Found August 25, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
ARLINGTON, Texas -- New Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, 73, has spent a lifetime believing that takeaways can be the result of habit, can be something within a team's control, and can be momentum-grabbing in their contagiousness.
Contagious? Yes. And his players are catching it.
"It needs to be habit if this defense is going to be great," middle linebacker Sean Lee said after Dallas' 24-18 home win over the Bengals in Saturday's dress-rehearsal preseason game featuring four Cowboys takeaways. "We need those turnovers. We practice it. 'Get the ball out.' That's big for us."
The Cowboys defense hasn't allowed a first-half TD through the four games of the preseason while also recording nine takeaways in the exhibition season and Kiffin's group, learning a new 4-3 Tampa-2 scheme, has done that despite the absence of stalwarts like cornerback Mo Claiborne and defensive lineman Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff.
"It was different," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, "being on the other side of those turnovers."
The significance of the numbers is greatly negated, of course, because much of this isn't "real football." But for a Cowboys team that now has more than half as many takeaways in four preseason games as it had all of last year (16 in 16 games), it's a start toward an effort to avoid being over-reliant on the passing talents of QB Tony Romo.
Romo had his moments here, to be sure. He was at his most sharp, retiring after a first half in which he was 13-of-18 for 137 yards, with TD passes to Miles Austin (four catches for 59 yards) and Dez Bryant (six catches for 54 yards).
"I thought we did some good things," Romo said. "It was good to finally play a half and be able to execute into the second quarter."
It was also good for Romo to benefit from a great deal of help, not only from Kiffin's defense but also from his offensive skill-position mates most notably the moment-in-the-doghouse running back DeMarco Murray.
Murray joined Romo in playing behind a makeshift offensive line that featured tackle Doug Free lining up at right guard, backup Jermey Parnell starting at right tackle and usual right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau starting on the left side. The line was part of Dallas committing zero turnovers though Murray did fumble (Dallas recovered) and was pulled from the game by coach Jason Garrett due to the error.
Murray responded brilliantly to the punishment, returning to the field in the third quarter with a mixed batch of starters and second-teamers. He rushed eight times for 45 yards on a Cowboys possession capped by his seven-yard catch-and-run for a score that featured spinning, dancing and bulling through five potential Bengals tacklers.
"We had a little in-house resolve about what we would do if we should turn the ball over," Jerry Jones said. "I think (Murray) came back with resolve and I think he still had an attitude after he finished that third quarter. I think Jason was making a point."
Points made on offense and takeaways made on defense? That's a promising Cowboys combination.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
I remember when the Dallas Cowboys drafted the play maker Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington in the forth round of the 2012 draft, and I just shook my head. I didn’t even have Johnson graded as a draft pick in 2012. I scouted small school football for years and while Johnson’s play making ability was […]
DeMarco Murray ran angry after being benched for fumbling
In an absolute jaw dropper, Head Coach Jason Garrett benched starting running back DeMarco Murray in the first quarter after he fumbled against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Murray did in fact recover his own fumble, and he even stayed on the field finishing the drive with a 7-yard pass out of the backfield. However, when the Cowboys...
The Dallas Cowboys made it clear to running back DeMarco Murray that turnovers will cost you playing time on Saturday night.
During the first quarter of Dallas’ third preseason game with the Cincinnati Bengals Murray was benched in favor of backup Phillip Tanner.
Please click here to read this story.
The post Jason Garrett to DeMarco Murray: “the ball cannot be on the ground”...
The Cowboys come in to 2013 with hopes to improve on their last two seasons that found them a win away from the playoffs only to fall short when it mattered most.Looking back over the past three seasons, the Cowboys find themselves in rare company with some of the cellar dwellers in the league.From 2010-12 the Cowboys, along with Rams, Cardinals, Panthers, Dolphins, Bills, Browns...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo was pleased with how the first-team offense performed in what is likely their final preseason game. Romo led the Dallas Cowboys on two first-half touchdown drives, the first two of the preseason for the starting unit, during a 24-18 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
"More than anything, you are always trying to build and get better," Romo...
If you can read anything from the preseason (and we all know it is dangerous to think you can), then you attempt to carefully read the one time in the exhibition season where both teams admit they are running out the starters for an elongated amount of time. And when that "dress rehearsal" week is against a team that has been in the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 and is attempting...
IRVING, Texas The Cowboys spent the offseason envisioning a return to stardom for four-time Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff.
The switch to the 4-3 is part of that; Ratliff has 27 career sacks while largely playing nose guard, and the switch to the 3-Technique position in this defense figured to free him to pile up numbers.
Also a factor: By the time the NFL season starts, Ratliff will...
Jason Witten is Tony Romo’s security blanket and get out of jail free card.
Witten for all statistics and timely catches is never really targeted in the red zone area, and he’d like that to change. Witten who had one red zone target in 2012 told ESPN that he wants the ball more in that area.
“That’s something we talked about this year, more than ever,” Witten said. “The...
Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach believes most fans don’t realize “how great” embattled Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo is. Throwing 177 touchdowns, against 91 interceptions, for 25,737 yards since debuting in 2006, the 33-year-old Romo and Dallas agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $108 million in March. “If there’s a bigger Romo fan in town, I don’t know...
Dez Bryant continued to add to his impressive preseason statistics Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
The fourth-year wide receiver caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in the first half of a 24-18 Dallas Cowboys victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. In the last three preseason games Bryant and the first-team offense have been on the field for 10 series. During that time...
Have the Dallas Cowboys finally taken steps to address a weak offensive line that has plagued the Cowboys and Tony Romo for a few years now?
Jerry Jones thinks so, and the owner is not scared to talk about it.
Jones told the Dallas Morning News that the Cowboys line is “the best that he’s seen in two or three years.”
“I think we’re better in the offensive line than any...
Jason Garrett was angry last week after watching the Dallas Cowboys commit six turnovers in losing 12-7 to the Arizona Cardinals.
“Inexcusable” he said of the sloppy performance.
On Saturday night the coach's tough talk turned into action.
The Cowboys entered their game with the Cincinnati Bengals determined to give DeMarco Murray his heaviest workload of the preseason...
Tony Romo has a good shot to get to the Super Bowl this year and his journey down that road begins first thing Tuesday a.m.