Three thoughts on the Cowboys' 26-21 loss to Green Bay

Three thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys following Sunday's 26-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

  • I think everyone at Valley Ranch has expected defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to depart from the moment his best friend Lovie Smith took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. Jason Garrett can’t miss on this hire, whether it comes from outside the building or he promotes a guy such as linebackers coach Matt Eberflus. Marinelli did a terrific job and the Cowboys need to build on it.

  • I think the Cowboys find themselves in a similar situation as the Cowboys of the early 1990s. They have a lot of pieces on defense but until they get a dynamic pass-rusher they’re not going to be able to play championship defense. The San Francisco 49ers are talking about making sweeping changes. Would they trade Aldon Smith? The Cowboys need a pass-rusher the way those Cowboys needed Charles Haley.

  • I think DeMarco Murray gives this offense a toughness, edginess and a physicality that can’t be easily replaced. He also has a trust and rhythm with the offensive line that can’t be taken for granted. He’s not a special player, but he’ll be a lot more difficult to replace than many think.

Key stat: 1

The Cowboys sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers one time in 35 pass attempts, which is a big part of the reason the Packers were 9 of 14 on third down.

Rodgers' strained left calf made it hard for him to maneuver in the pocket and pretty much impossible to run, which is among his best assets.

Still, the Cowboys couldn’t sack him. They pressured him, and hit him a couple of times, but they never really made him uncomfortable on a regular basis.

Player to Watch: Terrance Williams

After being a non-factor for a couple of months, Williams showed us in the last five games why he’s a big part of the offense.

He’s a dynamic player who stretches the field and has a knack for finding the end zone. With Dez Bryant seeing so much double coverage, Williams is the kind of player who can punish teams deep when he gets single coverage.

In the Cowboys’ last five games, Williams has receptions of 38, 53, 51 and 76 yards (while drawing pass interference penalties of 15, 26 and 40) and five touchdowns.

A player like that needs the ball in his hands. Some how, some way.