Garrett not pleased with Cowboys defense

OXNARD, Calif. – Two days after a subpar effort in the preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett remained displeased with the defense’s showing in the 27-7 loss.

The Chargers gained 395 yards, rushed for 152 yards, made several big plays and controlled the line of scrimmage, especially at the beginning of the game. The San Diego quarterbacks did not have an incomplete pass until the 14:24 mark of the fourth quarter.

“Let’s start from top to bottom: The discipline wasn’t very good, the gap control wasn’t very good, it wasn’t very physical, we didn’t tackle very well, we didn’t run to the ball well enough, we didn’t make enough plays,” Garrett said. “We made one play on the ball that was significant, but we didn’t make any plays that made a difference in the game. ... For the most part, across the board, it wasn’t what it needed to be.”

Garrett was pleased with the red-zone work, as the Cowboys forced a fumble at the goal line and a field goal from inside the 5. He praised the work of rookie safety Ahmad Dixon as well. He also said the offense and kicking game needed plenty of improvement as well.

But the defense is the Cowboys’ biggest worry. Five projected opening-day starters – George Selvie, Henry Melton, Barry Church, Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick – did not play against the Chargers.

“So we have to, as coaches, pull back a little bit, provide some perspective on it, understand who’s playing, what their experience is to this point, all of that,” Garrett said, “but having said that, there’s plenty of stuff to work on when you watch that tape.”