Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones effectively gave head coach Jason Garrett a vote of confidence for the remainder of the season in October, but Jones' frustration was palpable after the Cowboys suffered a 13-9 defeat to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Jones zeroed in on special teams after Brett Maher missed a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter and Chris Jones had a punt blocked on Dallas' next drive.
The blocked punt set the Patriots up with a short field. They only needed to go 12 yards for what proved to be their only touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Tom Brady to N'Keal Harry.
Football writer Warren Sharp pointed out another instance where special teams was a problem:
Warren Sharp @SharpFootball
Every kickoff was short to the end zone that Dallas received that final Pats kickoff. The Cowboys coaches still had Pollard standing in the end zone. Kick was short, he sprinted out to the 20 to try to field it, but it bounced past him & he had to field the free ball at the 10. https://t.co/nYdUhT3Qsw
Garrett also made a questionable decision to kick a field goal from the Patriots' 11-yard line with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter. In a game where the weather made things difficult for both offenses, going for it on 4th-and-7 may have been the better approach since Dallas still needed a touchdown to take the lead.
While Jones didn't specifically name a coach who had drawn his ire, the implication was obvious from his comments.
Garrett's contract expires at the end of the year, which would allow Jones to easily make a coaching change in the offseason if he wanted to go in a different direction.
Some may argue the Cowboys can't afford to wait that long, however, in order to stay in position to make the playoffs.
Dallas still has a one-game lead on the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Seattle Seahawks, in the NFC East. Philadelphia could plausibly overtake the Cowboys for first place since it closes the regular season with games against the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Giants, the last of whom it plays twice. The Cowboys and Eagles meet on Dec. 22 in a matchup that could decide the division.
If nothing else, Jones indirectly strengthened the notion Garrett is a lame duck until the Cowboys can start a coaching search in the winter.