After Jon Bostic crushed Andy Dalton’s head with a late hit Sunday, a few of the other Cowboys on the field ran toward Dalton to check on him. None of the Cowboys got in the Washington linebacker Bostic’s face — something Dallas coach Mike McCarthy didn’t like.
“We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another,” McCarthy told reporters postgame. “It definitely was not the response you would expect.”
The hit came during the third quarter of the Cowboys’ 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team in Week 7 that moved both teams’ record to 2-5. Dalton was ruled out for the game shortly after with a concussion.
Backup quarterback Ben DiNucci finished out the Dallas defeat.
Earlier in the week, NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported on Cowboys players being unhappy with the coaching staff. The report included two separate quotes, including, “They don’t teach,” and “They just aren’t good at their jobs.”
McCarthy spoke to a similar disconnect after Sunday’s game.
“We need to be much better. But we’re running out of time,” McCarthy said. “We’re not cutting it loose. It looks like we’re holding back at certain points.”
After Sunday’s game, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said that it’s “fair” to question whether the Cowboys should’ve stood up to Bostic in the moment. But Elliott added that such a response could impact the remainder of the game, too.
“You’ve got to be careful,” Elliott said, according to ProFootballTalk, “because we’re already down a bunch of guys that if you go in there and throw a punch and you get kicked out the game, you can’t help the team from the … locker room. We’ve got to find a way to not cross that line, but we’ve still got to protect our guys.”
Mired in a battle to win the NFC East with three other struggling teams, the Cowboys’ season isn’t over despite the 2-5 start. But with Dak Prescott out for the season with an ankle injury and now Dalton hurt, the ensuing week will surely see national media place McCarthy firmly on the hot seat.
If McCarthy can get on the same page with his players ahead of “Sunday Night Football” in Week 8 against the Eagles, the Cowboys might still have something to play for this season. If not, Sunday won’t be the last time that McCarthy and his players don’t act in sync.