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Sport Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence calls out team for weak 'backbone' after loss

13:25  26 october  2020
13:25  26 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence didn't mince words after Dallas gave up 49 points and allowed Dallas linebacker Joe Thomas and cornerback Trevon Diggs tumbled out of bounds after failed The following snap, Dallas ’ special teams unit blocked a kick only allow the Browns a 2-point

Confounding as this defensive performance was, DeMarcus Lawrence seemed to think it was The Cowboys also did their best to help him out , as the Dallas defense accounted for six of the team 's The Cowboys have played some inspired defense at times. But with the lone exception of the Week 4

The first half looked so familiar that Mike McCarthy decided to acknowledge the elephant in the locker room.

The realization had hit: It’s happening again.

For the sixth consecutive game, the Cowboys were in a hole down at least 14 points. The offense had again fumbled and thrown an interception in the first half. Again, Andy Dalton’s group could not score a touchdown before halftime. Again, the defense couldn’t guard against big plays. Pick your poison of the 40-yard rush allowed on Washington’s first drive, the 26-yard rushing touchdown up the middle on drive two or the busted coverage Terry McLaurin turned into a 52-yard touchdown on Washington’s fourth possession.

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a person holding a football ball on a field: Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) and Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (26) walk off the field after their game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field. © Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) and Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (26) walk off the field after their game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field.

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The unraveling looked all too familiar.

“We talked at halftime about the ‘here-we-go-again’ mode on the sidelines,” McCarthy said after a 25-3 loss at Washington dropped the Cowboys to 2-5 in his first season. “You know, we’ve got to move past that. That’s part of making progress throughout the season. We need to learn from our mistakes. We can’t keep letting our mistakes hold us down and hold us back.

“The only ones who are going to get us out of the hole are us as a football team.”

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DE DeMarcus Lawrence shares his thoughts on "three unacceptable losses " in a row and what he thinks must be done for the team to get back on track.

The week preceding their trip to FedEx Field was rocky. The Cowboys fell 38-10 at home to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. Tuesday, reports of players anonymously criticizing the coaching staff’s ability traveled far enough that McCarthy publicly addressed them. Wednesday morning, McCarthy addressed the resulting angst in a team meeting before practice Wednesday. His message: If you have an issue, be a man and address it publicly with the team. By Friday, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s remarks had stooped to jabs that “you can lead a horse to water” but a 69-yard Arizona rushing touchdown up the middle felt “like putting a knife in your back.” An 80-yard Arizona touchdown against a three-deep zone was a brain lapse against a coverage that “it’s not like they’re too complicated,” Nolan said. “As a matter of fact, many high schools play those defenses.”

So how to explain Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson rushing right through the middle of Dallas’ defensive line for a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter? How to explain McLaurin burning rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs over the top for that 52-yard receiving touchdown? Diggs said he got “lazy” staring at the quarterback. No defensive back was anywhere near McLaurin to bail the rookie out.

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“It’s got nothing to do with scheme,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said.

Rather, says defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, this Cowboys team has insufficient "backbone."

“We need more belief and more high spirits around this team,” said Lawrence, who notched his second sack in seven games. “And really, more fight. That’s really, I feel like, one of our weaknesses. We need to build a stronger backbone, fight and also make sure that we brought everything possible to come out with a victory.”

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But coaches believe players can and must improve on ball security even if protection is left to second- and third-string offensive linemen. Defenders must tackle more cleanly and play with better gap integrity than they continue to show as opponents torch them at record rates.

The mistakes, like the injuries, look all too familiar. The nine games remaining on the schedule at times seem like an interminable length for a shorthanded team, while simultaneously offering far too little time to right the ship in McCarthy’s first Dallas season.

“I’ve stood in front of this camera too many times this year and spoke about basics we just haven’t put together yet,” McCarthy said Sunday evening. “I’d start with the turnovers. It obviously impacted the first-half field position and we didn’t handle the adversity of it – the points off of the turnovers. And we really didn’t get the run game going as we had planned. Then with that, they ran the ball too well against us. So, not a very good day.”

At 2-5, the Cowboys next travel to Philadelphia, where the 2-4-1 Eagles pace the NFC East. Frustration mounts. Disappointment, too. McCarthy said he needs to “quit candy coating” the basic fundamental skills on which his team errs weekly.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan defends scheme

  Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan defends scheme Mike Nolan cannot be feeling great about his job security these days, but the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator seems to disagree with any talk of his scheme being too complicated for players. © Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports The Cowboys have allowed an abysmal 36.3 points per game this season, which is by far the worst mark in the NFL. Following last week’s 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Nolan expressed frustration over the big plays Dallas allowed. He alluded to a 60-yard run and 80-yard pass the Cowboys gave up and said he was bothered by those plays because the defenses Dallas was in were so “simple.

“We need to be much better,” McCarthy said, “and we’re running out of time.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence calls out team for weak 'backbone' after loss

Jerry Jones: Cowboys won't trade Aldon Smith .
Smith has been one of the few bright spots on Dallas’ D, leading the way with four sacks. His one-year, $2M deal has proven to be a tremendous value.Smith has been one of the few bright spots on Dallas’ D, leading the way with four sacks. His one-year, $2M deal has proven to be a tremendous value, and the Cowboys will be happy to double that amount if Smith achieves the necessary sack incentives. If anything, it sounds like the Cowboys will be looking to extend their deal with the former All-Pro.

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