The Dallas Cowboys have no plans on making a change at defensive coordinator even though Monte Kiffin's unit is on a feverish pace to be one of the worst in NFL history.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he believes Kiffin is still the right man for the job heading into Sunday's must win game against the Green Bay Packers.
And so does head coach Jason Garrett despite the Cowboys latest embarrassing defensive performance in last Monday's 45-28 loss to the Bears. Chicago scored on every possession and totaled 490 yards.
"Absolutely," Garrett said regarding his continued belief in Kiffin. "Well, we just have to go back to work. We have to look at what happened in the ballgame. There were some technical things. There were some scheme things. We just have to make the necessary corrections. A couple of different times in the year we've had some bad games and games where we didn't do what we needed to do on defense and we made the corrections and we played better. We simply have to do that again."
The 73-year-old Kiffin wasn't very convincing when he was asked if he was the right man for the job.
"I don't know. I'm here right now," Kiffin said. "I've got to be the right guy right now. I can't get into all that."
Kiffin's defense is on pace to finish as the second-worst defense in NFL history, behind only the 2012 Saints. The Cowboys have allowed 5,549 yards, putting them on pace to allow 6,829. They have the fifth-, ninth- and third-rated offenses left.
But the embattled coach said he had no thoughts or plans of quitting.
"Not really. I don't think so. Hadn't really thought about that," Kiffin said. "I would say that would be kind of like a player saying, 'Let's throw it in, let's throw in the towel.' Or like telling your players, 'Don't play that hard anymore. Let's give it up.' It ain't happening."
The Cowboys' pass defense entered the Bears game ranked 31st. They left ranking 32nd as the Eagles allowed only 148 yards to the Lions in snowy Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Cowboys have allowed 3,880 passing yards, only 14 yards from the third-worst pass defense in team history. They are on pace to allow a team-record 4,775 this season. The NFL record is the 4,796 passing yards the 2011 Green Bay Packers allowed.
The big question is what gives the Cowboys confidence that Kiffin can turn things around over the last three games, which are all must wins if they hope to make the playoffs, starting Sunday with the Packers.
"Like I said earlier, I think at different times we've responded well to these kinds of games," Garrett said. "And that's happened over the course of this season, where teams have had a lot of yards, they've scored a lot of points, and we've gotten back to work and made adjustments that we think would help our football team, and we've played better. So we've simply got to do that again. It's happened a couple times, like I said, and we just got to make sure down the stretch we do the same thing and it impacts our play. Well, we're certainly in this situation that we're in, and the challenge is for us to simply do that, as players and as coaches. So the opportunity is going to happen at 3:25 on Sunday afternoon against the Packers."
Kiffin said he remains confident because he has no choice and that's the only way he knows how.
"That's the only way you coach,"Kiffin said. "That's the only way you play. You can't say, 'Oh my gosh, we're in trouble now or whatever.' No. We've been through this thing before. It's not our first time. We played a couple of good games then we seem to come back to that third game jumps up and gets us. Now we've got to bounce back again. That's all we can do."
SERIES HISTORY: 25th regular-season meeting. Series tied, 12-12. Green Bay has won the last two and three of the last five. Green Bay won the last meeting 45-7 in 2010.
--Defensive end George Selvie and cornerback CB Orlando Scandrick plan to appeal fines for illegal hits they were flagged for in Monday night's game.
Scandrick was fined $21,000 for an unnecessary roughness penalty on Bears receiver Brandon Marshall in the fourth quarter. Officials ruled it a hit on a defenseless receiver.
Selvie was fined $15,750 for a roughing-the-passer penalty on Bears quarterback Josh McCown for a hit below the knee. He was not fined for a 15-yard penalty he received in the third quarter for making contact with McCown's head.
--The Cowboys have had a hamstring issue all season. The Cowboys have had 10 different players with hamstring injuries. The Cowboys plan to study what's going on to see why they are happening and how they can be prevented.
"We have to look at how we're practicing and some of the things we're doing in our strength and conditioning program," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday. "We always try to evaluate that. We try to do good analysis of that along the way. We've had too many of them, there's no question about that. They happen all around the league - I get that. But we have to keep doing our part and our evaluation to how we can eliminate them the best we can.
"Sometimes it has to do with the workload and how much running we're doing," he said. "You do look at how we're warming up on all those days. Some of it is on the player to make sure they continue to warm up and stay fresh over the course of a game, depending on what the circumstances are. I don't know if there's anything you can pinpoint and say this is the reason. If there was, we would've addressed it and had it cleaned up a long time ago."
--Owner Jerry Jones suggested that the Cowboys need to be more aggressive on defense in hopes of changing their fortunes.
It's ironic because the Cowboys fired coordinator Rob Ryan after last season because he gambled too much and hired Monte Kiffin because his schemes were simpler and more fundamentally sound.
But the Cowboys haven't stopped anyone this season and Jones thinks they need to gamble more.
"We can do some things different out there," Jones said. "It's not as safe, but it could be more effective maybe - get us a turnover when it might have made a difference and change the tide out there. I'll assure you that we'll be doing some different things up against Green Bay that'll be a little different cast of players out here against Green Bay."
Jones said he is not calling for a philosophy change on defense.
"No, no, I'm not at all. I'm not talking about philosophy. I'm not talking about technique," he said. "What I'm talking about is within what you saw out there tonight. There were times when we took more risks. They hit us on one when we were taking more risks and then actually scored a touchdown when we were taking more risks. My quick first blush is we just need to take more risk. A more conservative approach like tonight, the results are going to be the same. So we've got to somehow try to get more turnovers."
Kiffin agrees with Jones.
"We're not stubborn," Kiffin said. "You don't say, 'Boy, I tell you one thing, I tell ya, this things going to work, I tell you right now.' You don't do that as a coach. That's being a stubborn coach. We won't do that. We're looking at things yeah. Jerry's right. Good golly, you've got to change it up, you've got to come after them. You can't let that quarterback stand back there all day. There's no doubt about it."
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Number of hamstring injuries affecting the Cowboys.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have expectations. Our team has confidence. Our coaches have confidence. I know Jerry (Jones) and I have confidence that we're going to do what we have to do and we're going to get in these playoffs. Not only get in, but make a difference." -- Vice-president Stephen Jones on the Cowboys' playoff chances.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--DE George Selvie has six sacks this season but just one since Oct. 20 and none the past four games. He also has just four pressures the past four games.
--WR Miles Austin has just four catches the past three games combined since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three games. After notching 10 catches in the season opener, Austin has just nine catches in six games since. He has missed a total of five games. Two games he went catchless.
--WR Dez Bryant leads the Cowboys with 70 catches for 908 yards and 10 touchdowns but he has not had 100 yards receiving in the last six games and caught just two passes for 12 yards against the Bears last Monday.
--DE Edgar Jones said he will play Sunday against the Packers. Jones returned to practice Wednesday, activated from the injured reserve/designated to return list. The Cowboys will have to make a roster move Friday or Saturday to get him on the 53-player roster for Sunday's game. Jones, who the Cowboys received in an Aug. 31 trade with the Chiefs, had sports hernia surgery Oct. 18. Jones played in the first four games, but he took only four snaps in the first two games while learning the defense. He played 62 snaps in Weeks 3-4. Jones has five tackles and three quarterback pressures.
--LB Sean Lee was limited in practice on Wednesday and plans to play against the Packers on Sunday. An MRI revealed no structural damage after he suffered a neck strain against the Bears on Monday.
--LB Bruce Carter (hamstring) has not practiced all week and is not expected to play against the Packers.
--CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) has yet to practice this week and could miss his second straight game.
--WR Dwayne Harris (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. But he has not ruled himself out of the Packers game. He expects to try to run on Friday and see what he can do. He aggravated a hamstring injury against the Bears on Monday night.
The plan for the Cowboys is simple. They have to win games on offense and try to outscore the opposing teams. There is no confidence that the defense will stop the Packers. Look for quarterback Tony Romo to be aggressive and try to put up points. The Cowboys have scored at least 30 points in five of six games at home this season and the lone time they didn't they scored 27.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Packers RB Eddie Lacy vs. Cowboys run defense -- With Matt Flynn at quarterback, the Packers are relying heavily on Lacy. He has 227 carries for 887 yards and seven touchdowns this season, including eight games with at least 20 carries. The Cowboys are 28th in run defense and will be playing with an injured Sean Lee at middle linebacker. The Cowboys have allowed at least 140 yards on the ground in five of the last six games.
--Packers WR Jordy Nelson vs. Cowboys CB Brandon Carr -- Nelson remains the Packers go-to receiver and is having a solid season with 67 catches for 1,046 yards and seven touchdowns. But he hasn't had a touchdown in six games, coinciding with the injury to QB Aaron Rodgers. If Nelson is to get back on track, it will come against the Cowboys who have the league's worst pass defense. Brandon Carr has gone from one of the league's top corners to one who is giving up plays and yards on a weekly basis.
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