Emmitt Smith admitted Wednesday that he’s frustrated with the Dallas Cowboys. But he doesn’t think Jerry Jones deserves the blame and adds that Jason Garrett is doing well as the team’s head coach.
That’s a summary of what the NFL’s all-time rushing leader had to say when he was asked a few Cowboys-related questions during a Super Bowl week interview in New Orleans.
From 1991-1999 the Cowboys missed the playoffs only once with Smith as their leading rusher. That, of course, included three Super Bowl titles. This current group of Cowboys has missed the playoffs four times in the last five seasons.
After finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season, Smith said the Cowboys have left him “very frustrated.”
“I know that they’re working hard, but I can’t put my finger on why they cannot turn the corner,” Smith told East Texas’ 92.1 ESPN radio station. “Injuries are something that can plague any team. For us, we’ve had our share of it. It’s frustrating to see that they have so much talent on that football field, yet they cannot come together and execute at the level that they need to execute at for a long period of time. And what I mean by a long period of time, I mean the entire season.
“Consistency is one of the hallmarks of my career. You knew what you were going to get out of E-Smith every game, every year, no matter if I was 22, 21 or 35 years old. And that’s something I look for in every team. Unfortunately for our team, it’s almost like a roller coaster ride.”
Many say since the Cowboys owner and general manager is controlling the roller coaster, he deserves the blame. Smith said he doesn’t see it that way. He said pointing the finger at Jones is wrong.
“I think it’s very wrong, because at the end of the day, Jerry Jones is an owner and he has the right to do whatever he wants to do with that ballclub,” Smith said.
During the successful seasons the Cowboys had when Smith was in Dallas, Jones frequently came down on the field during games. Smith said that had no effect on him and his teammates. But it bothered outsiders at the time and it still does to this day.
“I don’t think the players are thinking about Jerry Jones when he comes down on the sideline,” Smith added. “We don’t have time to think about it. We’re focusing on what we need to do on the football field.”
Jones has appeared to be taking much of Garrett’s power away as head coach over the last month. The coaching staff changes this off-season and Garrett no longer calling offensive plays supports that idea. Smith said he didn’t know if giving play-calling duties to an assistant coach was good or bad for Garrett. He mentioned seeing it done successfully both ways. Regardless, Smith says he likes the direction the Cowboys are headed with Garrett as coach.
“I think the job he’s doing has been a good job,” Smith said. “I think our team fought hard to finish the season. Did we finish the season as strong as we wanted to? No. The Washington Redskin game was a disappointment. But they fought hard to get to that point. And I saw something in our team that I haven’t seen in a couple years. They fought to the end. And they came back even when the odds were against them.
Smith added: “I want to see them get better, and I don’t mean just talk about getting better. I mean better in your walk, better in your play, better in your actions, better interaction amongst offense, defense and special teams.”