Less than two weeks ago, the Cowboys were 6-1 and sitting pretty atop the NFC East. Then, late in a Week 8 loss to the Redskins, Tony Romo went down with a back injury that will hinder him for the rest of the season, and Dallas went on to drop last week’s contest to the Cardinals to fall to second place in the division. Although the Cowboys have a good chance to right the ship today against the 1-8 Jaguars, all is apparently not well in Big D.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that 20 Cowboys players missed curfew on Friday night, and that the club’s coaches and veteran players are “frustrated.” Furthermore, Rapoport notes in a series of tweets that Dallas harbors off-the-field concerns with star receiver Dez Bryant, who is due for a massive contract extension. Rapoport notes that DeSoto City Police have been called to Bryant’s home six times in four years, for a variety of reasons, and that explains why the Cowboys were only willing to guarantee $20MM of the 10-year, $114MM extension they offered to Bryant. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes, justifiably, that this “news” regarding the frequent police activity at Bryant’s house is simply an attempt for the Cowboys to gain leverage in negotiations with Bryant. As Volin tweets, “the annual ‘smear Dez Bryant’s reputation’ campaign is here.”
In any event, the Cowboys must find some way to quickly subdue their bubbling inner turmoil lest a once-promising season gives way to another winter nightmare.
Now for some more notes from the league’s east divisions:
- The Jets, who also find themselves in disarray, recently employed what Rapoport (via Twitter) termed an “egregious example of heavy-handed coaching.” According to Rapoport, before Geno Smith threw one of three interceptions in the team’s Week 8 loss to Buffalo, the Jets coaching staff told Smith to throw the ball to Percy Harvin. Apparently, this was not a way to get the team’s new wideout more involved in the game, it was a way to try and simplify the game for Smith by dictating his reads. Looking for some way to improve Smith’s performance, an increasingly desperate coaching staff tried to play the game for him, and it predictably backfired.
- Nonetheless, Manish Metha of the New York Daily News believes a bye week coaching change would make very little sense for the Jets and that Rex Ryan has earned the right to fight with his team to the end of the season.
- There are rumors that this could be Tom Coughlin‘s last year with the Giants, and Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News writes that New York sees a future head coach in current offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
- Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com describes how the Patriots caught a break with Akeem Ayers and Ryan Wendell this season.