Romo, Garrett and Kirk Cousins are a few of the Dallas Cowboys stories to watch this week
By Matthew Postins
The Dallas Cowboys (7-7) travel to the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Wednesday marks the traditional start to the NFL work week. So here are the five stories you should follow leading up to the game:
Jason Garrett’s job status. If you missed my Tuesday column, give it a read. I say it’s time for Garrett to go. Jerry Jones is saying he slammed the door on Garrett’s job status two weeks ago and isn’t re-opening it. But that’s not stopping everyone from the local notebook brigade to the boys at ESPN from speculating about what a loss to the Redskins might do to Garrett’s job security, especially if it’s coupled with an Eagles win and it eliminates the Cowboys from playoff contention. Should that happen, we’ll spend Week 17 and the immediate postseason on Garrett Watch. For now, expect a lot of chatter and a lot of copy about why Garrett may or may not be the right guy for the job. I’m having a hard time finding anyone defending Garrett at this point, even if, rationally, we all know it’s not entirely his fault.
The defensive train wreck. Linebacker Justin Durant is now done for the season. Jones is unsure if middle linebacker Sean Lee will be back this season. The Cowboys are working the waiver wire like it’s training camp, not Week 16. They re-signed linebacker Orie Lemon for depth, but then turned around and cut a linebacker, Cameron Lawrence, who had been pressed into service at the position due to injuries. There’s a distinct possibility that your starting linebackers on Sunday could be rookie DeVonte Holloman, veteran Ernie Sims (assuming he’s healthy) and Lemon. There’s no guarantee linebacker Bruce Carter is back this week. Cornerback Morris Claiborne has ruled himself out for the Redskins game, too. The Cowboys also added Michael Spurlock as a returner, which doesn’t inspire much faith that Dwayne Harris will be back soon. And, of course, DeMarcus Ware isn’t meeting his own lofty standards and no one is sure why. Heck, even Jason Hatcher, who played like a superstar through the Thanksgiving game, has suddenly dropped out of sight. Reporters and analysts will try to break it all down to see if the Cowboys can avoid giving up at least 500 yards of total offense for the fifth time this season. Honestly, if we’re betting the over/under, I’ll take the over.
Kirk Cousins. The second-year pro will be the third straight backup quarterback the Cowboys will face since the Thanksgiving game. Heck, if you go back to the Raiders game on Thanksgiving, Cousins will be the fourth straight. He’s no slouch, though. In his first start of 2013, Cousins threw for 381 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions against Atlanta, making him a waiver wire favorite for fantasy football owners that still have teams in the fantasy postseason (not mine, mind you, but others). Given how the Cowboys’ defense has made both Josh McCown and Matt Flynn look the past two weeks, further scrutiny of Cousins is required. The skinny – he has a pro arm, good mobility, reads defenses well and, based on his body of work at Michigan State, knows how to win. The Cowboys have given up 8 passing touchdowns in the past two games. Cousins will get a lot of attention this week. He gave us his attention this summer and here is a look back at that interview with Bryan Houston
Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins Visits with our Host Bryan Houston
Jones’ loyalty to Tony Romo. Jerry Jones said on his radio show on Tuesday and he supported Romo’s decision to throw the football, instead of running it, with less than three minutes to play in Sunday’s game, which led to an interception and Green Bay’s game-winning score. Jones might be the only person supporting Romo publicly for that throw. Heck, even Romo is saying, in hindsight, that he should have stuck with the run play. That might come up when Romo talks to the media this week, and again if the Cowboys lose on Sunday to Washington. Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio said something I agree with on Wednesday – Jones is a nice guy, and more often than not that gets in the way of him being a good GM.
The fans. Jones also said on Tuesday that he’s not worried about fan apathy in the wake of Sunday’s loss. Why? Here’s why, in reference to the Packers’ loss: “Not with games like the other day. That’s a show, if you want to look at it that way. Where there’s due, we’re there to win the ballgame and go forward and win the next ballgame.” Let’s see how Jones enjoys the empty seats he might face at AT&T Stadium should the Cowboys lose and be eliminated from postseason contention. Or, worse yet, face a crowd dominated by Eagles fans. Jones’ comments might make their way into a few stories this week.