Cowboys coach lost it over National Anthem protests
For many NFL teams, a 9-7 record is nothing to sneeze at.
For comparison, the Browns, Giants and Colts won a combined seven games last season.
But when you’re just a year removed from winning the division with a sterling 13-3 record, 9-7 is a massive letdown. That was the Dallas Cowboys last season.
There are numerous reasons why the Cowboys fell off last year.
Injuries riddled their offensive line. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott had to serve a six-game suspension at the worst possible time. Dez Bryant had clearly lost two steps, not just one, while battling with his coaches. And the Cowboys’ head coach’s strongest ability seems to be clapping his hands and staring blankly into the distance.
But by that same token, the Cowboys offense still featured Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, arguably the best guard and center in all of football, respectively. Elliott still played in more games than he missed. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s steady ascension mitigated the effects of Bryant’s decline.
And Jason Garrett … is still Jason Garret. That problem will never go away until owner Jerry Jones does something.
From all indications, the Cowboys were a team in name only last year. It’s actually a testament to their raw talent that such an aimless and divided team had a winning record.
Now, Amazon TV’s “All or Nothing” has offered up some tantalizing insight into just how contentious of a season the Cowboys had. And unsurprisingly, it all had to do with the national anthem.
After President Donald Trump ripped into the NFL and national anthem protesters at a September rally, virtually the entire NFL staged some sort of demonstration in Week 3 to protest Trump’s comments. Many players kneeled during the national anthem, and almost every player linked arms. Some even raised their fists.
The Cowboys opted to kneel as a team before the anthem began playing. And at least one coach was not happy about what he saw as a distraction.
When Garrett addressed his coaching staff after a 28-17 Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, things got intense, especially with offensive line coach Frank Pollack.
“What happened to blocking out the f—ing noise? Who gives a f— what the president says?” Pollack said, according to TMZ. “Let’s get our focus on what we’re trying to do. All this is doing is distracting us from what we’re trying to f—ing accomplish.”
Of note, Jones made sure his team knew to stand for the anthem.
“They’re going play the national anthem. And I do want you to stand with me. I do want you to stand,” Jones implored.
The Cowboys will have their work cut out for them next year, especially with the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and a much improved New York Giants team sharing the NFC East with them. That’s to say nothing of the bevy of other talented teams in the NFC, such as the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.
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