Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones may not be the temperamental control freak that the late George Steinbrenner was with the New York Yankees, but he’s also not one to put up with substandard play. Following an embarrassing performance by the Cowboys in a 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football he put his players, coaches and anyone else concerned on notice saying he was ‘disappointed’ and strongly implying that if things didn’t improve that heads would roll.
The owner’s biggest issue wasn’t so much the loss but the completely non competitive way in which his team went down. Quarterback Tony Romo threw a career high five interceptions and the Cowboys’ rushing game did nothing to bail him out as they gained only 41 yards. At the same time the Dallas defense did nothing to put pressure on Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler who sliced up the secondary. Even the team’s lone area of achievement–Dez Bryant had a career high 105 receiving yards–had its downside. Bryant dropped several balls and misread the coverage on several occasions.
Jones is a talkative guy most of the time but his words after this game were very measured. The message they conveyed, however, was a very significant one:
“Let me say this … I know this: I couldn’t be more disappointed. Frankly, I’m surprised we didn’t play better.”
Translation: Win now, or else.
Jones had some specific criticisms as well, pointing out how the Bears took care of the football ‘and we didn’t’. That was a direct shot at Romo who basically responded that he’s going to try and do better going forward. Bryant, for his part, was well aware of his miscues and made the same pledge. Tight end Jason Witten took essentially the same line of criticism as his mercurial owner:
“I’m disappointed and frustrated we didn’t execute better. We knew the style of defense they would play. You can’t turn the ball over and win in this league. We know the stats.”
The Cowboys started the season in a very promising manner as they beat the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in their first game. They scored 24 points on that night. In three games since they’ve scored only 28 points. Jones used this fact to take another shot at Romo saying “We all see what happens when your quarterback tries to do too much.”
Dallas has a much needed bye this week but won’t have it easy upon their return to work. The Cowboys will play next against the Ravens at Baltimore.