Reach For The Phone, Jerry

December 14th, 2016



The flex darlings of the NFL are catching the Cowboys at exactly the right time.

Before the calendar flipped to December, a trip to Jerry’s World had the look of a terrible matchup for the Buccaneers. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, operating behind the league’s premier offensive line, figured to own the day and put the Bucs in their place.

Times have changed.

Just when Tampa Bay’s defense has emerged as a dynamic force, the Cowboys have lost their mojo.

Suddenly, this has the look of a winnable game for the Bucs. And if Tampa Bay springs an upset, a sixth consecutive victory will match the longest winning streak in franchise history.

Vegas oddsmakers quickly established Dallas as a 7-point favorite, and that’s understandable. The Cowboys are 0-2 against the Giants and 11-0 against everyone else.

The Cowboys are sixth in scoring offense and fifth in scoring defense, but there is a palpable sense of dread in Big D as the Bucs head to town.

Prescott, the fourth-round draft pick who looked so poised for so long, is now gazing over his shoulder pads. He’s more worried about being sacked by Tony Romo than by Gerald McCoy.

That’s a good thing for the Bucs, who need to get their mediocre ground game in gear to finish out the regular season in style.

Both teams are struggling on offense, but Jameis Winston is playing free and loose while Prescott’s grip on the starting job appears tenuous.

Offensive Freefall

Dallas has scored only 24 points in the past two weeks, undermined by five turnovers and six sacks. In that span, the Cowboys have converted only 2-of-24 on third down.

Romo, who missed the first nine games with a compression fracture in his back, is warming up in the bullpen. He’s waiting for the signal from Jones — and that’s a major problem within the Dallas organization.

Jerry’s calling the shots here instead of Jason Garrett, who just happens to be the favorite for Coach of the Year honors. After each game, the Dallas media flocks to Jones for insight into what is really going on with America’s Team.

Anybody here seen any recent quotes from the Glazer brothers? Didn’t think so.

If the Bucs take an early lead Sunday night and Prescott isn’t sharp, the chants from Romo’s supporters will fill cavernous AT&T Stadium.

Romo hasn’t thrown a pass since Thanksgiving Day in 2015. If Romo appears under center, McCoy and company need to show him these aren’t the same old Bucs.

“You can make it as simple or as complex as you want to to make it,” Garrett says of the brewing quarterback controversy. “It’s pretty simple for us — Dak’s going to play quarterback as we go forward.”

Garrett’s public support for his rookie is commendable, but Jones signs the checks … and he keeps holding the door open for a Romo return.

Cracks Showing

Prescott’s passer rating against the Giants Sunday night was 45.4, fueling a debate that seemed silly only a few weeks ago. It’s not silly anymore and it’s up to Tampa Bay’s surging defense to make Jones squirm in the owner’s suite.

The Cowboys like to control the clock and tempo by beating you up in the trenches, where they could send three offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl. Linebacker Sean Lee, coming off a franchise-record 22 tackles against New York, is the best defender for coordinator Rod Marinelli, the former Buc assistant who helped Warren Sapp forge a Hall of Fame career.

While Buc fans are stoked about this matchup, Dallas fans are apprehensive. Cracks are showing in those silver-blue helmets as a national TV audience prepares for the drama to unfold.

The Glazers will be in their box and Jerry Jones will be in his suite. If Jones reaches for the phone to the field, it will signal a very good night for the visitors.

22 Responses to “Reach For The Phone, Jerry”

  1. Ben the Ga Buc Says:

    I hope Jerry lives another 20 years. As long as he lives, the Cowboys won’t see another Super Bowl. They definitely won’t this year.

  2. DB55 Says:

    Advice from giants fans to Bucs:

    Just need to almost allow elliot to have his game that’s what everyone was doing wrong focusing on him and letting Prescott have his way.. not going g to happen.. the last three weeks everyone has figured it out.

  3. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    Optimistic homerism, perhaps, but I have a funny feeling Doug Martin is gonna have a “return to 2015 form” game if the Bucs don’t get behind early on. He’s getting healthier, and he’s due for a big game.

  4. DB55 Says:

    Luckily Jameis can carve up the Tampa Two. Dallas def is soft.

    Kwon played Prescott in the SEC so hope he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. As long as Optimus doesn’t “slip” in coverage and Tandy & McDougle hold it down and don’t get beat we should be able to control their offense.

    Jameis needs to score 30+ to win. Lord help us.

  5. Shadow man Says:

    Trust in the head ball coach to win this game how he sees fit. Stay “conservative”. Were 5-0 being “conservative”. Don’t force the ball to evans just to force it to him. Don’t let jameis loose bc we all remember how we started the season with letting jameis loose.

  6. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Stop Zeke and carve up that soft pass D

  7. DWE Says:

    Great read!

  8. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Jameis is due for a big game (like 2-3 TDs and 300 yards)

    What better place to play like America’s Quarterback?

  9. Newbucsfan2 Says:

    That is a beautifully written article. GO BUCS!

  10. Miko Says:

    Its ALL about stopping Zeke…Bucs D-Line needs to win the battle….

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Dallas doesn’t do anything spectacular. They run the ball and control the clock. It’s the same principal the Bucs should employ to beat them. In the end it will come down to turnovers and mistakes. Make no mistake Buc fans this IS a winnable game!
    Nice touch Lord C: America’s Quarterback winning at America’s team’s house!

  12. Buc50 Says:

    It’s a cover-2. Time for Captain Checkdown Jameis to show up on Sunday.

  13. Mike Johnson Says:

    DB55 hit the nail square on its head! Elliot/Prescott

  14. BucTrooper Says:

    Come in and surprise the hell out of Prescott. That means check to a 3-4 unexpectedly for no other reason than just to confuse him. If his confidence is shaken, shake it even more. Shake him like a British nanny.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    Dallas’s rookies could be hitting the rookie wall, now that they lost there will be some doubt in their minds!!!!!

    Also the Bucs offense struggled last week with some new guys in the offense as their 1st and 2nd week!!! look for that to improve as the offense will get to open more of the playbook and audibles as the new guys expand their knowledge!!!!

    I like that the offense struggled last week, Because when was the last time the offense really struggled for 2 straight weeks!!!!!

    They have a really good chance to shock all the football world!!!!!

    Go America!!!!!!!!!!

    And GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Lunchbox Says:

    If Marinelli is still running a true Tampa 2, a consistent weakness of that defense is about 8 yards behind the line, right up the middle. Good for Brate and slants into that soft part of the defense.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    The rookies are hitting the proverbial “wall”. It was only a matter of time, no matter what the said about the rookie wall not being a factor. It is and NFL history has plenty of proof of it.

  18. JMN Says:

    You are at the top of your game Joe’s with this article. Bravo.

  19. Duke Says:


    The Cowboys primarily play cov 3.

  20. Lunchbox Says:

    If that’s the case, that should play to our strenth. Since Cover 3 is more geared towards reigning in any deeper routes, it leaves the short and mid-range routes more open. Jameis has to make sure he knows where Sean Lee is at all times, but I really like our chances for this game.

  21. ptwalk Says:

    @Realist, I agree with you 100%. I also like that we didn’t have an easy win against the Saints, so that the next we play them, we won’t take them lightly.

  22. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Great article Ira. I am so stoked to see this game on SNF!!!