Dallas Cowboys lacking execution on defense : Packers Insider

Dallas Cowboys lacking execution on defense

November 6, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Nov 6, 2010 ~ by Clarence E Hill jr.

~– It was Wade Phillips’ expertise on defense that got him the job as Dallas Cowboys head coach in 2007.

Remember, he dubbed himself “Mr. Fix It.”

Four seasons later, the defense will likely be the reason for his ultimate demise.

If there is one thing most disheartening about the Cowboys’ disappointing 1-6 start this season, it’s the shocking play of their defense, which is broken and seemingly beyond repair.

Despite the great DeMarcus Ware: Dallas has allowed 76 points and 884 yards in back-to-back blowout losses to the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars, including 69 points on the opponents' past 20 drives

Don’t be fooled by the Cowboys’ middling ranking of 14th in the league in total defense. This unit has been abysmal this season.

The Cowboys finished last season with the No. 4 rushing defense and No. 2 scoring defense, but have dropped to Nos. 24 and 27, respectively, this year.

The unit failed the past two weeks when Phillips needed to rely on it the most to save the Cowboys’ season and his job.

Dallas has allowed 76 points and 884 yards in back-to-back blowout losses to the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars, including 69 points on the opponents’ past 20 drives since the Cowboys took a 20-7 lead against the Giants in the second quarter.

Phillips always has taken pride in his defense’s ability to stop the run. The Cowboys went 19 games, dating to 2008, without allowing a 100-yard rusher. They’ve allowed four in the past five games.

The coup de grace was Sunday when Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, who was in danger of being benched prior to the game and was only starting because of injury, had a near-perfect performance in his team’s 35-17 victory. He passed for four touchdowns and had a 157.8 passer rating — just shy of a perfect 158.3, and the highest rating ever against a Cowboys defense.

Now the Cowboys face Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

It’s little wonder Phillips looked to be in a catatonic state in the postgame news conference when asked to explain the performance of the defense.

He said he had no answers. He also said the team is no longer responding to him. In the past few days, he has blamed a breakdown in fundamentals. The players are not reading their keys well. They are not tackling well and they are not playing their assignments.

“Look, this game is very simple. You get beat because there is a lack of execution, and we’re not executing,” linebacker Keith Brooking said.

Phillips has been out-schemed more than a few times this season.

Last Sunday, Brooking and linebacker Bradie James found themselves covering tight end Marcedes Lewis on touchdown throws from Garrard.

“How am I supposed to cover a tight end 40 yards down the field?” James said. “It seems like they had an answer for everything we did. No one will be getting any sleep around here.”

Another mitigating factor is that the Cowboys are not getting the performances they expected from certain players. Safety Alan Ball replaced the departed Ken Hamlin in the starting lineup in hopes that there would be more plays made by the safeties. The coaches acknowledge Ball is still a work in progress and has not been around the ball as much as they have hoped.

There also has been a regression of sorts from cornerback Mike Jenkins and linebacker Anthony Spencer, who readily admit they have not played as well as they or the Cowboys expected.

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