Dallas owner Jerry Jones has been unusually patient this season, considering the gap between his team's expected performance (deep playoff run) and its actual quality of play (horrendous, shameful, bag-worthy).
But when you read the Sunday night postgame quotes, things said in the aftermath of the Cowboys' 38-point loss at Green Bay, you can't help but think that a switch has flipped. We're on the verge of some sort of Bill Munny-style massacre. No one is safe.
There's nothing but darkness in these statements:
"I think there are a lot of people here that certainly are going to suffer and suffer the consequences," Jones said. "I'm talking within the team, players, coaches. They've got careers, and this is certainly a setback. I know firsthand what it is to have high expectations. I think that unquestionably our expectations were thinking we were something we weren't.
"But again, we have so many things that we need to correct and address as this game so vividly exposed and previous games have. So I've got a lot of work to do, a lot of decisions to make, and it's not just one, two, three or four. There are several decisions. I think everybody in this country would agree there's a lot wrong with this team."
Basically: Hide behind the bar, wait for the smoke to clear. Something extreme will soon happen, involving suffering and consequences.
Dallas head coach Wade Phillips sounds like a man who understands what's about to go down:
"[Green Bay] whipped us about every way you can whip somebody. It looked like we were fighting hard early, but once it caved in, it caved in on us.
"We looked like a bad team, with bad coaching."
Um … because you are a bad team, with bad coaching.
The owner will rearrange a few things this week, possibly on Monday. But coaching changes probably aren't going to save the short-term fantasy value of various Dallas skill players, not while Jon Kitna(notes) is at quarterback.
Dez Bryant(notes) is essentially the only guy on the Cowboys' roster who still seems to recognize that the regular season is ongoing, and all stats count. As MJD just pointed out on the Corner, Dallas' offense gained 104 yards through three quarters on Sunday night, and Dez was responsible for 70 of them. Bryant caught nine passes on 10 targets against Green Bay, scoring the Cowboys' only touchdown. Meanwhile, Miles Austin(notes) finished with just two receptions on six targets, gaining only 16 yards. In three of the past four weeks, Austin has finished with fewer than 40 receiving yards. He hasn't visited the end zone since Week 5, in the loss to Tennessee.
The Cowboys will travel to face the Giants in Week 10, and there's little reason to expect a big day from … well, from anyone associated with the Dallas offense. New York is second in the league at defending both the run and pass, and the team is allowing just 250.6 total yards per game. Might wanna just keep the bag on your head for that one, Cowboys fan.
• We shouldn't expect the Lions to say much about the condition of Matthew Stafford's(notes) throwing shoulder, but he's reportedly headed for an MRI on Monday. (The first rule of MRI Club is that we don't talk about MRI Club!) Here's some insight from the Detroit News:
It was eerily reminiscent of how Stafford walked off the field Week 1 against the Bears after suffering an AC Joint separation.
The fact that the training staff didn't spend a whole lot of time on Stafford on the sideline is a good indication that they might have known exactly what the injury was and that it's likely the same injury — or one very similar — that forced Stafford to miss five games this season.
Yeah, that has the ring of truth. There's not much reason to be optimistic if you're a Stafford owner. However, if you've invested in other pieces of the Lions' offense, you should note that there's a decent chance Shaun Hill(notes) (forearm) will return in Week 10 for the match-up at Buffalo. The Lions have the league's seventh-ranked passing offense through nine weeks, and Hill has taken most of the snaps.
• Ryan Mathews(notes) left Houston with a reinjured ankle, and a reinforced reputation as a fumbler. The rookie's fantasy stock continues to plummet; San Diego has a well-timed bye in Week 10, so Mathews will have some recovery time. If we were redrafting today, Mike Tolbert(notes) would pretty clearly be the first Chargers back off the board.
• If DeAngelo Williams(notes) can't return from his foot injury in Week 10 — in a decent match-up at Tampa Bay — there's a chance that second-year back Mike Goodson(notes) will get a full workload. (Don't get too excited. This season, a full workload for a Carolina back means 15 carries for 30 yards). The Panthers lost both Jonathan Stewart(notes) (head) and Tyrell Sutton(notes) (ankle) to injuries in their loss on Sunday, and head coach John Fox offered no meaningful updates following the game.
• New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski(notes) suffered a thigh injury in the loss at Cleveland, and head coach Bill Belichick didn't give the fantasy community any clarity in postgame comments, per his usual. "His leg tightened up in the game; obviously he wasn't able to finish and kick, so we'll have to see." Thanks, coach. In fantasy, when your kicker breaks, you drop him. It's pretty much that simple. Don't use your waiver priority or FAAB dollars on a kicker.
• Hakeem Nicks(notes) rolled his ankle late in the third quarter of the Giants' massive win at Seattle, and he limped off the field. His services were not needed in the fourth quarter — arguably, they weren't needed in the third, either. Nicks reportedly felt that he could have returned to the game, so there's no need to panic here. He's a top-three option against Dallas next week, no doubt.
• Roddy White(notes) suffered a "mild" injury to his right knee in the home win over Tampa Bay, which frightened many of us at the time. There's no replacing his production. He took the suspense out of his Week 10 status following the game, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Yeah, I'm going to be playing on Thursday." The Falcons-Ravens game is just four days away.
• Bonus link: Austin Collie(notes) was reportedly alert and sitting up in the Colts' locker room, not long after taking a wicked shot to the helmet in the loss at Philly. The early word is that Collie suffered a concussion on the play. That's obviously a serious concern, but it's also the best-case scenario, considering the scary nature of the play. Collie was knocked unconscious by the hit, he was motionless on the field for several minutes, and he was removed on a stretcher. Frightening stuff.
Photo via AP Images (fan-in-bag) and Getty Images (Stafford)