I'm reviving an old tradition at BTB. We used to do a column each week called "What They're Saying" which is a roundup of what members of the Cowboys say following a game. With the abysmal season we're having, and with that pitiful performance on Sunday against the Jaguars, I decided to bring it back to see if anybody had anything to say that was remotely enlightening. First, go and read O.C.C.'s article that details Jerry Jones' comments after the game. As always, you must work hard to decode Jerry Speak.
What did the rest of the Cowboys have to say? Let's check it out.
A couple of players defend Wade Phillips.
"At the end of the day, when we're going out there and playing the way we're playing defensively, are [you] going to point the finger at [Wade Phillips]? Are you going to point the finger at Reggie Herring, our linebackers coach?
"No, you point the finger at us. We take the responsibility, so put it on me. We're the ones that are not going out and getting the job done."
"But at the same time, when the head coach is on the sideline calling defenses and you’ve got 11 guys out there playing, how is he supposed to get us focused if he’s on the sideline and we’re out there on the field?"
On one hand, what they say makes sense. I've argued often that in the end it really comes down to the players, and they are stinking it up right now. Wade Phillips has to go, that much is true, but it's too bad you can't fire a whole team. Still, Wade has to bear the ultimate responsibility for his team's failings.
Jerry Jones has chimed in, what about Stephen Jones? He didn't have much to say, but did offer this.
"Obviously, this wasn't our plan,'' Stephen said. "We certainly didn't think this would happen to this team. We feel like we've got good players, I think we've good character on this team, guys who football means a lot to them. It's just hard to explain right now."
I've got no real explanation, either. Keith Brooking does offer some sort of explanation. It's about the defense, but perhaps if could carry over to the whole team.
"A few times, you get out of your gap because you kind of feel like the game isn’t going the way that you want it to and you press. A good back like [Maurice] Jones-Drew is going to expose you. You get out of your gap and you’re trying to make the play, and all of the sudden he cuts back and it’s a 20-yard gain. It’s things like that that are taking place as far as a lack of execution.
"We’ve just got to have faith in one another, know that everybody’s going to do their job and just take care of your responsibility defensively. Everyone execute their responsibility and this defense will hold up."
Our own rabblerousr touched on this last week when he diagnosed the same type of issue with Anthony Spencer. Basically what Brooking is saying is the Cowboys are an undisciplined football team. I agree.
Can they do anything about it now? Maybe. Wade thinks so, then again he's trying to save his job, They really should have taken care of fundamentals in training camp and the preseason. Better late than never... I guess.
``After going through really all our offense, defense and special teams this year, looking at last year, we're not fundamentally sound enough,'' Phillips said. ``I think that's the biggest thing I noticed overall is the fundamendals - running, blocking, tackling, catching, covering, throwing. We're not as gooid [sic] as we were."
Let's see... running, blocking, tackling, catching, covering, throwing - that doesn't leave much out. I guess the kicking is okay.
So the Cowboys are down to playing for pride.Will they do it, or will they pack it in? Bradie James thinks they will.
"That's it: pride," linebacker Bradie James said. "We still have a lot of football left. We've got to be soldiers. Adverse situations come to everybody. Human beings all over the place. We're not exempt because we're the Cowboys."
But let's ask an observer from the outside if the Cowboys have packed it in for the season. David Garrard, your thoughts, as relayed by Peter King.
[Garrard] told me: "It just looked like they weren't into the game like an NFL team should be.'' Said he noticed a "woe-is-me'' attitude among some of [the Cowboys] players.