By avoid­ing the me­dia, Line­han did him­self no fa­vors Satur­day night

Star-Telegram - - Sports - BY MAC EN­GEL ten­[email protected]­gram.com

Dal­las Cow­boys of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Scott Line­han is an NFL vet­eran who has been a head coach be­fore, so he has to know how bad this is go­ing to look.

He didn’t care. After the Cow­boys’ 30-22 play­off loss in Los An­ge­les, Line­han was on his cell phone as he walked up the ramp at the L.A. Me­mo­rial Coli­seum while his col­leagues and play­ers talked to the me­dia to ex­plain the de­feat.

After Line­han hung up the phone, I asked him if he had a sec­ond. He said he didn’t, and he walked up the ramp.

A man of this ex­pe­ri­ence, and in this po­si­tion, has to stop and an­swer a few ques­tions, whether they are from me or some­one in my po­si­tion. After all, his play­ers did. His fel­low as­sis­tants on the other side, namely de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli, did.

It’s not about what Line­han would say, be­cause none of his words could pos­si­bly sa­ti­ate irate Dal­las Cow­boys’ fans. As a leader of the of­fense, he just has to stand and take it for two to three min­utes. That’s part of the job.

Line­han is a nice, de­cent guy who is good at his job, but to take such a path after such a game is a ter­ri­ble call.

It looks cow­ardly, and un­pro­fes­sional. Don’t make the rest of the team do it while you duck out.

After Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parker missed the po­ten­tial

game-win­ning field goal in the play­off loss to the Philadel­phia Ea­gles last week in Chicago, he stood there in front of the me­dia for a few min­utes. It’s sim­ply part of the job.

Of course Line­han would not want to stop to dis­cuss how his of­fense was pushed and shoved around by the Rams. Of course he would not want to an­swer why some of the mo­tion and cre­ativ­ity that was present in the play­off win over the Sea­hawks looked ab­sent against the Rams.

Of course Line­han did not want to ex­plain the play call to run Ezekiel El­liott right into the mid­dle of the Rams’ de­fense on 4th-and-1 to start the fourth quar­ter when it was a one-score game.

Of course he would not want to an­swer a ques­tion why the quar­ter­back he wanted to run the ball didn’t at all un­til just un­der six min­utes re­mained in the game.

In de­fense of Scott Line­han, his of­fen­sive line was man­han­dled. When your line is beaten up so rou­tinely and badly, your play call­ing changes. The Rams sold out to stop El­liott, and the Cow­boys ei­ther did not, or could not, ad­just well enough.

Zeke ran the ball 20 times for 47 yards. Dak Prescott threw for 266 yards and a touch­down, but many of his yards came after the team fell be­hind 23-7 in the third quar­ter.

The Rams put it on the Cow­boys’ pass­ing game, and in the first half, other than one throw to Amari Cooper, it could not do it. The Cow­boys’ pass­ing game could not keep pace with the Rams’ run­ning game.

In de­fense of Line­han, the Cow­boys ac­tu­ally scored more on Satur­day night than they did on av­er­age dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son; they av­er­aged 21.2 points dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, and they scored 22 against the Rams.

In de­fense of Line­han, the Cow­boys were sim­ply beaten by a bet­ter team on

IN DE­FENSE OF SCOTT LINE­HAN, HIS OF­FEN­SIVE LINE WAS MAN­HAN­DLED. WHEN YOUR LINE IS BEATEN UP SO ROU­TINELY AND BADLY, YOUR PLAY CALL­ING CHANGES. THE RAMS SOLD OUT TO STOP EL­LIOTT, AND THE COW­BOYS EI­THER DID NOT, OR COULD NOT, AD­JUST WELL ENOUGH.

their field. Good teams do that to op­po­nents.

In de­fense of Line­han and his of­fense, the Cow­boys’ de­fense was atro­cious on Satur­day night.

Now here is Line­han’s re­al­ity: The Cow­boys just lost in the di­vi­sional round again, and while they like their core, and much of their team, they will not re­main sta­tus quo.

The Cow­boys are go­ing to change some­thing, and Line­han is an easy can­di­date to go. He knows it, even though his con­tract does not ex­pire un­til after the 2019 sea­son.

Cow­boys coach Ja­son Garrett is a Scott Line­han fan, and he used some cap­i­tal with the boss man, Jerry Jones, to bring Line­han to the Cow­boys in 2014 as the pass­ing game’s co­or­di­na­tor.

But the over­all weak­ness of the 2018 Dal­las Cow­boys is Scott Line­han’s depart­ment.

Ul­ti­mately, he is not re­spon­si­ble for all of it but he is ac­count­able.

And for him to put it on ev­ery­one else to ac­count for it after the sea­so­nend­ing loss was a ter­ri­ble play call. Mac En­gel: 817-390-7760, MacEn­gelProf

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