<
>

Offense's tackling troubles have hurt Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – Based on the first quarter of the season, the Cowboys have a poor tackling offense.

You’d hope that wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s played a significant role in the Cowboys’ two losses.

The most egregious example of poor tackling came on Bobby Carpenter’s pick-six, when Tony Romo’s old pal made five Cowboys miss while weaving all the way across the field on the 34-yard interception return. The Keystone Cowboys didn’t get more than a finger on Carpenter until left tackle Doug Free got him at the goal line. The biggest hit on the play was center Phil Costa laying out Dez Bryant as the receiver was about to make the tackle at the 18-yard line.

That wasn’t the most costly display of woeful tackling by the Dallas offense this season, though. That occurred on Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis’ 20-yard interception return in the season opener, when Revis gained most of the yardage after running through an arm tackle attempt by Bryant. Every yard mattered, because Nick Folk hit the game-winning 50-yard field goal four downs later.

It’s been a point of emphasis from the coaching staff, although they haven’t – and won’t – go to the extreme of having offensive players do tackling drills.

"One of things we do with that is talk about how the defense handles the ball after they’ve created a turnover, how they carry the ball, and how they block for each other," coach Jason Garrett said. "The same thing we emphasize is: If there’s ever a turnover in practice, we want our offensive line and our receivers and our tight ends and our backs and our quarterback to go get the guy.

“Now do we give them specific tackling drills and are they over on dummies hitting them? We haven’t done that. But we’ve certainly emphasized playing it real life if that does happen in practice. It’s a really important part of it.”

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they’ve learned the hard way just how important it can be.