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Jason Garrett must make big changes

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' problems shouldn't solely be placed on coach Jason Garrett.

We know you're tired of hearing his one-day-at-a-time mantras and that sort of thing. But if Garrett wants to salvage his season, he needs to make drastic changes or he will be part of the problem.

He needs to stop playing Felix Jones. Today. He's not an every-down running back because of his health issues. If DeMarco Murray can't play in nine days against the Philadelphia Eagles, then Lance Dunbar should start. Maybe Phillip Tanner.

It's time to give younger wide receivers such as Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris and Andre Holmes more playing time. Beasley and Harris combined for 11 catches Thursday afternoon in the Cowboys' 38-31 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Nothing against Kevin Ogletree, who missed the Thanksgiving Day debacle with a concussion, but it seems Harris and Beasley have some things the Cowboys need: speed and the ability to make plays.

Also, end this silly deferring-to-the-second-half deal. If you win the toss, give your sorry offense the football first. If you're on the road and the crowd noise gets too loud, deal with it. This is the NFL.

You have nothing to lose at this stage of the season.

"What we're trying to do is battle every day," Garrett said. "We are going to come to work as players and coaches and battle and try to do our best and try to win football games. I've been around this league a long time and the best teams, best coaches and best players do that. And that's what we're going to continue to do."

The Cowboys have to win their remaining five games to reach 10 victories and become NFC East champs. The wild card isn't in the conversation. Garrett's team blew a shot at a wild-card spot with losses to Seattle, Atlanta, the New York Giants and now the Redskins. Winning the NFC East is a major IF for a Cowboys team with health and skill issues.

"We got to play (Washington) again," Jerry Jones said. "Our chance is to have better numbers in the NFC East just from what I'm seeing. It's going to be hard for us to get there from the wild-card spot."

When Bruce Carter (elbow) and Jason Hatcher (concussion) went out in the fourth quarter, it pushed the total to 11 significant players that have been lost to injury. It's hard for any coach to get through that.

But somehow Garrett has to find a way. Playing younger guys doesn't signal to the fan base that the season is over.

It just means it's time to do something else. Garrett isn't sacrificing his principles here by making these changes. He's just trying to save the season. What's the old saying? Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem.

"The task at hand is cleaning up this ballgame and getting ready for the next ballgame, which is Philadelphia," Garrett said.

Garrett's job shouldn't be on the line. The questions about his status are a little funny because there's no guarantee Jones could hire Sean Payton.

Please stop the Jon Gruden mess. Andy Reid, too.

You need players to win games. That's it. Wade Phillips won 13 games his first year with the Dallas Cowboys. The last man before that to win 13 games with the Cowboys? Jimmy Johnson.

They had players.

Garrett is losing players at a fast rate due to injuries. During the game, he had Ernie Sims and Dan Connor as the starting inside linebackers.

At some point, you play with the hand that's dealt.

"Yeah, we lost a number of guys in the ballgame today," he said. "Both on offense and on defense and different guys had to step up and play and that's the nature of this league. We know that and we just have to be ready. The backup players have to be ready to go in."

It doesn't matter who has to go in now. Garrett needs to change his structure to save his season because it's slipping away.