Frustration boiled over in the wake of the Dallas Cowboys‘ no-show on Turkey Day.
As captured by The Athletic’s Jon Machota, audible screams could be heard emanating from the Cowboys’ locker room “for at least a minute” after the 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills — their third defeat in four games.
There was some confusion as to who was doing the yelling. The suspect in question was identified as defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who challenged his teammates to rise above the adversity they’re gripped by.
“The enemy against greatness is the unwillingness to change,” Bennett recounted to the Dallas Morning News. “We’ve got to be able to change some of the things that we’ve been doing to demand more from ourselves.”
Bennett’s effort matched his fiery words; the veteran newcomer posted five tackles, a tackle-for-loss, and two solo stops. Many of his defensive mates, however, were powerless as Buffalo racked up 356 total yards and 22 first downs on 63 total plays.
The loss plummeted Dallas to 6-6, raising questions about coach Jason Garrett’s job security and the fate of a Super Bowl-caliber roster that once-upon-a-time had equal expectations. Bennett’s loud grandstand was perceived to be the last straw for a frustrated squad, but it isn’t the fracture many assumed was inevitable.
“An exchange of words about sticking together,” quarterback Dak Prescott explained, per NBC5. “No belief has been lost. No confidence has been lost. It’s about us executing.”
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Jaylon Smith Paints Locker Room Scene
While the Cowboys can claim that Bennett’s rant came from a good place, things weren’t exactly sunshine and lollipops, either. Anger was palpable (and understandable) in the moments after Dallas was thoroughly outclassed by the Bills.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith agreed with there being a “pissed off” vibe in the bowels of Jerry World. To put it lightly. Smith used … ahem, colorful language to further describe the scene.
“Sh*tty,” he said, per NFL Network. Yeah, for sure. All of those words. For sure. We understand the type of team that we have, and what we’re capable of. We’ve got to find a way to show it on game day.”
Jerry Not Mad About It
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had tears welling in his eyes as he delivered his typical post-game address. But even he understands that outward emotion is as prevalent in this business as world-class physical talent.
It’s for that reason Jones wasn’t upset about Bennett, nor anyone else in the locker room, reacting on a soapbox to Dallas’ collective tail-kicking. In fact, he seemed to encourage it.
“Everybody in there that had anything to say, have earned the right to say it. … Those are very, very sensitive times in there,” Jones said, per The Athletic. “You see what everybody is about when you get in circumstances like this.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL