In recent days, former Dallas Cowboys greats have weighed in on the state of the current team. During an ESPN Chalk Talk before Monday Night’s game, five-time Super Bowl winner Charles Haley and legendary running back Tony Dorsett minced no words in their assessment of the group currently wearing the star they so proudly wore all those years ago.
Tony Dorsett tried to check himself, but, ultimately, whatever truth serum they had injected into him took over.
“It’s really hard to say what I really want to say,” said Tony. “They’re a bunch of underachievers. Coming into the season on paper these guys are one of the best teams in the league. They are talent-wise. For some reason when you start earning your money that’s when it starts falling apart. They start making silly mistakes. They’re not concentrating. They’re having awful turnovers and penalties. That comes from practice.
“Then you look at it from a leadership area. You know, when I played ball, it was understood that if you didn’t do your job, somebody else was going to come on the field for you. These guys get paid a lot of money to do their jobs and they’re not doing them in a consistent manner. If a guy’s not doing his job, call him out. Get in somebody’s face, man. This thing can be corrected very easily … Sometimes you’ve got to put some fear into these guys’ hearts to play to their potential.”
Think that is a shot at Wade Phillips and his “leadership” style? Me, too.
Charles Haley, never one to worry too much what you think of what he says, was more to the point: “A bunch of guys on this team think they’re stars, and they don’t want to do the dirty work.”
If the current players have an ounce of pride, it has to sting to hear the men whose shoes they now strive to fill calling them out.
And now this. On KTCK, the Ticket, this morning, Troy Aikman was doing his weekly show with Dunham and Miller, aka The Musers. Troy said that NFL people around the league agreed on the fact that the Cowboys have some of the best talent in the league. He insisted that they may well be the most talented team in the NFL, and certainly, along with Green Bay, the most talented in the NFC.
“At this point,” said Aikman, “You have to call what this team has done a major underachievement.”
Troy went on to talk about a conversation he had with Chicago bears head coach Lovey Smith. They were discussing Tommie Harris, whose play the past couple of years has not been up to the standard he had set for himself earlier in his career. Troy said he commented, after watching Harris on film, that he appeared to be playing hard.
“Yeah,” said Lovey, “But we don’t pay these guys to play hard. We pay them to make plays.”
Troy then compared that statement to Cowboys’ coach Wade Phillips complimenting his team for “playing hard” after the ridiculous loss to the New York Giants.
“That,” said Troy, “tells you everything you need to know.”
And that tells me everything I need to know. Hall of fame players know what I know: Wade Phillips is a ridiculous excuse for a head coach in the NFL.
What I do not get is how Jerry Jones does not get what everybody else in the football world gets. As Jones continues to stick by his hand puppet, expect this team to continue to find creative ways to lose football games…and expect more outbursts from frustrated former players and coaches.