FRISCO, Texas – Jason Garrett's most pertinent quote on Monday came after 17 minutes of conversation about the loss to Carolina.
Knee deep into a press conference about his offense's struggles to move the ball against the Panthers, the Cowboys' head coach was asked if he would consider taking over play calling duties from offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who has become a lightning rod for criticism in the wake of another underwhelming performance.
"I have a tremendous amount of faith in Scott," Garrett said. "We just have to do a better job collectively as a staff and as an offensive unit to help us move the football and score some points."
It's a testament to Sunday's performance that the question was even asked on Sept. 10, just one day after the season opener. But it was never realistic to think Garrett or the Cowboys would make such a drastic decision off the strength of one game.
Instead, Garrett said he and his coaching staff need to continue to identify what their team does well. And, once they've done that, their team needs to put it together on the field.
"You've heard me say this before, but the best offenses have a lot of things that they can get to. Givens are what we call them -- things they can call and they know they're going to have some success," Garrett said. "We don't have enough of those right now. We just have to do a better job trying to create those as a coaching staff, and then we have to execute once the ball is snapped."
For years, the Cowboys had a given in Jason Witten's famous Y Option play. This team has typically had a bevy of successful options it could call in the run game. To Garrett's point, though, it didn't feel like they had anything they could lean on in Carolina.
It's hard not to notice the troubling trend. As has already been pointed out, the Cowboys had offensive struggles in the second half of last season, and a lot of Sunday's issues looked similar. With so many different players this season, however, Garrett said it feels a bit early to conflate those two issues.
"The one game we have to evaluate is the one we played yesterday, and it wasn't good enough," he said. "So we're going to go back and work and look at it with a critical eye of ourselves as coaches and try to do our best to correct any issue that came up with our players. And then we'll try to put a good plan together this week."