As noted, there wasn’t a lot to be said about this loss. The team didn’t protect Jason Campbell, didn’t get to Tony Romo, and just basically didn’t convert its opportunities. How many different ways are there to make that point?
At least a few. Here’s Coach Zorn’s effort. Wordy, and with his characteristic optimism (which was much-needed, as optimism was thin on the ground tonight):
- “We have to have an answer on some pressure. Our quarterback got hit a lot tonight, and we’ve got to have an answer there.
“Two things: one, we have to put pressure on the opposing quarterback, and then we have to keep people off of ours. I think that was the issue in the game, somewhat. It affects playcalling, from my standpoint, and also it allows the opponent to— y’know, if we can’t get to the QB, it allows him to take a little more time. It puts pressure on the DBs to cover for a long time as well.
“And yet, with all of that said, I thought we did an excellent job keeping their run game from breaking anything, forcing them to throw. And then our DBs and guys coming up with plays. We got picks tonight. We did what we needed to do on defense to win the football game. You won’t hear Greg Blache saying that, because they’ll notice some things we could do better as well, but I thought our defense battled hard.
“We even did a nice job offensively in areas. Our run game wasn’t bad, we actually got some yardage in the run game. But when you’re trying to mix, it’s hard to mix thinking about what you really can do in the pass protection schemes.
“And I think that’s where we really need to improve. Pass blocking and our route-running. If we could pass protect just a little bit more, honestly, get just a little more time, we’ll have some things open down the field.”
Most people’s assessments could be summed up much more briefly. Here’s Campbell:
- “We got the ball at the beginning of the game. We tried to control the ball more and pick up the momentum, but we never really got back into a rhythm and picked back up from where we had left off. A lot of it had to do with things we just weren’t doing.”
Here’s Pete Kendall, using a car metaphor:
- “We seem to be stalling a little bit, and we need to find a way to get it revved back up, that’s for sure.”
Rock Cartwright, stating the blatantly obvious but exceedingly true:
- “We just came up short today, and it’s kind of frustrating when you work that hard and put in so much work during the week and then come up short. We’ve just gotta score points. If we score points, we’ll win football games.
Chris Samuels, in very, very brief:
- Dallas played great. They executed when the game was on the line. They got it done and we didn’t.”
I asked Fred Smoot about what he said to Darrell Green in the pregame, and even that conversation landed in the same place.
- “I just told Darrell congrats. I also had to say to him, I had told him back before he was done with football that he was a first ballot guy, and he didn’t feel like that. So we were just talking and I was just telling him that I was gonna go out there and try to make some plays for him.
“Evidently, I didn’t do enough.”