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At Some Point, Cowboys’ Players Need to be Held Accountable Too

This season hasn’t gone according to plan at all. After starting the season 3-0, the Dallas Cowboys have gone 5-8 and gave away a perfect opportunity to take the NFC East as an ailing Philadelphia Eagles team struggled to rack up wins as well. Instead, the Cowboys lost winnable games and never found the necessary consistency to keep themselves in the driver’s seat for the division. For as much as the coaching staff has been criticized, they aren’t the only ones to blame for the Cowboys disappointing 8-8 finish to the 2019 season.

Head Coach Jason Garrett has been an easy target for Cowboys fans and media for years for the team’s lack of success. And while it’s true, Garrett hasn’t been able to close the deal on trips to the playoffs in 2014, 2016, and 2018, the failures of 2019 aren’t all on him. The Cowboys failed to live up to expectations in 2019 and Garrett and others on the coaching staff will pay the price.

For better or worse, and despite my opinions on Garrett, the time has come to move on. Sadly though, he isn’t the only reason the Cowboys’ season is ending in failure.

It’s becoming a bit of a trend for players, and fans, to lay any and all blame for a season’s unmet expectations at the feet of the coaching staff. It happened with Dez Bryant and Brice Butler at the end of the 2017 season and again with Cole Beasley at the end of the 2018 season. As the 2019 season comes to a close, we’re beginning to hear similar rumblings.

However, in 2019, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t perform as well as they should have or were expected to. Some of that has to land at the feet of the players.

On offense, though the numbers look great, there were too many slow starts because of execution errors — like drops or turnovers — and the unforced errors like penalties that killed drives. Too many times this season was the offense slow out of the gate forcing them into catch up mode only to fall short more often than not this season.

For everything that went well for the Cowboys offense, their inconsistency and inability early in games is one of the biggest reasons that the Cowboys need help to win the division and make the playoffs. Some of that is preparation and coaching-related for sure, but a lot of the errors that the offense made early in games were focused related, such as drops.

When your wide receivers are dropping balls and your quarterback doesn’t find much rhythm until the second quarter, it’s difficult for any team to win consistently.

Though much has been made of the Cowboys defensive scheme being two simple and two passive, this was a defense that made it work in 2018. Though the overall numbers may look alright, again, this was a team that struggled to get off the field on third downs and couldn’t force any takeaways.

Looking at the defense, again there were issues with consistency. Aside from the Philadelphia Eagles game in week nine and the Los Angeles Rams game in week 15, the Cowboys defense rarely played a complete game. They had issues tackling and gave up a lot of yards and at times made lesser quarterbacks like Mitch Trubisky look like Pro Bowl-caliber players.

They struggled against the run for most of the year and the coverage wasn’t consistent aside from Byron Jones. Players that we expected to take a step forward in 2019 — Maliek Collins, Xavier Woods, Chidobe Awuzie, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch — all took a step back this year leaving the defense vulnerable, even against offenses that they should have been able to slow down.

The special teams units were atrocious. Again, some of that is coaching, but some of that is also execution. Brett Maher wasn’t good. Chris Jones was okay. The return units couldn’t produce anything, and when they did get a good return it was typically called back because of a penalty.

Much more was expected of this team. They needed to be better in a lot of areas. The coaching staff could have helped them at times be in a better position to make plays, but often when the plays were there to make the players didn’t make enough of them. That’s how you end up as one of the worst teams in the NFL in drops and turnovers. Simple execution issues.

Jason Garrett and others on the coaching staff are going to take the fall for the Cowboys failures and after this many years in Dallas, it’s time for the Cowboys to move on. However, what happened this season isn’t simply on the coaching staff. The players from the most important to the least important player needed to be better in 2019.

Coaching is one of the reasons that this team struggled down the stretch and failed to win the division after a 3-0 start. Coaching, though, isn’t the only reason. The players need to share the blame as well. There were only a few players that excelled this season and that wasn’t good enough to earn a spot in the playoffs.

As the Cowboys finished the 2019 season yesterday, they’re heading to an offseason filled with questions. They have a lot of soul searching to do. From the front office to the coaching staff to the locker room, everyone deserves blame. But those who have more say than anyone about the outcome of a game, the players, need to own their part in the Dallas Cowboys 2019 colossal failure.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. It shouldn’t be At Some Point, it should be At The Present Point the Cowboys are in Desperate and Dire need of DISCIPLINE and Hold ACCOUNTABLE ALL THE PLAYERS for EVERYTHING they do ON AND OFF THE FIELD. I have yet to see an employee that’s not held accountable for their actions both on the job and on their time.

  2. No kidding. Agree. . .start with D Law, he got the money, Dallas got our #2 or #3 pass rusher. He effected teh outcome of ZERO games this year.

  3. This team thinks discipline and accountability means, staying out of trouble off the field. They dont know it means, putting in that extra film work, staying after practice on the Juggs machine,Getting that extra rest, showing up for treatment, going over and over with the playbook. Garrett, had one of the youngest teams in the NFL, but assumed that this team didnt need to be ridden constantly.

  4. Thank you, Jerry Jones can only do so much, Jason Garrett is not fumbling the football, not missing any tackles or throwing interceptions. Stop making excuses and get it done!!!

  5. The coach need to be held accountable. WTH I am sick of The Mad Clapper (JG) not saying a word making millions standing on the sideline and can’t make decisions. He had a greaaaat qb that can even run the ball especially for one yard he got him in the dang old as hell shot gun. That gun need to be retired. He need to get under the center and stop killing every dang play and run the plays. Why the hell do the dang OC call plays if he is going to kill every play. JG is not a Super Bowl coach with them little league plays. He have so basic plays. We got a few new plays with the new OC but not much better. He should be held accountable for the poor plays, players and not running his team.

    How is JG a good coach when he let the players take themselves out the game and they are not hurt. How you have million dollars players sitting on the bench. It’s the worst form of coaching in the league. Nothing about us losing year after year makes him upset. For 10 years he has stood on the sidelines. Everybody working but him. How long are we going to let him stand on the sideline and say that’s ok when these guys getting continued penalties for false starts on offense and off side on defense. That’s all coaching because he don’t punish the players for making the same mistake. They would not have known how good Dak really is had Tony and the backup to him not gotten hurt. And I am glad they did we would not have made it to the no playoffs the last 3 years. Dak playing under his rookie salary. He should have held out for more money. Everybody getting paid but him. Now they talking about franchising him. We have lost good players behind JG coaching and Romo. that is why Tony got hurt so much go back and watch the film. The OL is backing up to form a supposed to be pocket and they off balance and the DL just push them down and that’s the reason the qb be getting sacked. You mean JG can’t see that? Have you not notice that when they players we lose go play for other team they get real production out of them. Hmmmm no dude it’s the coach job to put these players on the field and come up with strategies to win.

    We just paid Zeke Millions for what to rotate out after he run 3 yards plus the 10 he don’t get credit for because he have to line up 10 additional yards because he get to the line to fast. Who ever heard of such dumb strategies. We got a high dollar OL need to do their job and push forward not back up on the dang qb. Zeke got to run an additional 10 yards every play because he is so fast and the OL can’t make a hole for him often enough to make our running game a real threat. The OL coach need to be fired too. Zeke finally started running around them and making things happen because on the running play he running up the OL back.

    They got all the money tied up. Some straight BS. That’s on Jerry and who ever is drawing these contracts up need make some changes to thieve contract. Nooooo bro that’s all coaching. These players are getting paid to play not to sit not stand on the sidelines and watch the game like us when we paying to watch the dang game. WTF you talking about? The COACH need to hold the players accountable and he don’t. Now he can go stand on somebody else’s side line and clap, patting them on the ass and sayings it’s ok when their OL getting the same penalties. The defensive line playing their hard and then the corners give up the first down on 3rd down. That’s week after week. That’s all coaching. I don’t know why as a coach, Gm and owner they can’t see we still need 2 faster taller corners and a safety and have been in need for the last 10 years. We need another good WR. on the other side from Cooper. They didn’t want to pay Dez they wanted him to take a cut in pay while everybody else getting paid to stand on the sidelines and he was making some great catches out of poorly thrown balls. If a MRI don’t show a real injury then they Need to be playing. What coach let a player tell him he can’t play. Hold your hand out to come to the sidelines because you just ran 2 and 3 yards because he don’t get credit for the additional 10. He only need to line up 5 yards back. This dang shot formation puts us at a loss the right off the back. Do like the Aron Roger and Breeze and get under the center and go forward.

    We paid Lawerence all this money to now say his back hurt. Every time we pay big contracts they end up getting hurt. It’s pathetic how these guys making millions and can’t play And got the money tied up. Some restructuring of these contracts need to be done.

    Nope JG And his squad got to go and last year wasn’t soon enough.

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