Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones certainly didn’t say he was ready to make any changes to his coaching staff.
Didn’t exactly give head coach Jason Garrett – or the people who work for him – a vote of confidence when given the chance, either. Garrett, remember, is in the final season of his contract and has seemed to be fighting for his job for years.
This much is clear: Jones is not happy with the way things are going for the Cowboys, who are just 6-5 after a 13-9 loss at the New England Patriots on Sunday but still in position to make the playoffs because they sit atop a pitiful NFC East at the moment.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Jones observed, before adding, as if to emphasize that his roster is not what’s causing problems, “With the makeup of this team, I shouldn’t be this frustrated.”
Jones called out the team’s effort. He noted that there’s nothing unusual about being outcoached by Bill Belichick. He pointed to special teams – a blocked punt was the most glaring issue – and averred, in a direct shot at special teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn, aspect phase of football “is 100 percent coaching.”
Nothing subtle there. Nor with this statement: “This is very frustrating, and it’s frustrating to me to just be reminded that some of the fundamentals of football and coaching were what beat us out there today.”
There were all sorts of factors contributing to this defeat, from penalties to turnovers to a driving rain that made both QBs uncomfortable – yes, even Tom Brady, whose team is 10-1 and keeps winning despite, not because of, its offense – and led some to wonder what took Dak Prescott so long to don a glove on his throwing hand.
There were plenty of other questions raised, too.
Did the Cowboys prepare properly?
Did Garrett make the right choice in taking a late field goal while down by seven points instead of going for it on fourth down?
And of most significance: How much patience will Jones show, especially if Dallas stumbles again on Thanksgiving Day against the visiting Buffalo Bills?
In case you missed it, here are other top topics after the NFL season’s 12th Sunday:
BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE
Dwayne Haskins was supposed to be on the field to take the last snap of his first win as an NFL quarterback – and the Washington Redskins’ first home win in more than a year – but he apparently had better things to do. The first-round draft pick couldn’t be bothered to participate in the “victory formation” (granted, something Washington doesn’t get much chance to implement during a 2-9 season), because he was posing for a series of selfies with spectators. “We were looking for him, too,” interim coach Bill Callahan said with a chuckle after beating the Detroit Lions 19-16. With a chuckle. “I think he thought the game was over.” Then, perhaps prompted by a reporter’s follow-up question to take the matter more seriously, Callahan was more stern-faced, saying, “We’ll address that.” Haskins, for his part, laughed off the matter, vowing, “I’ll get it next time.” Who knows when that might be?
NOT ‘NEW YORK’S BEST GAME’
New Orleans coach Sean Payton didn’t hold back with his criticism of a pass interference ruling from the NFL office during the Saints’ 34-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers, saying, “It wasn’t New York’s best game.” That PI in the closing minutes was called after a challenge from Carolina – ironically enough, given that the officiating error that kept the Saints out of last season’s Super Bowl is the reason such reviews are allowed now. “I don’t know that it’s exactly what we discussed, where we are today with it,” Payton said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.”
WHO NEEDS THE 12TH MAN?
The Seahawks make so much of their supposed “12th man” and home-field advantage. Turns out they’re pretty good away from Seattle, too. Russell Wilson and Co. improved to 6-0 on the road this season, 9-2 overall, with a 17-9 win over the struggling Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) and turnover-prone Carson Wentz. The Seahawks never have won more road games in a full season.
AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen in Foxborough, Mass., and Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed.
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