The football is bad in Dallas right now.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is tasked with explaining why that is the case. Right now, he’s not being dramatic, but realistic.
“Everybody is reluctant to point to your personnel because you know the way we’re going to play the majority of the season is with the personnel that we have,” Jones said during a weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. “That’s not negative. That’s not a negative statement. It’s a challenge because we are dramatically different personnel-wise than what we had anticipated having.
“I don’t need to go down through the list, but it’s a big one. Other teams in the NFL have really had dramatic personnel changes, and it has impacted their record dramatically. But that’s our game. That’s what we do. Availability is right there with ability when it comes to personnel. And so, the next question is ‘OK, but what do you do?’ You adjust, and you play with the personnel you’ve got.”
Jones added he feels good about his group’s ability and talent “to make adjustments and play football with the personnel we have.” And as Jones said, they just haven’t done it.
It’s easy to point to the absence of Dak Prescott as a massive reason for Dallas’ prime-time stinker to drop to 2-4, but it’s not that simple. The personnel couldn’t get out of its own way Monday night, when two early Ezekiel Elliott fumbles undercut any and all chances of building momentum. By the time the Cowboys were forced to put their chances on the arm of Andy Dalton, well, things didn’t go well there, either.
“Yes, we missed Dak,” Jones said. “On the other hand, we can get the most out of our team, and it could be enough with Andy Dalton. We didn’t last night. And he contributed to the turnovers early.”
Dalton didn’t play a role in Elliott’s fumbles, and threw his two interceptions in the second half with the Cowboys trailing 21-3. When Dallas lined up for the play that resulted in Dalton’s first interception, the Cowboys had a 9 percent chance of victory, per Next Gen Stats’ Win Probability metric.