FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not be ready to point the finger at coach Mike McCarthy for the team’s dismal 2-4 start, but the coach is taking the blame for the squad’s string of slow starts and their terrible turnover tally.
“I, frankly, don’t want to be rude. I have no assessments for you,” McCarthy said after Monday night’s 38-10 blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium . “I think we all understand what the score is. We didn’t play very well on offense, defense or special teams. Most importantly, I didn’t coach very well. I have a continuing issue with ball security on my football team.”
The Cowboys continue to be their own worst enemy. They had a season-high four turnovers against the Cardinals and now have 15 of the season. Of those, 13 have resulted in opponent scores, including 11 touchdowns.
Measured by points, the Cowboys have allowed 74 points off of turnovers this season, the worst mark by any NFL team over the last 20 seasons.
“That’s something I personally take a lot of pride in, and how it reflects on how you play the game of football,” McCarthy said. “I’m not getting it done right now.”
Running back Ezekiel Elliott had two fumbles in the first half against the Cardinals and was temporarily benched for backup Tony Pollard. Elliott has lost four fumbles in six games after losing five in the previous four seasons combined.
Quarterback Andy Dalton had two interceptions in his first start in place of Dak Prescott, who is out for the season with a fractured right ankle.
The Cowboys have had at least two turnovers in each of the last five games.
“It’s a discouraging period,” McCarthy said. “It’s something that we work diligently on that’s not carried over to the game. That’s something we have to just continue to stay after. Maybe frankly, maybe we’re trying too hard or maybe we’re over-coaching. It’s just self-inflicted wounds that continue to plague us.”
Not only is McCarthy frustrated, but he sounds discouraged six games into his first season as Cowboys coach.
He appears to be a man who doesn’t know his football team and has yet found a way to reach them.
“As I continue to learn this team, I felt the preparation coming into the game was probably our best so far this year,” McCarthy said. “But obviously that doesn’t even count for anything, particularly after a performance like (Monday night).”
McCarthy refused to blame injuries for the team’s woes or loss of confidence, even though the Cowboys are now without six starters for the season in Prescott, tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, tight end Blake Jarwin and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Trysten Hill.
And that was before they lost All-Pro guard Zack Martin in the first quarter against the Cardinals due to a concussion.
“The mental and emotional gain and growth of your football team is always the last component to come and develop to the level you need to be successful,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, ours is not quite where we want to be right now. We haven’t handled the adversity in games. I mean, it’s an unfortunate part of the game when players do get injured. But we had a chance to prepare for this team. You have to overcome the adverse situations in the game.”
Yet, despite all of the storm clouds there could be some sun on the horizon. Monday’s loss dropped the Cowboys to 2-4, but they remain in first place in the NFC East and they’ll stay in the division for the next two weeks as they travel to take on the Washington Football Team (1-5) on Sunday and then to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (1-4-1) on Nov. 1.
“Yeah, I think that’s the reality of the National Football League,” McCarthy said when asked if he took any solace in being in first place. “I’m just irritated with the way we performed. We need to get this turnover ratio — we need to get it right. It’s not right right now.”
©2020 Fort Worth Star-Telegram