The NFC East is having such a down season that even at 6-6 the Dallas Cowboys are still leading the division.
But 6-6 is not where this team thought it would be, not this season.
‘It was a little chippy’
After an embarrassing Thanksgiving home loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Cowboys returned to the practice field on Sunday to prepare for another Thursday game this week, against the Chicago Bears — and it seems like they took out some of their frustrations on each other.
After starting 3-0 and losing six of their last nine games, Cowboys players are angry.
“Yeah, angry,” Ezekiel Elliott said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Angry we’re not where we expected ourselves to be. Just angry that things haven’t been going the way we want them to go. We’ve got to channel that the right way. Come in like we did today, go to work and trust the process, go out there and play better football.”
During practice, there was trash talking and some guys giving a little ... extra.
“Practice was good,” Elliott said. “Great energy. Guys were on their stuff. Guys had a little stuff in their neck. It was a little chippy. Ready to go.”
But the running back downplayed any issues.
“Yeah, that’s what you expect. That’s the type of team we are; that’s how we’re built. We’ve just got to figure out a way to go out there and play better,” he said. “No confidence loss. We know, in this locker room, what we need to do. We need to go out there and play better football. We need to go out there and execute better. It’s been the same story all year. We’ve just got to figure it out.”
‘It’s really crunch time’
The chippiness in practice comes after veteran Michael Bennett, who came to Dallas just a few weeks ago after a trade from New England, was overheard shouting at teammates in the locker room after the loss to Buffalo.
Bennett was trying to encourage his fellow Cowboys, highlighting that they have great players but need to do a better job executing, especially under duress.
Elliott got the message.
“I mean, we need to start to get this going now,” he said. “Not many games left. It’s really crunch time now. We’ve got to win some ballgames. What I do know is we’ve got to go out there and play better.”
Bennett delivered the message, but he wasn’t the only one having those thoughts.
“We’re better than we’ve been. We’ve got the right group of guys in the locker room. We’ve just got to put that on the table,” Elliott said. “He said something we were all thinking. It was good to hear from him. We’ve just got to apply it.”
Dallas leads the division, but isn’t playing the way it needs to play to live up to its own expectations.
“We just haven’t played good football,” Elliott said. “I mean, that’s all it comes down to. Everyone wants to try to find out what’s wrong. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. We just haven’t played good football. We haven’t gone out there and executed as a team. Until we do that, it’s going to be tough to win ballgames.”
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