IRVING, Texas -- When discussing the offensive woes the Dallas Cowboys have shown in the past five games, Jason Garrett keeps mentioning execution as an issue.
Could part of the problem be the plans and not just the players' execution?
“When we talk about execution, it's not about a coach sitting high saying, ‘You need to do it better,'” Garrett said. “It's always starting with ourselves.”
They have to be more creative with how they use their pieces.
“When I hear creative, are you creating new plays, new schemes, at this time of year?” offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. “I think everybody's scheme is intact. I think you've got to tweak some things but don't think you make massive, wholesale changes right now in Week 11 as you're going down the stretch. You may add a few new wrinkles but nothing significant of the magnitude to where you're changing your entire philosophy or your offense.”
Being creative isn't throwing out the old playbook and bringing in a new playbook. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford immediately knew when Jakar Hamilton was in the game three weeks ago and attacked the rookie safety. The New Orleans Saints created matchups the Cowboys could not overcome defensively.
The Cowboys' answer to double-teams of Bryant and Witten are to throw it to somebody else. That's a win for the defense. Who would they rather see have the ball, Bryant or Witten, or Williams? If Williams is not winning on one-on-one coverage, then Romo is forced to create on his own.
The Cowboys answers to double-teams have to be about making it harder for teams to double Witten and Bryant. Putting them together on the same side of the formation helps. Putting Bryant in motion more would help.
So much of the bye week talk has been about who's calling the plays, Callahan or Garrett. That is always something of a red herring. It's easy to say but it doesn't really mean much. The plan is more important than the plan.
With a defense that is struggling, the Cowboys will have to rely on their offense.
It's up to the coaches to do their parts.
“When you have a little extra time during the bye week you can evaluate yourself maybe more fully and make more comprehensive reports and evaluations because you can sit back a little bit more than you can week to week,” Garrett said. “So you're always trying to put your team in better situations in all three phases. Most of it is about evaluating ourselves. Not so much about evaluating other people and looking for ideas. It's just evaluating what we're doing, what we're doing well and how we can do it better.”