Dallas Cowboys: Jay Fiedler

Chat recap: More pressure on offense

May, 30, 2014
May 30
IRVING, Texas -- Sean Lee was a large part of Wednesday’s chat.

Everybody wants to know where the Cowboys will look for his replacement. Right now, they’ll look on campus. If they don’t like what they see during the organized team activities, they’ll look off campus.

We also talked about why Lee was practicing at all and the contractual issues that come from his injury.

Dez Bryant’s comments also came up. As did the importance of this season for Morris Claiborne. To read the full chat, click here.

But I want to expand a little on this question and answer:
Hanson (DC): As stated the offense is the way this team wins, but does the offense become more ball control trying to establish long drives with short passing game to help keep the defense off the field or do they just say heck with it and try to score 40 a game?

Todd Archer: I understand the thinking, but if you try to ball control your way through games you won't score points and that keeps other teams within a score of hitting a big play to change things. I think you have to attack early in games to get a lead and then you control it late with the running game.

In another life, I covered the Miami Dolphins when Dave Wannstedt was the coach. The Dolphins were loaded on defense with Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain, Trace Armstrong, Sam Madison, Brock Marion, Tim Bowens and Daryl Gardner.

It was the year after Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson left, and Jay Fiedler was the quarterback, Lamar Smith at running back with Oronde Gadsden and Leslie Shepherd at receiver.

That team went 11-5 and won a playoff game with a limited offense. But Chan Gailey did a great job of coaxing every little bit out of it.

With the Cowboys, I get the feeling Rod Marinelli is going to have to coax every little thing out of the defense in 2014.

And Scott Linehan is going to have to attack on offense. I don’t think the Cowboys can become a ground-and-pound type of team. Yes, that keeps the other team off the field, but it also turns potentially dominating games into close affairs. If the Cowboys look to win games 21-10 with a ball control offense, I think they would be fooling themselves.

I think they need an offense with Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams and three first-round picks on the offensive line to come out firing. The key will be early leads. That will make life easier for a defense that will need a lot of help. If they can make opposing teams one-dimensional, that’s a good thing for a defense that couldn’t really stop either dimension in 2013.

Once they build the lead, then that’s when the Cowboys need to run the ball to kill the clock. The Cowboys have had a couple of games in recent years in which they built leads but couldn’t close them out either because the offense couldn’t run out the clock or the defense couldn’t stop anybody or both (Detroit, 2010; Green Bay, 2013 come to mind).

Even if Lee didn’t get hurt, the Cowboys were going to have to win games with their offense. Without Lee, there will be even more pressure on the offense.

Tanney has another QB idol: Jay Fiedler

August, 29, 2013
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo is one of the patron saints of undrafted quarterbacks everywhere.

For Alex Tanney, hoping to be the Dallas Cowboys' third quarterback, or at least make another team’s active roster with a solid effort tonight against Houston in the preseason finale, there is another name: Jay Fiedler.

Fiedler played for five teams, most notably with Miami from 2000-04, after coming out of Dartmouth as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He posted a 37-23 record for his career, winning a playoff game for the Dolphins in 2000.

Tanney’s agent, Brian Levy, also represented Fiedler, and the two quarterbacks have become friends.

“I have nothing but respect for someone like that who’s also come from a small school and had success at this level,” said Tanney, who played at Monmouth (Ill.) College, a Division III school. “It’s a positive thing.”

The Cowboys signed Tanney on the first day of training camp. He was with Kansas City in the offseason after spending last season on injured reserve, but was cut in May. The son of a retired high school football coach, he spent two months working out in the Quad Cities, and ran a passing camp for kids before the Cowboys called.

“It was good for me because I’m teaching, I’m working, I’m demonstrating, and then you’ve got some receivers out there running around a little bit,” Tanney said.

Throwing to high school receivers is different than throwing to NFL receivers, even the ones at the bottom of a roster. But Tanney quickly impressed the Cowboys with how fast he picked up the offense and how fast he made decisions on the field. Head coach Jason Garrett has often mentioned Tanney’s instincts.

In four preseason games, he has completed 23 of 43 passes for 246 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

Tanney will likely play most, if not all, of tonight’s game against the Texans with the regulars sitting out, but he has purposely not thought about what might or might not happen when final roster cuts come Saturday.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Tanney said. “It’s such a competitive business, but there’s always 31 other team out there looking. I’ve just got to put the best product out there.”

Chan Gailey's trust in Ivy League QBs

November, 9, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Chan Gailey must have an affinity for Ivy League quarterbacks.

Gailey was Miami’s offensive coordinator with Dartmouth grad Jay Fiedler in 2000 when the Dolphins went to the second round of the playoffs.

Now in his second year as Buffalo’s coach, Gailey’s offense is led by a Harvard man, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Bills are in playoff contention.

Should Gailey have given the Princeton grad a chance during his two-year run with the Cowboys in Jason Garrett?

“Well, the UCLA guy was pretty good,” Garrett joked.

Troy Aikman went 14-11 with Gailey has his coach from 1998-99. Garrett went 4-3 to help the Cowboys salvage two playoff seasons.

A few weeks ago Aikman, now Fox’s lead analyst, asked Gailey about Fitzpatrick, which prompted the coach to say, “He’s certainly the smartest quarterback I’ve had.”

“He set that one up,” Gailey said. “That one was so easy. He said tell me about Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was just a setup. I was able to hit the ball out of the park on that one. Troy was a great quarterback and extremely smart. I was fortunate to be around some good quarterbacks in my career.”