Dallas Cowboys: Cole Beasley

Five Wonders: All in play for NFL draft

April, 1, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- With the NFL draft five weeks away, it seems like a perfect time to bring back Five Wonders.

On to the wonders:

Melton
• Some of you might wonder if the acquisition of Henry Melton takes the Dallas Cowboys out of the loop for Aaron Donald at No. 16 overall, considering both players would handle the three-technique role in Rod Marinelli’s scheme. Here’s why you shouldn’t wonder. You have to look at the Melton contract as a one-year deal. If he doesn’t play to the level where the Cowboys want to exercise their three-year option on him next year, then they would be back in the same situation they were in before signing Melton. The bigger question might be whether Donald makes it to No. 16 overall, but the Cowboys must be prepared to take him if he’s there. He is scheduled to visit the Cowboys before the draft. He piqued their interest at the Senior Bowl and did more of it at the NFL scouting combine. There is nothing wrong with taking a player at a position of strength (OK, if they took a tight end in the first round, then that might be overkill but more on that later). Injuries happen and you can never have enough good players.

• I wonder if this is the year the Cowboys look at a quarterback in the middle rounds, even with the signing of Brandon Weeden. The last time the Cowboys drafted a quarterback was in 2009 when they took Stephen McGee in the fourth round. The Cowboys loved his makeup but he did not develop. It should be noted that Wade Wilson is scheduled to attend the pro day of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in November but is expected to do most of the drills at the pro day. Murray is a second- or third-day selection and a player the Cowboys can have some patience with. He holds Georgia’s records in passing yards (13,166) and touchdown passes (121) and has a moxie to his game. With Tony Romo, Kyle Orton and Weeden, you can argue there won’t be enough snaps to go around, but just as was mentioned with Donald, the draft is not just about the current year. It is about future years as well. The Cowboys will go with Romo as long as they can, but Orton is in the final year of his deal, and Weeden’s contract did not include any signing bonus.

• I wonder if one of the reasons why the Cowboys say they don’t need a veteran wide receiver is in part because of tight end Gavin Escobar. The Cowboys can like Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley all they want, but there are limitations to their games. But if you add Escobar to that mix, then the Cowboys would be able to roll three players through the snaps if something happened to Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams. If it were me, I’d still look at a receiver, but the Cowboys are intrigued by the mismatches Escobar can create and are banking on new tight ends coach Mike Pope to develop him. And remember this about new passing game coordinator Scott Linehan. He had Joseph Fauria with the Detroit Lions last year. He caught just 18 passes for 207 yards, but seven went for touchdowns. Fauria is 6-7 and 255 pounds. Escobar is 6-6 and 249 pounds.

• And now on to the promised talk of a tight end. I wonder if the Cowboys need to find more of a blocking type of tight end? It’s not a sign of giving up on Escobar as a hand-in-the-ground tight end, but there are limitations and there will be limitations in the future. James Hanna filled in well enough as the No. 2 tight end most of the time to Jason Witten, but blocking is not his strong suit and the coaches were not able to design a way to use his speed. The Cowboys kept Andre Smith around for a spell last year because of his blocking, but his lack of special teams’ play hurt his chances of making the game-day roster. If the Cowboys are to look for more of a blocking tight end, then they will have to live with the fact the player might not help much on special teams.

• I wonder if the Cowboys believe Martez Wilson will be able to help them out at defensive end. He signed with the Cowboys last November and was on the field almost immediately, but he did not make much of an impact. He has the physical skills necessary to become a player at 6-4, 252 pounds. He runs well. He has some pop to him. Maybe he just needs more time with Marinelli to develop. He is just 25 and put up three sacks with the New Orleans Saints in 2012. The Cowboys liked him in 2011 but not so much as a fit for their 3-4 scheme at the time. It would be a long shot for Wilson to become an every-down player but he could be a situational pass-rusher. Given the state of their defensive line, the Cowboys have to take a look at everybody.

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 2

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
12:00
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IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we’ll discuss the next contract for Dez Bryant, adding a receiver in free agency or the draft, how much pressure is on the offense to perform in 2014, and whether the Cowboys will move up in the first round.

If you want to look at Part 1, click here.

Away we go:
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Compensatory picks could mean a lot

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
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IRVING, Texas -- As easy as it has been to rail on the Dallas Cowboys' drafting over the years, the one area where the Cowboys have consistently excelled is in finding undrafted free agents.

That is why this week’s news that the Cowboys received three seventh-round compensatory picks should not be overlooked.

With the free-agent losses of Mike Jenkins, Victor Butler, Kenyon Coleman and John Phillips, the Cowboys gained picks Nos. 248, 251 and 254 in the seventh round. Those picks cannot be traded, so in effect the Cowboys can guarantee landing their top targets in college free agency.

Last year, the Cowboys targeted Brandon Magee and Jakar Hamilton as undrafted free agents. Magee was guaranteed $70,000. Hamilton received a $10,000 signing bonus. Magee didn’t make the final roster, but Hamilton spent time on the active roster after opening on the practice squad.

The Cowboys also had Jeff Heath and Cameron Lawrence contribute as undrafted free agents. In 2012, they signed Ronald Leary and Cole Beasley. Leary started at left guard, and Beasley has developed into a valuable slot player. In 2011, they signed Dan Bailey and they signed him to a seven-year, $22.5 million extension this offseason. In 2010 they signed safeties Barry Church and Danny McCray. Church led the Cowboys in tackles last season.

Oh, by the way, Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent in 2003.

Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
12:00
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IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we talk about the possibility of trading DeMarcus Ware, and how to replace Ware. We also delve into the possibility of Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans to the Cowboys at No. 16.

Remember, if you want to be involved in the mailbag, send me a question with the #cowboysmail hashtag. Part 2 of the mailbag will be delivered on Saturday.

Away we go:
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Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 2

February, 8, 2014
Feb 8
12:00
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IRVING, Texas -- Here is Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag.

In it we discuss a draft philosophy, the Cowboys' move to the 4-3 and a possible quarterback to draft.

Away we go:

 

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 2

February, 1, 2014
Feb 1
12:00
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IRVING, Texas -- Here comes Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag.

We touch on Rod Marinelli, DeMarco Murray and the lack of positive news surrounding this team.

Remember, if you want to get involved, hit me up on Twitter (@toddarcher) and use the #cowboysmail hashtag.

Away we go:

Cowboys position breakdown: receivers

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
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Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer breakdown the Cowboys, position by position, analyzing what the players did in 2013, what they can do in the future and what the team can do to improve the position in 2014.

Under contract: Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant.

Bryant
Bryant
A look back: Bryant had a strong 2013 earning a Pro Bowl berth after leading the team in catches (93), yards (1,233) and touchdowns (13). Among the starters, Bryant emerged as the No. 1 threat on offense and Austin struggled with his hamstrings and didn't have a touchdown reception. The Cowboys kept defending Austin's commitment to the game by saying he was fighting to get on the field, but the team shut him down for three consecutive games. Williams and Beasley produced solid seasons as backup receivers. Williams scored a touchdown in four consecutive games, but he hit a rookie slump and broke out of it late in the season. Beasley should have been used earlier in the season and proved to be a reliable target for Tony Romo out of the slot.

Austin
A look ahead: This is a strong group who improved under receivers coach Derek Dooley. Bryant and Williams can only get better and if the new playcaller (Scott Linehan) likes Beasley, he can have a major impact with the offense. Harris, while emerging as a returner, is a good fit for this offensive group.

A look out: This spells the end for Austin, who most likely will be a post-June 1 cut, saving the team $5.5 million. Austin regressed last season after nearly getting 1,000 receiving yards the year before. But it's probably time to let Bryant and Williams take over as the main threats in the passing game. The only negative to letting Austin go is the lack of veteran receivers. The Cowboys have used veterans in the past to pair up with young receivers from Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams. If Austin is gone, the vet of the group is Bryant, who was criticized last season for not keeping his emotions in check sometimes. He went off in the Detroit game and walked off the field before the Green Bay contest ended. The Cowboys need a more mature Bryant on the field in 2014, especially if Austin isn't around. Maybe the Cowboys can sign a veteran for a lower salary. Austin would be a nice fit here, but it's probably time to let him go elsewhere.

Dallas Cowboys season wrap-up

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
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Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final power ranking: 17
Preseason power ranking: 20

Biggest surprise: The Dallas Cowboys did not believe they could have a worse defense than the one they fielded in 2012. They were wrong.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan lost his job after the Cowboys finished the year ranked 19th in defense and allowed 400 points. The Cowboys not only switched defensive coordinators, they switched philosophies, bringing in Monte Kiffin to run a 4-3 scheme.

It never worked.

The Cowboys allowed 6,645 yards, 432 points and failed to deliver most of the time. They were hit by injuries, just as Ryan’s defense was, and poor play from big-name players such as DeMarcus Ware, Bruce Carter, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. Sean Lee was having a Pro Bowl-type season but hamstring and neck injuries forced him to miss most of the final seven games. Only Jason Hatcher, Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church had representative seasons.

Biggest disappointment: It’s hard not to go with Ware, who had a career-low six sacks. For the first time he did not play in every game in a season, missing three games with a quadriceps strain. He also played with injuries to both elbows, a back strain and stinger. But the pick will be Miles Austin. Like Ware, he suffered through injury. He missed five games with a hamstring injury and was held without a catch in two games as he attempted to play through the strain. He finished the season with 24 catches for 244 yards and no touchdowns. It was the fewest catches he had since 2008 when he was a bit player and first time since 2007 he did not score a touchdown. The Cowboys hoped for a late-season boost when he returned but it never came.

Biggest need: The easy answer is to say upgrade the entire defense. They need help at linebacker and safety. The defensive line needs an overhaul. We talked about Ware’s status, but Hatcher, who had a career-high 11 sacks, and Anthony Spencer, who is coming back from microfracture surgery, are set to be unrestricted free agents. The Cowboys used 19 defensive linemen during the year and found solid contributions from players such as George Selvie and Nick Hayden, but optimally they play in reserve roles. The hits on the line started in April when the Cowboys passed on Sharrif Floyd, their fifth-ranked player, at No. 18 and traded down and continued when Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles on the first day of camp. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said in the offseason the defensive line was a strength. There is no way he can say that now.

Team MVP: By process of elimination it cannot be a defensive player because the unit was the worst in the NFL. DeMarco Murray would get votes for a second-half MVP. The contest comes down to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Romo missed the final game because of back surgery, but threw 31 touchdown passes and was intercepted only 10 times while throwing for 3,828 yards. Bryant earned his first Pro Bowl berth and finished with 93 catches for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns. They made big plays at big moments. They had mistakes at big moments, too. As a result, they split the award.

Dallas Cowboys penalty breakdown

January, 1, 2014
Jan 1
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys had 102 accepted penalties in 2013, which were the fewest they have had in the Jason Garrett Era, but the 867 yards were the most.

In 2011 the Cowboys were flagged 112 times for 802 yards. In 2012, they had 118 penalties for 853 yards.

In Sunday’s NFC East title game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, they were penalized once for 5 yards and it never should have been a penalty. The officials did not restart the playclock and the Cowboys were called for a delay of game.

Here’s the breakdown (includes declined, offsetting penalties):

Offensive holding - 24
False start – 17
Defensive holding – 12
Offside – 9
Defensive pass interference – 8
Neutral zone infraction – 7
Unnecessary roughness – 6
Offensive pass interference – 6
Illegal use of hands – 5
Face mask – 4
Illegal block above the waist – 4
Delay of game – 4
Roughing the passer – 3
Unsportsmanlike conduct – 3
Intentional grounding – 1
12-men on the field – 1
Encroachment – 1
Horse-collar tackle – 1
Illegal contact – 1
Offside, free kick – 1
Illegal formation – 1
Illegal shift – 1
Personal foul – 1

Player by player:

8 – Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, Ronald Leary, Doug Free

7 – Tyron Smith

6 – Morris Claiborne, George Selvie

5 – Dez Bryant, Barry Church

4 – Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Kyle Wilber

3 – Cameron Lawrence, Travis Frederick, Jarius Wynn, Bruce Carter, DeMarcus Ware

2 – Ernie Sims, Jason Hatcher, J.J. Wilcox, James Hanna, Dwayne Harris, Jason Vega, DeMarco Murray, Nick Hayden

1 – Sean Lee, Miles Austin, Will Allen, Mackenzy Bernadeau, L.P. Ladouceur, Jermey Parnell, Brian Waters, Terrance Williams, Kyle Bosworth, B.W. Webb, Cole Beasley, Lance Dunbar, Kyle Orton, Caesar Rayford

Beat Writers Report: End for Miles Austin

December, 25, 2013
12/25/13
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Following the Dallas Cowboys' dramatic 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins in Week 16, we have some random thoughts on the game and the future as we enter the final week of the regular season.

--This could be the end of wide receiver Miles Austin's career with the Cowboys. He participated in 33 snaps and wasn't a factor at all. He did make a nice 8-yard reception on a low throw from quarterback Tony Romo, but on the last drive of the game, Austin was watching until the final play. Terrance Williams (27 snaps) and Cole Beasley (13 snaps) took some snaps from Austin and rightfully so because they're making more plays right now. Austin's hamstrings are a sore subject at Valley Ranch and that could be the reason why he played only 63 percent of the snaps. If the Cowboys want to make a financial move regarding Austin, it saves the team $5 million if he's a post-June 1 cut. Williams and Beasley seem to be the future.

--If Monte Kiffin retires or is fired at season's end, his replacement might not be on the staff. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli could leave and join Lovie Smith as his defensive coordinator if the former Bears coach gets a head coaching gig. Leon Lett could slide over and become the new Cowboys' defensive line coach. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who is under fire for his team's struggles, might not be retained. Frazier should get a strong look from the Cowboys if they are in the market. Frazier was a defensive backs coach under Tony Dungy, who employed a semblance of the Tampa 2 scheme with the Colts.

Cowboys' Dwayne Harris ready to return?

December, 24, 2013
12/24/13
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IRVING, Texas – Lost amid the talk of Jon Kitna’s return to the Dallas Cowboys is apparently a much more important return for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles: Dwayne Harris.

To make room for Kitna, the Cowboys released wide receiver/return specialist Micheal Spurlock, which must mean Harris will be able to return after missing the past two games with a hamstring strain.

Harris is averaging 30.5 yards per kick return and 14 yards per punt return on the season. He had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown on Oct, 13 against the Washington Redskins and also had a 90-yard kick return. He returned from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury on Dec. 9 against the Chicago Bears, but aggravated the injury on a 43-yard return.

While Spurlock had a 62-yard punt return last week against the Redskins that set up the Cowboys’ first touchdown, the return game has struggled without Harris. Spurlock averaged just 17 yards per kickoff return versus the Redskins. Terrance Williams averaged 23.7 yards per kick return but had a fumble against the Oakland Raiders that was returned for a touchdown. Cole Beasley averaged just 6.8 yards per punt return.

Cowboys look for jump from Spurlock

December, 20, 2013
12/20/13
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IRVING, Texas -- Not long after Micheal Spurlock was released by the Detroit Lions he had a workout with the Washington Redskins, whose general manager Bruce Allen was in Tampa Bay when Spurlock played for the Buccaneers.

Spurlock
The Redskins passed, and on Wednesday he ended up joining the Dallas Cowboys, in part because of another tie to his Tampa Bay past: special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

Spurlock admits it is kind of funny that his first game will be against the Redskins.

“It was just one of those situations where it wasn’t a fit there,” Spurlock said. “It became a fit here. You move on. There’s no hard feelings at all. Just go play, and we’re trying to get a win.”

The Cowboys hope Spurlock can spark the return game that has dried up with Dwayne Harris slowed by a hamstring injury. Terrance Williams has handled the kickoff duties in Harris’ absence, but he might not play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. Cole Beasley has handled the punt returns.

In nine games for the Lions, Spurlock averaged 22.5 yards per kick return and 6.6 yards per punt return. For his career he has three kickoff returns for touchdowns, and two punt returns for touchdowns.

The Cowboys have made a late-season play for a returner before. In 2003, they signed Michael Bates in time for the regular-season finale. In the playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers he had seven kick returns for 172 yards, with a long of 41 yards.

In 2009, the Cowboys signed Allen Rossum to return kicks and punts, but he was hurt on his first return against Atlanta. The man he was supposed to replace, Patrick Crayton, had a clinching 73-yard punt return for a touchdown in the win against the Falcons.

The Cowboys are the third team Spurlock and Bisaccia have worked with together. They were together in San Diego as well.

“I’ve been around him a long time,” Spurlock said. “Shoot, out of eight years maybe six years I’ve been around him. Some stuff has changed, but after looking at the pictures and stuff, it’s pretty much the same stuff with different names. But I’m familiar with it.”

Could Gavin Escobar's time be coming?

December, 19, 2013
12/19/13
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys might be forced to become the two-tight end offensive team they thought they were going to be at the beginning of the season when they play the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Hamstring injuries could keep Dwayne Harris and Terrance Williams from the field. Neither practiced on Wednesday but Williams is the more likely of the two to play.

The Cowboys signed Michael Spurlock, but he is more of a return specialist than receiver. The Cowboys have three receivers on the practice squad -- Tim Benford, Jamar Newsome, Lanear Sampson -- but it does not sound as if one could be called up for Sunday's game.

"We have [Gavin] Escobar and we have the tight ends that allow us to absorb some of that," coach Jason Garrett said.

If Harris and Williams can't play, then the Cowboys have only three healthy receivers in Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Cole Beasley.

"Obviously that puts me in the game plan a little bit more, which is exciting for me," Escobar said. "I'm just ready to jump in there whatever the team asks for."

Escobar has only eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown on the season. After having only one catch in seven weeks, Escobar has three catches for 47 yards in the last two games. He started against the Green Bay Packers.

"Every week I'm just trying to show the coaches I can make plays whether that's the scout team or on offense and I think the past few weeks I've been doing that," Escobar said. "I think their confidence is growing in me, so I'm just trying to translate that to game time."

Cowboys add return specialist

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
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IRVING, Texas -- With Dwayne Harris not likely to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys have signed returned specialist Michael Spurlock.

Spurlock played in nine games with the Detroit Lions before he was released Dec. 9. He averaged 22.5 yards per kick return and 6.6 yards per punt return. He has played for special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers.

Harris has been slowed with a hamstring injury. He is averaging 30.5 yards per kick return and 14 yards per punt return on the season. The Cowboys turned to wide receivers Terrance Williams (kickoffs) and Cole Beasley (punts) to replace Harris, but neither has been able to break long returns.

The Cowboys have one spot open on their 53-man roster, which could be filled by the time they practice on Wednesday.

Linebacker Jonathan Stewart has been added to the practice squad, replacing running back George Winn. The Cowboys also added Orie Lemon to the active roster to help with the injuries to linebackers Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims, Sean Lee and Justin Durant, who was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a hamstring injury.

The Cowboys hope Carter, who did not play last week against the Green Bay Packers because of a hamstring injury, can play against the Redskins. Lee is likely to miss his second straight game with a sprained neck.

Late picks only part of Romo's whole story

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- At some point you would think there is not enough room for losses like Sunday's against the Green Bay Packers, that the mantel might finally run out of space.

Somehow the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo keep expanding it.

Put Sunday's loss right next to the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2006 playoffs. Nestle it up to the loss in the 2007 playoffs to the New York Giants and the crushing 44-6 season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008. Don't forget the 2010 loss to the Detroit Lions when they coughed up a 24-point lead.

[+] EnlargeTony Romo
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTony Romo's two fourth-quarter interceptions helped the Packers mount a 23-point comeback.
Romo opened 2011 with a fourth-quarter interception that led to the New York Jets' winning field goal and then in December saw an 11-point lead disappear against the Giants after Miles Austin lost a sure touchdown in the stadium lights.

And don't forget the three-interception finale against the Washington Redskins that led to the Cowboys' second straight loss in a de facto NFC East title game.

Oh, and there's this year's loss to the Denver Broncos when a fourth-quarter interception led to the game-winning field goal.

This one might not be the cruelest -- it's hard to top the Seattle loss because of the playoff significance and what it meant to the franchise -- but it is no less disheartening.

Romo was intercepted on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter to set up the Packers' 37-36 victory as the Cowboys blew a 23-point halftime lead and a 12-point advantage with 7:55 to go.

The decision to thread a pass to Miles Austin after Romo escaped an unblocked Clay Matthews and the miscommunication with wide receiver Cole Beasley will be scrutinized for the next week and even longer if the Cowboys do not make the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

The decision on the Austin throw that was intercepted by Sam Shields was a poor one. The Cowboys had a running play called, but with the Packers stacked where the Cowboys would run it, Romo threw a "smoke" route to Austin. He had to hitch because Matthews was in his way and he was unable to lead Austin, giving Shields the chance to come down with the interception.

"It was my fault for obviously putting the ball in a position where the defense could make a play," Romo said.

The Packers took the lead on the ensuing drive with 1:31 to play on Eddie Lacy's 1-yard touchdown run.

The Packers took the game seven seconds later when Beasley cut off his route and Romo threw wide, where Tramon Williams came up with the turnover after the pass was initially ruled incomplete. By the time Walt Coleman announced the reversal, Cowboys fans were headed to the exits and Dez Bryant was just about to the locker room.

"I think [Beasley] and Tony were just not on the same page on how to read the defense," coach Jason Garrett said.

Those throws will be the most scrutinized, but Romo missed a few chances to put the game out of reach earlier in the game. Twice he underthrew Bryant on deep balls that allowed Green Bay defenders to break up the passes. One pass to Bryant in the end zone in the first half was a hair too far in front. Once he underthrew Jason Witten when the tight end got behind the defense.

Garrett answered in coachspeak about Romo's deep misses, saying they needed to look at the tape but mostly lauded the quarterback's game -- 29-of-48, 358 yards, two touchdowns, two picks -- while almost ignoring just how much better those numbers could have been.

The Cowboys have not thrown deep much this year. Romo entered Sunday averaging a career-low 7.1 yards per attempt. He entered the season averaging 7.9 yards per attempt and made his name since taking over in 2006 with big plays to Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Austin and Bryant.

This season it has been different and it never was more evident than on the Cowboys' second-to-last drive that ended up in Shields' interception.

"We know what they're going to do," Garrett said. "They're going to put nine guys on the line of scrimmage. They're going to try and get you in second-and-12 and third-and-14 and get the ball back that way."

On first down from the Dallas 20, Shields was in single coverage on Bryant. Romo saw it. Bryant saw it. The chance for a big play was there, but Romo's pass was short and Shields was able to make a play. If the ball is two yards further, Bryant scores a touchdown and the aggressiveness of Garrett, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and Romo is lauded.

Instead they are criticized for not running the ball more and the loss gets added to a mantel that just never seems to get too crowded.

"I think the worst thing you can do sometimes with Dez is overthrow him," Romo said. "Obviously you would like to hit him perfectly in stride and go. Sometimes he's such a great athlete that he comes down with most of them. I look back and I wish I had one or two where I gave it a little bit more. Usually I make sure if I err it's just slightly less and he always goes up and gets it. Obviously when I look back I'll push those down the field if I have the opportunity."

Romo will have two more opportunities with games left against the Redskins and Eagles.

"Hopefully we can get better," Romo said before turning down a hallway to an elevator. "We need to get better."

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