IRVING, Texas – One of the things head coach Jason Garrett admitted as a problem area heading into the bye week was one of the more elementary aspects of the game.
"On defense, one of the things we have to improve upon is the tackling," Garrett said. "There's been a number of times when we didn't get the guy to the ground. We're in position to make the play and didn't get it done. These guys in this league are hard to tackle now. But you've got to tackle and you've got to tackle them to the ground. Too many times in the games we didn't do that."
With the extra days of practice, Garrett said it has been reiterated, but the head coach said it's not something that has been overlooked in the past.
"Well we practice tackling literally every day," he said. "Every day. Fridays we practice tackling and there are different ways to practice tackling. The biggest issues that we had in the (New England) game were getting there, making sure our angles are right and making sure we keep an edge to it and we pursue at the right level to make the tackles. We overran too many plays so we'll keep working on that. The players will see that on the tape."
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli also stressed the importance of angles when he met with the media on Thursday.
"We started all week last week reevaluating our tackling drills," Marinelli said. "And tackling comes from angles. I think the missed tackles the last couple of weeks, we've been overshooting the ball. The angles haven't been good enough. We can immediately correct that."
Against the Patriots, the Cowboys had a shot to make a tackle for loss in the second quarter but both Barry Church and Jack Crawford missed New England running back Dion Lewis, who was able to get a key first down at the 1, setting up a touchdown on the next play.
Later in the game, the Cowboys missed several open-field tackles on a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman.
"We've been on it hard about that in our drill-work," Marinelli said. "To get the guys in the right position for the angle, then you've got to get them down."
Nick Eatman is the author of the recently published *If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys, a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.*