The Cowboys have, um, problems on the defensive side of things. Monday night was the fifth time that Dallas’ defense has ceded 490 or more yards in a game. They’re the only team to do so more than twice.
But Jerry Jones keeps swearing up and down that he’s not making a change on defense. Jones, on his weekly 105.3 The Fan spot, said “there’s nobody I’d rather have” than Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli to fix the defensive problems.
“To fix what we’re doing, there’s nobody I’d rather have than [Kiffin] and Rod Marinelli,” Jones said. “First of all, [Kiffin] knows what’s happening more than anyone. If there are adjustments to be made, he’s the right man for the job.”
There might not be a right man for this job. With DeMarcus Ware banged up, Sean Lee injured, Morris Claiborne out (condolences to the cornerback, who lost his father according to Jones) and a slew of other players hurt, Dallas doesn’t have the bodies to slow anyone down. It showed up big time on Monday.
But Kiffin, Jones said, “invites” the “responsibility” of the poor defensive performance on himself.
“He takes it personally. It’s hard on him. It’s very hard on him,” Jones said. “He’s been doing this though a long time, at his age, and he’s had a lot of different experiences. With all of that in mind, he’s just got a resolve — he doesn’t in anyway reject the responsibility. As a matter of fact, he invites it on himself.”
And despite the egg that Dallas laid on Monday night in Chicago, they still have a shot to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. They face the Packers, Redskins and then the Eagles in Week 17. Win out and they’re in (they currently hold the tiebreaker over Philly; obviously they would keep it if they beat the Eagles a second time).
“We obviously don’t go into a week or a ballgame thinking that we’re going to give up the kinds of yards that we’re giving up … and the kind of points that are associated with it,” Jones said. “We’ve got a chance to control our own destiny here. This should be an all out hunt for Red October trying to find a way to get better in these last three ballgames as we hope to go into the playoffs.”
The problem, of course, is that it’s hard to win games when you can’t stop opposing offenses. The Packers and Redskins aren’t exactly high-powered offenses at the moment, but you don’t need to be the ’99 Rams to score on Dallas these days.
Kiffin can take all the responsibility he wants but at this point the offense just has to get revved up enough to score more points than the opposing offense. That might seem simple but it’s a lot harder when your defense can’t stop anyone.