After Dallas lost to the Minnesota Vikings, Cowboy Coach Tom Landry sifted through his team's playbook and tore out the pages that were generating few yards.
After Sunday's 23-16 loss here to Miami, Landry was asked if more editing was in order. "I don't know," he said. "We'll see."
But juggling the playbook won't stop turnovers, and it was pointed out the the Cowboys have lost possession of the ball through fumbles and interceptions 13 times more than they've gained it.
"I don't think we're jinxed by turnovers," said Landry."I believe you make your own luck."
The television camera found a rare chink in the coach's studied impassivity a critical juncture during Sunday's game. When Dallas was rebounding in the fourth quarter and tight end Billy Joe DuPree fumbled, Landry exploded.
He leaped the turf and flung his fists violently toward the ground as if he wished he had the culprit DuPree in his grasp.
It was the type of temper tantrum that might serve him well once in a while if he would deign to risk a bit of dignity by transmitting some fire to his troops.
"Our attitude was much better all week for this game," he said as if defending his responsibility for that, "but we were flat-footed at the start."
If he was taking the blame for that, he didn't get agreement from his field commander, quarterback Roger Stauback, who said in a separate interview. "I didn't think we were flat-footed."
Landry went on, "We recovered and showed we had character by not quiting. You can come back if you don't quit."
Cowboy owner Clint Murchison also took an optimistic view. We're getting fairly consistent in the second, third and fourth quarters," he said. "Son, maybe we will in the first quarter, too.
I'd rather have consistency at the end of the season."
He noted that the Cowboys were 5-4 in 1970 and went to the Super Bowl; 5-3 in 1971 before making it again and lost four games in 1975 before making it once more. They are now 6-4.
Landry did raise some eyebrows in the third quarter, while trailing, 20-6, when at the Miami six-yard line, he called for a draw play by Preston Pearson, which gained one yard and resulted in Dallas going for a 23-yard field goal by Rafael Septien.
Implying that he was calling Landry's shot on Pearson's run, line-backer Bob Matheson of the Dolphins said," Larry Gordon and I set doublepass coverage on Pearson, just in case.Then, as soon as Staubach handed the ball off, I shot in there on pearson. I knew it was safe because Gordon man back me up."
Other Dolphins spoke of the Cowboys predictability.
Quartered Bob Giess said his tight end. Andre tilman was open often "because one Dallas linebacker was going one way to cover him and another way , man to man. I think we get the Cowboy confused and Tillman got wide open."
Griese normally is disinclined to be to specific. Coach Don Shula noted, Our defense kept having answers for whatever the Cowboys tried to do." Free safety Cliff Harris of Dallas said, "We used multiple defenses in the first half to keep the Dolphins off balance. It didn't work. Griese read it. He has done that well for a long time."