Cowboys notes: Flawed option call led Romo to throw

12/19/2013 8:03 PM

12/20/2013 11:18 AM

Never mind that coach Jason Garrett said quarterback Tony Romo changed a run play into a pass, leading to a game-changing interception in the Dallas Cowboys’ 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said it was his fault, not Romo’s.

Callahan said Romo “followed the rules” when he chose to pass on the second-and-6 run call, a throw that resulted in an interception by cornerback Sam Shields, leading to the game-winning touchdown.

“That’s the option,” Callahan said. “It’s not so much a check, it’s just an option that he has to take a receiver who is being covered man-to-man when the box gets loaded up. He has that option, per se. It more or less falls on me, and I’ve got to structure a better play, a better design, and we’ve got to eliminate that option for him in those types of situations.”

Callahan, talking to reporters Thursday at Valley Ranch after declining comment after the game, said it’s common to have a pass built into that run play, to get the offense out of an unfavorable matchup. But considering the game situation, Callahan said he should have sent in a play without that option, or “tag,” as the Cowboys call it.

“I just would say if we had to do it all over again, we certainly would do it different,” Callahan said. “That was the design of the play, and we certainly can do better. Certainly I can. … It came up so quick, so fast, we still had the tag on the play. We just felt like it wasn’t the time to take it off.

“I should have taken it off. I will live with that.”

Callahan said Romo should not take the blame for passing out of that play.

“I put that on myself just because it was built into the play,” Callahan said. “That’s how I look at it.”

Romo said he should have taken a sack.

“You just go by your rules, and you look to run certain looks and you look to pass in other ones,” he said. “Obviously, like I said before, if you could do it again you wouldn’t make the same choice. More than anything, it came up a little differently because I had to make a guy miss, and you’ve just got to eat the ball at that point.”

Ware watch

Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware is admittedly frustrated with his play and the injuries that have sapped his production.

Ware, who has been limited by quadriceps and neck injuries, has six sacks through 14 games, only two since Sept. 22.

Ware promised last week that he would return to his dominant form against the Packers, but ended up with only two assists and two pressures. And now he is back on the injury report with a tight back that caused him to miss practice Wednesday before returning in a limited basis Thursday.

“It does [frustrate me],” Ware said. “But right now I can’t let that frustrate me. I have to keep playing and knowing that eventually that time is going to come. Injuries are going to be there. You have to play through them.”

Ware will be 32 next year, causing many to wonder if Father Time has caught up to him. Ware needs four sacks in the final two games against the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles to avoid missing double-digit sacks for the first time since his rookie season in 2005. His eight-year streak of leading the Cowboys in sacks also appears to be coming to an end. Ware is third on the team in sacks, three behind leader Jason Hatcher’s nine.

Injury update

Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring), cornerback Brandon Carr (illness), receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring), receiver Terrance Williams (hamstring), linebacker Sean Lee (neck) and linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) did not practice Thursday.

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck), defensive end George Selvie (back), defensive end DeMarcus Ware (back) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) were limited.

Claiborne has already ruled himself out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. Lee is doubtful. The Cowboys remain hopeful for Harris, Williams and Sims. If they can’t practice Friday, it’s unlikely they will play Sunday.

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