No plans to yank play-call­ing du­ties from OC Linehan — for now

Star-Telegram - - Front Page - BY CLARENCE E. HILL JR. chill@star-tele­gram.com

Owner Jerry Jones said there will not be any more in-sea­son coach­ing changes on the Dal­las Cowboys.

Coach Ja­son Gar­rett said he has no plans of tak­ing play-call­ing du­ties away from of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Scott Linehan, at least not right now.

But the mes­sage has been re­ceived loud and clear by the ar­chi­tect of the league’s 27th ranked of­fense that in­cludes the fourth-worst pass­ing game.

No one is happy with the team’s 3-5 mark head­ing into Sun­day’s matchup against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles.

But most dis­ap­point­ing

The Dal­las Cowboys could have a lit­tle more fire­power Sun­day night against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles.

De­fen­sive tackle Randy Gre­gory and tight end Geoff Swaim are likely to re­turn from in­juries. Both missed Mon­day’s loss against Ten­nessee.

Swaim, who sprained his right knee Oct. 21 against the Red­skins, has been wear­ing a com­pres­sion sock to help al­le­vi­ate in­flam­ma­tion. He ex­pected to play against the Ti­tans but was side­lined when it was de­ter­mined his route run­ning was still lim­ited.

Gre­gory, who had mi­nor knee surgery dur­ing the bye, was lim­ited in prac­tice this week. Cowboys’ owner and gen­eral man­ager Jerry Jones is op­ti­mistic about Gre­gory’s avail­abil­ity. De­fen­sive ends David Irv­ing (high an­kle sprain) is the ab­ject and seem­ingly de­clin­ing per­for­mance on of­fense. The Cowboys al­ready can’t pass with any ef­fi­ciency. Now the run­ning game is strug­gling. They rank among worst teams in the league con­vert­ing third downs (33 per­cent), as well as scor­ing.

The Cowboys are av­er­ag­ing just 19.3 points per game, a num­ber that is buoyed by the anom­aly of the 40-7 vic­tory against the Jack­sonville Jaguars. Five times they have failed to score at least 20 points and they are av­er­ag­ing just 9.6 points in the sec­ond half.

Jones is adamant that in­ward changes at ev­ery level of the fran­chise need to be made for the team to play bet­ter if they have any hopes of get­ting back and Taco Charl­ton (shouldler) haven’t prac­ticed this week and have been ruled out. Swaim and Gre­gory are listed as ques­tion­able.

“We’ve had some other guys that have been nicked up that I ex­pect into con­tention in the NFC East.

Linehan says the of­fen­sive strug­gles start with him and his play call­ing.

“Ev­ery­thing we are about is own­er­ship and ac­count­abil­ity this week,” Linehan said. “I fully own we haven’t been good enough of­fen­sively. It starts with me. Jerry’s mes­sage very ap­pro­pri­ate. Every­body has to look in­ward not out­ward. We have to be bet­ter at our job. If that is our ap­proach as in­di­vid­u­als we will be bet­ter as a team.”

Linehan be­lieves the key to un­leash­ing the of­fense is us­ing the pass to set up the run rather than vice versa which had been their mantra.

De­spite two straight losses to the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins and Ten­nessee Ti­tans, three of quar­ter­back Dak Prescott’s four best pass­ing per­for­mances have come in the last three games, dat­ing back will be able to be in bet­ter shape to ex­e­cute,” Jones said.

In other per­son­nel news, the Cowboys ac­ti­vated re­ceiver Noah Brown and re­leased re­ceiver Deonte Thomp­son and de­fen­sive to the vic­tory against the Jaguars.

He has five touch­downs and just one in­ter­cep­tion dur­ing that span, though three fum­bles, in­clud­ing two on sacks that proved to be the team’s un­do­ing in the losses.

Linehan be­lieves the pass­ing game is some­thing they can build on as they con­tinue to in­cor­po­rate re­ceiver Amari Cooper who was ac­quired in a bye-week trade with the Oak­land Raiders.

“I think we are in a re­set mode as far as our run game,” Linehan said. “We want to get our pass­ing game, which I think has trended good the last cou­ple of games, in a po­si­tion where we can create big plays and have the run game as some­thing we can lean on through the game, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.” back Tre­ston De­coud. They are also ex­pected to sign re­ceiver Lance Lenoir off the prac­tice squad. A ham­string in­jury has kept Brown on in­jured re­serve since train­ing camp.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Cowboys of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Scott Linehan, right, is tak­ing full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the strug­gles on of­fense.

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