Adios. Arrivederci. Au revoir. It doesn’t matter in what language it is said, Jason Garrett and Rex Ryan can both expect pink slips in their stockings this Christmas. After two abominable showings on Thanksgiving Day in front of millions of turkey stuffed football fans, both the Dallas Cowboys’ and the New York Jets’ were euthanized just like the turkey the President pardoned. Both teams have proven themselves highly capable of moving the ball and both had the yardage statistics to prove it, but both teams proved once again that they lack discipline when it comes to taking care of the ball. The Cowboys also again showed tremendous lack of mental discipline getting called for two false starts inside the ten yard line on the way into score.
Lets talk Jets first. The story line all year has been that they don’t have enough weapons around Mark Sanchez to win. That is just plain nonsense. The Jets won in time of possesion, had the same number of first downs (25), Sanchez was 26-36 for 286, Shonn Green ran for 71 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry and finally, the Jets had three more total drives. The Achilles heel for the Jets though was once again an insurmountable amount of turnovers (5). I argued when the Jets traded for Tebow that if offensive coordinator Tony Sparano could work some magic that the Jets had a real opportunity this year, but that hasn’t happened and I don’t want to hear anyone say that Tebow can’t play his style of offense in the NFL. It is working in Washington (get to that in a minute), it works in San Francisco (where the mobile QB just took over after crushing the Chicago D) and it worked last year in Denver so I don’t want to hear that story ever again. And it works for Cam Newton when they run it too. Are you listening Merrill Hoge?
Sparano and Ryan have done an atrocious job of handling this situation and people can say what they want, but I will state for the record (my record that is), that I believe the only reason they haven’t played Tebow is that they didn’t want to have to deal with media mob it would have created (yes, a whole lot worse than it is now). Shame on both of them and if he doesn’t start the next week against the Cardinals then they both should be fired upon completion of that game.
How bout them Cowboys? or should I say the Mysterious Case of Americas Team and Mr. Hyde? In what has once again become the Cowboy norm, they rallied once again to make a blowout look like a close game. As a lifelong Cowboy fan, I am at rock bottom. This is worse than 1-15. This is worse than Gary Hogeboom starting. Right now they might as well start Garry Shandling because if they keep going at this pace Tony Romo will end up in traction by the end of the season. Jason Garrett was supposed to be this offensive whiz kid but he hasn’t figured out yet that his own team needs to run the no-huddle. When they have to press they make things happen because the talent they have on offense creates many mismatches when the defense can’t substitute. Anyone who has watched the last 5 games can see this, except the Head Coach. Despite 6 turnovers against the Giants when the Cowboys went up tempo they came roaring back and they did the same last night. I like Rob Ryan but his defensive philosophy fails when it comes having to play a trench warfare game. He would be the ultimate defensive coordinator for a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady lead team. Oh yeah! He’s done that already! Not to be cute, but this is football and not rocket science.
The biggest problems with both teams though lie in their schemes on offense. The Jets play calling is vanilla and when Tebow comes in to run his surprise shotgun snap run! it really is revealed in the total lack of creativity of this offense. Where it kills this team is in the red zone where they are terrible. No surprise, it is the same for the Cowboys. Last night was the first game this season that Dallas tried to hit multiple crossing routes unfortunately, two of those attempts were intercepted. Garrett’s routes focus on matchups outside the hash marks, and that is fine, but if you are going to do that then run two tight ends like the Patriots do. John Phillips is a good Tight End who gets no playing time and Jason Witten is good but he isn’t fast enough to run a seam route (yeh, we all noticed that). Again, this vanilla scheme kills the Cowboys in the red zone where they cannot score but are very good at getting called for offsides.
I want to end on a good note and say I was impressed with Robert Griffin III. He is a very young and talented QB whose teamates go all out to make big plays for (Pierre Garcon touchdown) and is learning how to lead at the highest level of play. He has a coach who understands that running the football is paramount to success and whose zone blocking scheme is creating another rookie sensation for the team in Alfred Morris. I like what they are doing with RG III, especially the read option, but I would caution him on one thing-Learn How To Slide!