Dallas Cowboys show leadership and dirty work are pivotal to success

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

When Jayron Kearse called out teammates after their tragic overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, Dallas Cowboys fans weren’t sure how the team would respond. On one hand you have a team leader, calling out effort, execution, and toughness. On the other hand you have an issue that’s been plaguing the Cowboys defense for years. We’ve been down this road many times before.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has a longstanding reputation for being situationally dynamic but systemically lacking in toughness (both mental and physical), discipline, and fortitude. It was this underlying issue that allowed the Packers to erase a 14-point fourth quarter lead and deliver the Cowboys their most embarrassing loss of the season.

The Packers’ ability to run the ball at will looked awfully similar to the way the Cowboys have been bounced from recent playoff appearances as well. The fact Jayron identified the issue and brought light to the issue doesn’t mean much because it’s something everyone’s been trumpeting for years.

The Dallas Cowboys dedicated themselves to do the dirty work and that allowed them the opportunity to do what they do best

Take a poll around the NFL and you’ll find players would much rather pin their ears back and go QB hunting, than stick their face in a ceiling fan against a strong rushing attack. The former is glamorous while the latter is dirty work. The Dallas Cowboys are certainly no different.

The problem is, unless you handle your business against the run, you won’t get those glamorous pass-rush situations in which you thirst.

Delvin Cook, one of the best running backs in the NFL, was good for 6.5 yards/carry on Sunday. That number hardly constitutes “shut down”. But a lot of those yards were empty yards and did not put the Vikings in better position.

Cook was only successful on 27 percent of his runs, meaning 73 percent of the time he ran the ball, the Dallas Cowboys won the play. That’s a major improvement over last week in Green Bay, wouldn’t you say?

unless you handle your business against the run, you won’t get those glamorous pass-rush situations in which you thirst.

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t suddenly get more talented against the run this week, they simply tried harder. They executed their assignments better and they put forth the effort required. That’s the difference. The Dallas Cowboys are loaded with pass rushers who love making plays in the backfield and posing for their admirers.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But in order to get the privilege to do that, they must first do the dirty work.

Maintaining this level of effort requires leadership and accountability. The disease that’s plagued this Dallas Cowboys for the past half-decade hasn’t suddenly been cured. It’s still there underneath the surface, ready to poke it’s head up at the most inopportune time.

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The Dallas Cowboys have to recognize this is something that must be worked on daily. It’s not talent or strategy, it’s effort and fortitude. There’s no cheat-code to get around that.