- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- It's time to end this nonsense.
It's time for defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to go home. It happens to every great coach, because at some point, while they still have the smarts, the message doesn't get through.
Kiffin reminds me of some prize fighter hanging on, knowing they are a shell of themselves, but they keep fighting.
Kiffin's defense defense allowed the Chicago Bears to score on eight of nine offensive possessions in a 45-28 loss on Monday night. The only reason the Bears didn't score on every possession is because they took a knee to end the game.
And the indignity of it all came from Jerry Jones, the team owner/general manager, who said he wants more tricks and more risks from the defense.
Sounds like he wants the man whom he fired last season in Rob Ryan.
“I'm not talking about philosophy or I'm not talking about technique,” Jones said. “What I'm talking about is within what you saw out there (Monday night), there were times that we took more risk. They hit us on one when we were taking risks and actually scored a touchdown when we were taking more risk, but my quick first blush is we need to take more risks. A more conservative approach like (Monday), the results are probably going to be about the same, so we might as well try to somehow get more turnovers.”
The Cowboys have forced 25 turnovers this season.
“They gave us a lot of problems,” Jones said of the Bears. “They're a good offensive team and we suffered because of it. They took us out of our offense. That's the story of the game. But, on the short week, we've got to really turn around (for Green Bay on Sunday). What we told the players, the team's got to do it. We've got to look for a way with whatever gimmick, whatever plan that we can to get the ball and get some either turnovers or get some possessions. Did we ever stop them one time tonight? Didn't they score every time? Yeah, scored every time. That says it all. We've got to try to do something different.”
Kiffin's response: “We blitzed early, you know, and tried to get some pressure and they got the ball off and we mixed it pretty well.”
The Cowboys' defense is not good enough.
Bears quarterback Josh McCown was sacked once and hurried three times. McCown used his big receivers to tear apart the Cowboys pass defense which dropped two interceptions, one by Orlando Scandrick in the end zone. Sterling Moore intercepted a pass, but it was negated by a holding call on Brandon Carr.
The Bears had plays of 41, 37, 34 and 25 yards on Monday. Running back Matt Forte had seven receptions for 73 yards, Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 100, Alshon Jeffery caught five more for 84 yards. Former Cowboys tight ends Martellus Bennett and Dante Rosario combined for six catches for 56 yards.
“We were horrible,” middle linebacker Sean Lee said. “We lost the game. We played terrible. We got dominated. We got to figure out something if we want to get into the playoffs, we got to play a lot better starting with myself.”
Is there still a belief in Kiffin's defense?
“Why you would ask that question,” defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. "You answer that.”
The Cowboys defensive players are saying the right things.
DeMarcus Ware said he's not playing like himself and he's healthy. Lee said he needs to play better. Carr, too.
The reality is the Cowboys don't have the talent necessary to win with this defense. Kiffin needs to stop playing rookie cornerback B.W. Webb. He's not ready for this level. The Cowboys might need to sit Jeff Heath and return J.J. Wilcox to the starting lineup at free safety.
When you hear Jones talk about tricking things up and wanting more pressure on the quarterback, it reminds me of what he had here for two seasons in Ryan.
We all know Jones wanted more results from Ryan's defense, but injuries and the complex scheme were too much to handle.
Ryan, like Kiffin, is a good coach, but the old man has lost the fastball.
Time to retire. Not at the end of the season, but like right now.
“It sure wasn't a whole lot of fun,” Kiffin said. “We thought going into the game we really were going to play well, I really did.”