Jerry Jones eyes tricks after firing gimmicky Ryan

Jerry Jones fired Rob Ryan last season because his former

defensive coordinator’s scheme was too gimmicky.

Now the Dallas owner says gimmicks are what the Cowboys need

with a defense that may go down as the worst in franchise

history.

Monte Kiffin’s new 4-3 alignment and the players trying to run

it simply couldn’t stop backup quarterback Josh McCown in Chicago’s

45-28 win over Dallas on Monday night. McCown had four touchdown

passes and a rushing TD and the Bears scored on their first eight

possessions before McCown took a knee to end the game.

”We’ve got to look for ways to come up with whatever gimmick,

whatever plan that we can to get us the ball and get some turnovers

and get some possessions,” Jones said. ”Did we ever stop them one

time tonight? They scored every time. That says it all.”

Jones offered support for Kiffin on his radio show Tuesday, but

the mounting evidence suggests the owner’s biggest change of the

offseason isn’t working.

Dallas became the fifth team since 1991 to allow an opponent to

score on the first eight possessions, according to STATS. The

previous three teams won five games combined.

Somehow, the Cowboys (7-6) still control their playoff fate with

Green Bay visiting Sunday, although they’re a full game behind

Philadelphia (8-5) in the NFC East for the first time this

season.

”It feels like you’ve got to win out is what it feels like,”

quarterback Tony Romo said. ”It’s felt like that for a few

weeks.”

With five games of at least 490 yards allowed, the Cowboys have

tied the 1965 Houston Oilers and 1950 Baltimore Colts for the most

since 1950. They’ve set NFL records by allowing four quarterbacks

to pass for more than 400 yards and surrendering 40 first downs to

New Orleans in another humiliating loss, 49-17 a month ago.

In a twisted way, Dallas is used to bouncing back from horrid

defensive games.

The Cowboys beat Washington after giving up 517 yards in a 51-48

loss to Peyton Manning and Denver, rallied past Minnesota after

Detroit put up 623 yards. They produced a clutch winning drive at

the New York Giants after having their bye week to ponder Drew

Brees and the Saints going for 625 yards.

Now Dallas has a short week to get ready for the Packers, who

could have Aaron Rodgers back. He has missed six games with a left

collarbone injury.

”We’ve had a couple of these games this year,” coach Jason

Garrett said on his radio show Tuesday. ”Whether it’s what we’re

doing with our scheme, our personnel, what we’re asking guys to do,

we’ve just got to make sure we get that done and we’ve got to get

that done quickly.”

Healthy or not, the Cowboys couldn’t stop the Bears. Chicago

scored touchdowns on its first two drives with Sean Lee back at

middle linebacker after missing two games with a hamstring issue.

He went out later with a neck injury and his status is uncertain

for the Packers game.

Health hasn’t always been a gauge for the Cowboys.

Dallas won both games without Lee and shut down one of the

league’s best running games in a victory over Oakland.

Philadelphia’s only game without a touchdown was a 17-3 loss to the

Cowboys when Dallas was missing defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

So the Dallas defense is hard to figure, but there is one brutal

bottom line. With three games left, the Cowboys are just 138 yards

shy of the team record of 5,549 yards allowed last season.

”The system’s there,” Lee said. ”It has everything to do with

just executing properly. Gave up way too many big plays. Didn’t get

off the field on third down. Basic stuff. Didn’t do it.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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