Yet after the Cowboys got creamed in Washington in the season's final regular season game, Phillips actually said: "The last three years, the team that won the NFC had a poor game in the last game of the season."
Leading up to that game, he countered talk of his winless record in the playoffs by saying the fact that Dallas had a first-round bye was just like a playoff win to him.
Well, when the real playoffs actually started, Dallas didn't stick around for long, losing to the Giants in the NFC Divisional playoffs.
The problem these Cowboys have is that they don’t have a backbone to go along with all that talent. Wide receiver Patrick Crayton, the most self-impressed No. 3 receiver in NFL history, last week lamented that the Cowboys needed a more formidable opponent than the Bengals after their loss to Washington. Crayton didn't make a catch for the first 58:08 of Sunday’s game before coming up with a 15-yard insurance touchdown.
Dallas can swagger and bow-up with the best of them but they don't do adversity very well. And that's because their swagger isn’t rooted in accomplishment; their confidence is rooted in what they believe they have the POTENTIAL to do.
And since Wade Phillips isn’t going to make them walk across hot coals to get them to play to their potential, they aren’t going to hold themselves or each other to it.
High standards work.
In 2005, the New England Patriots lost a preseason game to the New Orleans Saints 37-27. The Patriots blew a five-point fourth quarter lead with their rookies and backups on the field. Afterwards, safety Rodney Harrison seethed about the performance, lashing out when asked about an interception he made by saying, "It doesn't matter. We lost the game."
New England had won three Super Bowls in four years heading into that season. Last year, they got to 18-0 before getting their heart ripped out in another Super Bowl.
But believe this: When it came to walkthroughs, NONE of those teams could do it like the 2008 Cowboys.
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