the play clock to 25 instead of 40 after the play. When the Cowboys were setting up their next play, the officials blew the whistle and flagged them for delay of game around the 4:52 mark, around 30 seconds later.

The penalty put the Cowboys in a 1st-and-15 situation at the Philly 38. Luckily they scored a 32-yard touchdown on 4th-and-9 when Dez Bryant took a slant pass to the house, but the delay of game cost them the yards and possibly altered the playcalling. It was a really bad and unlucky break for them, and certainly the kind of thing you don’t expect to see happen to a home team.

Dallas Cowboys clock error

Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles betting line moved 9 points in one day

Sportsbook

Can you remember the last time you saw a betting line for an NFL game change by nine points in one day? I don’t, but that’s what happened with the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles line on Monday.

The Cowboys opened on Sunday night as -2.5 point favorites at home against Philly. It’s a huge game between the teams as the winner takes the NFC East, and the initial line had the Cowboys favored at home.

By the time most other sportsbooks set their lines for the game on Monday around noon, the Eagles were favored by 2.5 or 3 points (full line movement here). Hours after the news that Tony Romo would be out the rest of the season with a herniated disc broke, the betting line was readjusted with the Eagles listed as 7-point favorites.

To recap:

- Cowboys favored by 2.5 points Sunday night
- Eagles favored by 2.5-3 points Monday afternoon
- Eagles changed to 7 point favorites Monday evening after Romo news

That’s some major line movement, and it leaves some questions. Here’s my biggest question: did the line move from Dallas by 2.5 to Philly by 2.5 (a 5-point swing is huge) because the wiseguys thought Philly was the better team, or because they knew about Romo’s status? How deep in the know are they? I wouldn’t doubt it if they had the news before the rest of us.

All I know is that if you got the Eagles +2.5, you’re looking pretty good right now. We’ll see how the $10-million backup Kyle Orton does in place of Romo.

Tip via Geno

Tony Romo throws two interceptions in final three minutes of historic loss

Tony Romo

Tony Romo added another chapter to his legacy as a choker by throwing two interceptions in the final three minutes of the Dallas Cowboys’ 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Yes, Dallas blew a 26-3 halftime lead and 36-24 lead with under eight minutes to go in the game … and they blew it to a team that has Matt Flynn at quarterback. In fact, the Cowboys allowed Flynn to throw for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns!

The Packers completed the comeback with a lot of help from Romo, who was picked off in Dallas’ final two possessions of the game.

For his first interception, Romo threw behind Miles Austin, who was wide open, and Sam Shields intercepted his pass around midfield with 2:48 left in the game.

Green Bay took the ball and drove for the go-ahead touchdown.

Despite the touchdown, Dallas appeared to have a good chance to come back and win the game. They had the ball with 1:31 left and only needed a field goal to regain the lead. But Romo was intercepted on the second play of the drive.

Romo threw a pass for Cole Beasley, who broke off his route to sit down in the middle of a zone. Romo expected him to keep going and the ball went into the hands of Tramon Williams, who made a great catch.

Here’s a look at the play:

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