Deion Sanders refused to give the names of those he blames for the Dallas Cowboys’ flaws, but he confirmed that Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett are not on his list.
While doing a local radio interview Thursday, the Hall of Fame cornerback discussed why the Cowboys haven’t had recent success.
“Jerry’s not the problem,” Sanders said on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. “I think some of the players are the problem, but you won’t call them out. Tell me, was Jerry the problem on the field in Washington? What was the problem?”
Sanders, an NFL Network analyst, then said he wasn’t calling out the “big name” players like Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware because that would be “too easy.” Instead, he focused on “some role players” that “aren’t playing their roles.”
“You don’t have that many Geronimos or Lone Rangers on the Dallas Cowboys,” Sanders said. “You got a bunch of Tontos. A bunch of Tontos, not too many Lone Rangers that are really riding the horse and calling the shots and able to put it down on the field when it’s time to put it down.”
Well, who is responsible for coaching those players? Who is responsible for bringing those players in and allowing them to wear a Cowboys uniform? Sanders doesn’t seem to think those questions reveal the answer to Dallas’ three-year playoff drought.
“That’s the same owner that put you in that luxurious stadium over there,” Sanders said. “That’s the same owner that got you three Super Bowls. That’s the same owner that’s got a plethora of guys going to the Hall of Fame and has glamorized these guys, and these guys are still part of this organization. That’s the same owner. So you got to take the good with the bad.
“The only thing I have a problem with is when the Cowboys win you don’t give Jerry the credit, but when they lose you give him all the blame.”
Since Sanders isn’t placing any blame on Jones, let’s see why Garrett isn’t the problem. After all, Prime Time thinks Garrett should still be the team’s play caller.
“Statistically, Jason Garrett has had this offense in the top five, top 10 since his tenure,” Sanders said. “Statistically, that’s with 32 flavors in the NFL. Check the stats.”
OK, here they are: In Garrett’s first year as offensive coordinator the Cowboys finished third in total offense. They then finished 13th in 2008, second in 2009, seventh in 2010, 11th in 2011 and sixth in 2012.
“You can’t have a problem with him calling the plays and being the head coach when you got Sean Payton doing the same thing [in New Orleans],” Sanders said.
When it was mentioned that Payton has won a Super Bowl ring, Sanders quickly pointed to the Saints having Drew Brees as their quarterback.
Sanders said Garrett has done well with the offense other than “maybe once or twice this season when you question his play calling.” He then added: “But other than question his play calling, I think you question the players.”
When the conversation moved to the Cowboys’ defense, Sanders said he is a Rob Ryan fan. He said the players liked Ryan but just didn’t do what they were supposed to do in crunch time.
Replacing Ryan with Monte Kiffin isn’t the best move in Sanders’ opinion, but it’s not because Kiffin is 72 years old. Adjusting to the Tampa-2 defensive scheme is something Sanders said will be “a two-year process.”
“The thing about it is: Does the Cowboys’ personnel fit what he’s doing? And I don’t think so,” Sanders said. “So, I don’t know where you’re going with that in the long run because you’re just getting to the point where this defense is responding.”
Sanders is so high on the Cowboys’ defensive talent that he said they were only two or three players away from being as good as the San Francisco 49ers’ defense, arguably the NFL’s best.
But he admits Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne aren’t the right players for a Tampa-2 system that calls for its corners to come up and make plays against the run.
“Their shoulders aren’t made for that,” Sanders said.
What their shoulders are made for is defending the league’s athletic receivers and attempting to prevent big plays. Their skills are a better fit for the scheme the Cowboys were running under Ryan.
“He had two years to do work and the defense was climbing,” Sanders said of Dallas’ former defensive coordinator. “They were ranked in the top 10 the whole season, until the end.”
It’s not the first time Sanders delivered some controversial opinions, and it probably won’t be the last. Feel free to agree or disagree with his views in the comments section below.