OXNARD, Calif. – Head coach Jason Garrett wasn’t bashful when describing a defensive effort that left much to be desired in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Chargers.
The Cowboys allowed 395 total yards, including 111 rushing yards in the first half. The Cowboys also failed to pressure the Chargers’ quarterbacks, who didn’t throw an incompletion until the fourth quarter.
Needless to say, there were a laundry list of issues in Garrett’s mind regarding the defensive performance.
“Let’s start from top to bottom,” Garrett said. “The discipline wasn’t very good, the gap control wasn’t very good, it wasn’t very physical, we didn’t tackle very well, we didn’t run to the ball well enough, we didn’t make enough plays. We made one play on the ball that was significant, but we didn’t make any plays that made a difference in the game.”
Many of those were the same issues that plagued the Cowboys last season, when they finished last in the league in total defense.
The bright side of the defensive play was their work in close quarters. A forced fumble near the goal line recovered by cornerback
“I thought we did a good job in the red zone a couple times, forcing a turnover on the 1-yard line and then forcing them to kick a field goal when they’re inside the five,” Garrett said. “So there were some things that you can say, ‘OK, that was all right.’ But for the most part, across the board, it wasn’t what we need it to be.”
That went for more than the defense, according to Garrett.
“For that matter, the offense wasn’t and the kicking game wasn’t (what it needed to be),” he said. “So we have to, as coaches, pull back a little bit, provide some perspective on it, understand who’s playing, what their experience is to this point, all of that; but having said that, there’s plenty of stuff to work on when you watch that tape.”