If you thought guys like Julius Jones or Marcus Spears were unhappy with the previous coaching regime in Dallas, you haven’t heard nothing yet. (Yes, I know that’s a double negative, but it has a better emphasis.) While the other guys hinted around at being restricted under Bill Parcells and Co., well, they’ve done more than hint, but Patrick Crayton takes it to a new level. He actually calls out the coaching staff for playing "not to lose" and costing us ball games last year. You can listen to the interview using this link, it’s from the JFE radio show.
Hat tip to DC Fanatic for posting it in a diary.
For discussion sake, I’ll offer a paraphrase transcript that should give you a feel for some of what Patrick Crayton said.
The interview started off with pleasantries and discussions about the offseason, staying in shape, the OTA’s, blah, blah, blah.
Crayton was then asked about the new coaching change and how it’s going with the wide receivers. Crayton then proceeded to unload on former position coach Todd Haley – not by name – but he said they now have a position coach that will allow the players to do their jobs. He continued that it felt like they always had someone looking over their shoulders last year and compared it to having a very uptight manager at your work and how that would make you unhappy. He said he sometimes dreaded coming to Valley Ranch in that atmosphere.
JFE took this as an opportunity – and it was a responsible follow-up by a journalist – to ask Crayton if this extended to the big man upstairs, meaning Parcells. Crayton answered by saying it could be the big man, because it all trickles down like orders in the military. He sets the atmosphere.
The follow up was then the question of whether it was the best possible thing that Parcells didn’t return. Caryton answered that he thought it was the best thing, that there needed to be a change at the top and the Cowboys were much happier now. He noted that they had made the playoffs two times under Parcells but had never won a playoff game and that the team had underachieved.
At this point, the other host asked the exact same question I was thinking, how much of that underachievement was the players fault vs. the coaches fault. Crayton got a little evasive here by saying he didn’t really know. Coaches don’t play in the game, but they do call the plays and they can restrict what you do. He then went on to say that Wade Phillips lets the players take responsibility to do their jobs and that the Cowboys are much more energized and happy as a team.
JFE asked about the recent comments Terence Newman made about the division on the team and particularly between the offense and the defense. Crayton didn’t think that was a big contributor to the problems they had and that it was more the younger guys hanging out together and the older guys – who are more family oriented with wives and kids – who were not really hanging out. He pointed out that when they had a receivers night out, it was usually only the young guys because the older guys had families and stayed home.
He was asked about new position coach Ray Sherman and he said that Sherman had experience and a good way of imparting that knowledge to the players, he also noted that he doesn’t use cuss words which was a big difference from the previous position coach. He said players would start blocking out the old coach because of all the cussing, but they respect what new coach Ray Sherman is doing.
They did some talk about Romo, but then got back on the question of the offense being restricted last year; Crayton said the coaches in some games were playing not to lose and that it came back to bite us in the butt. Yes, he said bite us in the butt, which I assume means we lost games because of it.
Now that’s a lot to take in. One thing Patrick Crayton is not is media shy. I’m not really in the mood to rehash this stuff all over again, so I won’t discuss this on a point-by-point basis. I will just say this; when players are so willing to blame the coaching staff, and not as willing to accept their own failure in the season, I get worried. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but I would rather hear them just say we weren’t very good last year as the season wound down and we need to do better.
But if it makes them feel better to have a whipping boy – our coaching staff, as the case may be – and they think that it will help them win this year, then let them get it off their chest. But if any of them fail this year, they better just look in the mirror and then go on the JFE show and blast themselves.