If you are searching to pinpoint what exactly went wrong for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, their very driven former coach Jimmy Johnson is happy to take you to that unhappy place,
"At times,'' analyzed Johnson, "they didn’t have that inner drive.”
That's a harsh assessment from someone who had the drive to help build Dallas into a three-time Super Bowl winner in the early 1990s, someone who possessed the drive to dispatch with some of the interests most of us would consider "normal'' in his pursuit of excellence.
Jimmy's review is also appreciated in this space because while it is popular to simply blame owner Jerry Jones (with whom Jimmy continues to have a strained relationship) or to simply blame ousted coach Jason Garrett (for whom Jimmy generally has praise), the soon-to-be Hall-of-Fame coach indicts the players themselves.
“I watched them play a lot of times, and they looked as good as anyone in the league,” Johnson said this week from Super Bowl LIV in Miami, where he will be part of the FOX Sports telecast as the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers square off. “And they are very talented. But then I’d see some adversity happen and they just went blasé. ...''
The coach cannot always control all of that, of course - though Johnson was a master at it - central to the reason he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class. Garrett? The Cowboys staggered to an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs, all while Garrett was on the hot seat. In total, Garrett went 85-67 in nine-and-a-half seasons with the Cowboys and was 2-3 in the playoffs.
Still, players gotta play.
“I think sometimes you’ve got to be able to grit your teeth and say, 'I’m going to be able to make it happen some way, somehow. I’m going to make it happen.' And you’ve got to have that inner drive to do it. At times, (the 2019 Cowboys) didn't have that inner drive.''