Week 9 Players To Watch: Cowboys vs. Titans
At 3-4 at the bye, the Dallas Cowboys admittedly and universally are disappointed with their play over the first half of the season, according to owner Jerry Jones.
They know they can play better and compete better, especially on the road where they are winless.
With nine games to go in the season, the Cowboys believe they have time to make amends, starting Monday against the Tennessee Titans.
But they don’t have time to mess around, according to Jones.
He said the teams heightened sense of urgency is at the root of the two monumental decisions during the bye, including the trading of a first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for receiver Amari Cooper Oct. 22 and the firing of disappointing offensive line coach Paul Alexander seven days later on Oct. 29.
“I like the idea of assessing and changing as you work through the first part of the season,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “You see adjustments being made on the run. You see us adjusting and assessing the way we can play on the road, get some spark in the offense, block it up better. And do what we do as far as personnel and our strategies to be a better team and win more games.
“We are more urgent because we dug a hole here. We have to be pretty strong in our success here. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the room to wiggle here. That says a lot about the things we have done the past two weeks, bringing in Cooper and the changes we have made in the offensive line.”
Jones said he didn’t want to single out Alexander but acknowledged that the Cowboys weren’t getting the job done up front under his direction.
Alexander joined the staff in the offseason after 24 years with the Cincinnati Bengals. He brought in new techniques that have caused a line, which was once considered the best in the NFL and the foundation any success the Cowboys hope to have on offense, to regress.
The Cowboys fired Alexander and promoted assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo to take his place. They also brought back former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to serve as consultant and adviser.
“We have a high standard,” Jones said. “When we look at the strength of our team, we look at it as the offensive line. You are on the spot when you are playing and coaching in that area. That is an area we want to be a symbol of what the team is about. After seven games, we weren’t getting the job done to the standard. We felt we needed new voices. That was the way to give up to the best chance to go in the direction we want to go.”
Regarding Cooper, Jones continues to be impressed with his conscientiousness and willingness to work hard and get better. In that respect, Jones even compared him to Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
Jones said Cooper was working this past weekend in California with receiver coach Sanjay Lal.
“He is into the detail on how to get better,” Jones said. “Michael Irvin was into the detail on how to get an edge and how to get better. And I think Cooper has that about him and has the ability to execute when given the chance. I just think his conscientiousness and workman approach to how he is going about it.”