Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys notes: Garrett keeps his distance from flag controversy in playoff win over Lions

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens (59) gets hit in the back by a pass to Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium Sunday. The back judge first threw, then picked up, his penalty flag on the play. The Cowboys beat the Lions 24-20.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens (59) gets hit in the back by a pass to Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium Sunday. The back judge first threw, then picked up, his penalty flag on the play. The Cowboys beat the Lions 24-20. Star-Telegram

The controversial non-call on pass interference that benefited the Cowboys in Sunday’s wild-card game against the Lions has led to more conversations than simply if the initial call should have been reversed.

The discussion has ranged from why an animated Dez Bryant wasn’t flagged for storming onto the field without a helmet to whether coaches should be able to challenge penalties.

Coach Jason Garrett weighed in on the issues Monday, a day after the Cowboys’ 24-20 victory.

As far as Bryant, Garrett said: “Really you talk to everybody about that. You try to make that and other situations a teaching moment for your football team — and that happens all the time. The biggest thing we try to do is … we play, we coach. That’s our jobs. Let them officiate. Let’s get focused on the next play.”

Having the ability to challenge those calls is a lengthier and more complicated issue, Garrett said. But, at the end of the day, he trusts the people making those decisions to get it right.

“If that’s a consideration and they go through the process they normally go through, it could be a good solution,” Garrett said.

Garrett went on to say he had no issues with regular-season officiating crews being broken up in the postseason. The NFL grades every official at their respective job, and rewards the top ones by giving them postseason assignments.

Injury updates

Linebacker Rolando McClain is the only notable player who suffered an injury Sunday, missing the second half after being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms and dehydration.

McClain is also dealing with a sore neck after playing 20 snaps. However, Garrett hopes that he’ll be able to practice by Thursday.

“He’s a really tough individual, so we’re certainly hopeful,” Garrett said. “It sounds like he’s feeling better today.”

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who is dealing with a high right ankle sprain, picked up the slack left by McClain. Hitchens wasn’t expected to play as many snaps (33) as he did, but that changed when McClain went down with an injury.

Garrett went on to say that defensive tackle Terrell McClain suffered an ankle injury, although the severity isn’t known at this point.

Right tackle Doug Free, meanwhile, continues to work his way back from a left ankle injury. Garrett didn’t sound overly optimistic about Free being healthy enough to go Sunday, saying he’s making “a little progress.”

That means Jermey Parnell will start once again in Free’s spot.

The paperboy

Cole Beasley continues to make the most of his role, making a couple pivotal catches down the stretch Sunday.

Beasley somehow held on to a 12-yard catch while taking a hard hit to the head on the first play of the fourth quarter, something that stood out to Garrett on Monday.

The way he bounces back up and is ready to go again, tells you a lot about who he is,” Garrett said. “He’s a sneaky guy ’cause when he walks in, he looks like the paperboy. … He’s something else.”

Briefly

▪ Garrett on play-caller Scott Linehan being a head coaching candidate: “Scott’s a really good football coach and has been in this league for a very long time. It’s natural for his name to be in the mix on some of these different jobs that are coming up.”

▪ Garrett laughed when asked whether Tony Romo intended for Terrance Williams or Dez Bryant to catch what proved to be the game-winning TD pass. “I haven’t gotten a great answer on that yet,” Garrett said, smiling.

▪ Garrett on whether his players know about the 1967 Ice Bowl: “Oh, I think we have guys who are football fans and know some history. Having said that, we’ve got a lot of guys who were born in 1991 or 1992. So it’s like ancient history to them.”

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