FRISCO, Texas – Not a lot of happy campers around this place after the 42-10 bashing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night.
And frankly, there shouldn't be over the Cowboys' largest margin of defeat since 2010.
Not the players. Not the head coach or coordinators. And most of all not the owner, not pointing fingers or placing blame, but showing the pragmatic resolve of doing what needs to be done to make sure that rout never happens again. And not just if the now 3-2 Cowboys happen to meet up again with those 49ers, but more pointedly trying to make sure it doesn't rear its ugly head this coming Monday night in Los Angeles against the 2-2 Chargers, fresh as daisies coming off their bye and with that extra day to prepare, too.
So how about we go Jerry Jones unleashed, recounting his Tuesday morning soliloquy lasting seemingly several minutes if not more without another question asked on flagship radio station 105.3 The Fan after the loss he classified first as "disappointing," then following up with "a stunner."
Here we go in yet another vein.
Jones begins: "No. 1, one of the first things I ask myself in any situation, can we do some things different than we did against the 49ers? Can we do it? Are we capable of doing it? Do we have the players, do we have the systems in place? Should we have planned to do it, but in case we hadn't planned, can we do something different?
"The answer is yes we can We certainly can make adjustments, and we'll make those adjustments."
Doesn't sound as if the owner is wondering about effort or talent or being prepared mentally to play a game.
"Have I seen our players do the things you have to do to play that game differently if given a chance? Absolutely. We have the players, and we have systems in place to do it. We have in my mind, make no mistake about it, we have a quarterback that can get us there. So I feel very strongly there. We have coaching on both sides of the ball that can get us there. We're five games into this year. This was very disappointing. If you will, it was a stunner."
And when it was mentioned about how his team might react to this disheartening loss on such a big stage, and let's remember the Cowboys are now 10-1 after losing games over these past three seasons to this point, Jerry doubled down.
"Resolve, in a manner of speaking, we are just getting started. We did view this game as a game telling us where we are. Nobody likes where we are. And what you're asking me, what I'm asking our mirrors, what I'm asking ourselves, can we be different? Can we play different? Can we play potentially different against a team the caliber of San Francisco? And I feel strongly the answer is yes on all fronts."
Sounds like solid advice to me.
- According To Micah: In fact, Cowboys lionbacker Micah Parsons had about the same thing to say as Jones, but just on his weekly podcast, The Edge with Micah Parsons, about the Niners clubbing the Cowboys, 42-10. "Man, they had every counterattack," he said. "They just out schemed us, and that's just the truth of it. They were prepared for everything we were in. … My hats off to Kyle Shanahan and how he prepared. I definitely think he was prepared for us. I don't think we were put in position for what they have." Sounds like he might have heard whatever might have been said after the game by the guy upstairs.
- Charging Ahead: This might not be what the Cowboys want to hear heading into their Monday night game against the L.A. Chargers, coming off their bye. Running back Austin Ekeler says he is 99 percent certain to play in that nationally televised game from SoFi Stadium, his first game back since suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opener. Despite the injury in that game, Ekeler still ran for 117 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown in the 36-34 loss to the Miami Dolphins. In that game, the Chargers amassed 234 yards rushing. In the next two just 61, then 30 yards rushing, but 155 in their most recent game, a 24-17 win over Vegas. Once again, another test for this Cowboys run defense, now ranked 21st after giving up 222 yards in the loss to Arizona and another 170 in Sunday night's loss to San Fran.
- Yo, Micah: With leading tackler Leighton Vander Esch heading toward injured reserve with the severe stinger he sustained in Sunday's game against the Niners – a minimum stay of four games – the Cowboys went searching for depth at the linebacker position, working out four players and reportedly set to sign veteran 'backer Rashaan Evans, pending a physical, possibly to the practice squad until he is ready to play. Evans, though, didn't go to training camp with any team and was only on the Eagles practice squad for three days after the season opener before being released. No way he is ready to play Monday night. Sooo, my humble solution to Vander Esch's absence is moving Parsons primarily back to linebacker, his original position before the Cowboys turned him into a defensive end. The Cowboys have depth at defensive end with DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams and Dante Fowler, and if need be either Chauncey Golston or Junior Fehoko, both also having played defensive tackle. Parsons and Damone Clark, the team's second-leading tackler, to me would make a really good pair, especially since Markquese Bell is the only other considered linebacker on the 53-man roster, with the Cowboys having elevated Malik Jefferson off the practice squad the past two games.
- Briefly: The NFC Defensive Player of the Week, at the expense of the Cowboys, is Niners linebacker Fred Warner, finishing Sunday's game with eight tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one QB hit, one interception and one forced fumble, hardly more than any player can be expected to do … The other Cowboys troubling injury coming out of the San Francisco game was the sprained ankle to KaVontae Turpin, who accounted for the team's only touchdown in the game, a 26-yard reception from Dak Prescott, but hear he is being considered day-to-day, somewhat encouraging … Chargers Justin Herbert ranks third in the NFL with a 106.3 quarterback rating, and this one should attract the Cowboys attention since they had trouble with some deeper passes Sunday night and against Arizona in their only other loss: Herbert, since entering the league in 2020, is tied for second in the NFL with 34 completions of at least 40 yards and is tied for first with six completions of at least 50 yards … And how 'bout this Brandon Aubrey, nailing that 50-yarder with some wind swirling, special teams coach John Fassel calling his 14th consecutively made field goal his best of his five-game career, going on to point out, "Even on the sideline you could see it, you could hear it, 'poof,' right through the pipes, didn't waver." And there were wind conditions, going on to say how they went out midweek to kick in some wind conditions out at The Star, basically telling Aubrey don't try compensating for the wind, just "hit your ball right down the pipe," and down between the pipes it went Sunday night.
And for this week's final word, we turn again to Fassel, crestfallen after the loss of Cowboys special teams ace C.J. Goodwin with a torn pec, heading toward IR and possibly for the season. Goodwin leads the team with three special teams tackles, plays on every special teams unit and is such a leader of that group made up of mostly younger players.
Why, even after Goodwin suffered the injury against the Niners, he talked his way back into the game, wanting to go down on coverage, trying to play with one arm before the Cowboys were like, come on buddy, enough is enough.
"C.J., I mean, can't describe how big of a loss that is," Fassel says of a player who likely goes unnoticed and underappreciated by most. "On the game field, of course, you guys see that, but gosh, everything else he does Monday through Saturday. Meeting room, practice field, mentorship, that, and I mean he'll still do that, but gosh, we'll miss him on Sunday.
"That's a hard one to say, 'Hey, OK, you go do this job,' because he's just different, just very special. He's very special … very special. That one hurts. … We have other guys that can do it, but C.J. is hard to replace."
Man, hurts to hear Fassel talk about how much C.J.'s loss hurts.