Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he could take over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Bill Callahan to help improve the team’s sputtering offense but he’s not going to.
“That’s not something we’re really talking about,” Garrett said Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “I just think the biggest thing we have to do is evaluate what we have done in all three phases and what’s been good, what hasn’t been good, build and emphasize the things that have been good and correct the other stuff. I have a certain role in this whole process throughout our football team. We’ve just got to make sure we get all this done.”
Garrett’s comment came after owner Jerry Jones said on his radio show Tuesday morning that changing play-callers was not an option.
It was Jones who pressed for Garrett to be a walk-around coach this year and turn over play-calling duties to Callahan.
Asked if he could return to calling plays for the final six regular-season games if he wanted to, Garrett said, “Absolutely.”
Asked why he wouldn’t take over, considering his job could be on the line, Garrett stressed the positives on offense from the first 10 games and said they would work as a coaching staff to improve.
“Yeah, we just need to play better on offense,” he said. “The thing you’ve got to remember is we’re among the better scoring teams in the league right now, and that’s been a positive thing for our team.”
Defensive end DeMarcus Ware said he aggravated his quadriceps injury on a sack in the second quarter against the Saints, but that his leg feels good and he is optimistic about playing against the Giants after the bye.
“I’m doing everything I can not to let it happen again,” he said. “It was something minor on the sack. The play I got the sack, it’s just my knee hit the ground and tweaked it a little bit, and it was like that the whole game.”
Lee hamstring a pull
Sean Lee said his hamstring injury is a pull, but he doesn’t have a firm idea how long it will take to recover.
“We’ve got to wait and see how the rehab goes and how everything rolls,” he said.
He said the hamstring injury is like the one from his rookie year, when he missed two games.
“Similar,” he said. “I’ve just got to make sure I rehab properly and hope I can be back as soon as I can, when I can functionally get back. It’s frustrating. I want to be on the field. Obviously, I’ve had trouble staying on the field. I take a lot of pride in rehabbing and making sure I recover and am ready to go. But it’s just one of those deals I’ve got to battle back from.”
Not enough targets
Garrett said Dez Bryant was not targeted enough against the Saints and that getting him the ball is part of the plan from here.
“The other night, we were not,” he said, asked if he was satisfied with the number of targets Bryant is getting. “I think he got two. Typically, he’s gotten many more than that, and I think his production speaks for itself that way. But he’s one of those players you want to make sure you give him chances.”
Bryant was targeted only twice in the 49-17 loss to the Saints on Sunday night, less than everyone except Dwayne Harris. Six times this year, Bryant has been the Cowboys’ leader or co-leader in targets. In four games, he has had double-digit targets. In those six games, the Cowboys are 4-2.
Carter may surge
The Cowboys are still evaluating who will play middle linebacker in Lee’s place, Garrett said.
But if it is Bruce Carter, Garrett hopes he takes off like he did last year when Lee missed 10 games.
“Last year when Sean Lee went down, Bruce played his best ball in the middle of the season until he got hurt,” Garrett said. “We’re hoping he kind of sees it the same way, that he’s the leader of that linebacker corps, and he takes advantage of that opportunity and he’s not playing second-fiddle to anybody.”
Lee was hurt in Game 6 last year. Carter led the team in tackles the next three games and had 42 tackles in a five-game stretch that ended when he dislocated an elbow on Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins. He also had six tackles for loss and four pass breakups. In a game at Philadelphia, he tied a career high with 11 solo tackles.
Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he is going to Los Angeles with his wife during the bye weekend but will continue to get treatment on his shoulder while he is away. When he comes back, he said he will be eager to play and get the rest of the season started.
“I think the thing for us is we just got to know what is at stake and know that we are in a good situation,” he said. “We got blown out. We got our butt beat. But at the end of the day, we end up in a good situation going into the bye. We are still No. 1 in our division, so everything is looking up for us. We just have to come back after this bye and kind of have a different approach, and have a sense of urgency, and know what is at stake and know we got a shot to win our division and get into the playoffs. That’s what really counts.”
Like Jones has many times, Hatcher used the example of the 2011 New York Giants, who hit the playoffs with a 9-7 record but won the Super Bowl.
“Teams get hot,” Hatcher said.