IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have played only one game and you should not make conclusions off what happened Wednesday at MetLife Stadium. But when you factor in four preseason games and a month of training camp work, they certainly look like a better tackling team.
Jason Garrett would agree.
“Like every coach and coaching staff, we made a huge emphasis in the offseason on improving ourselves fundamentally, and tackling is line one in playing defensive football and playing in the coverage teams and the kicking game,” Garrett said. “And you have to be able to tackle. You can get guys to the spots they need to get to, you can have schemes that you like, but at the end of the day, it’s blocking and tackling. So we really try to make an emphasis on that throughout our football team.
"We worked on it during training camp. We had a lot of different drills that we used to get better at it. Again, the question always is, can you take that practice work to the field? I think, for the most part, we were able to do that. You’ve got to be able to tackle well if you want to play good defense. All the best defenses I’ve seen are made up of a lot of really good tacklers. So we keep making that emphasis, and there are no number of missed tackles that are acceptable. You don’t say, ‘Ah, we had three, that’s OK.’ Obviously, you want zero, in all phases of your team.”
Jason Hatcher missed one vs. New York. So did Gerald Sensabaugh on Ahmad Bradshaw's long fourth-quarter run. But those players made plenty of tackles and the emphasis on punching the ball out paid off when Sean Lee forced a fumble.
“If you watch that play, his instincts and his feel and his ability to be so decisive attacking the run, it was just an outstanding play,” Garrett said. “He plays with such passion and enthusiasm. We use the word ‘relentless’ around here a lot. He’s certainly that. He embodies that in everything that he does, and it showed up on that play.”