Third-year Pro Bowl Linebacker Jaylon Smith joined the cast of FS1’s Undisputed Thursday during their Super Bowl week countdown episode in Maimi, Florida.
In a time where former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has been the scapegoat for all of the team’s decade-long struggles, Smith summed it up as: “It came down to execution.”
“It’s getting turnovers,” Smith said when asked to elaborate on executing. “When we’re in the red zone, scoring points. On the defensive side, getting off the field on third down. Not letting quarterbacks get outside the pocket.”
He stated they let the “basic fundamentals” get the best of them. Dallas came off of their fourth 8-8 season under Garrett, which was the main contributor to the team deciding to go in a different direction.
Smith recently attended his first Pro Bowl Sunday after recording 142 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception. On a team that ranked last in the NFL in interceptions, Smith’s one interception tied him for second on the team.
“In order to win you have to take the ball away,” Smith said. “That’s our mentality. You have to maximize each opportunity you get. We didn’t do that. The stats and films shows.”
Smith’s comments echo the sentiments shared on Undisputed a few weeks ago by Dallas safety Xavier Woods.
“Me, personally, I dropped four [potential interceptions]. … We missed tackles. That Chicago game was terrible. You can’t blame that on Coach,” safety Xavier Woods recently said on FS1’s Undisputed, exonerating since-fired head coach Jason Garrett. “That’s on the players.”
Newly hired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has stated his preference in cornerbacks come down to “ball hawks.”
“The really good quarterbacks recognize there really is no fear in throwing the ball if it’s going to be incomplete and go to the ground,” Nolan said. “But when that guy that’s covering him can take it the other way that’s a difference-maker.”
A telling sign about the Cowboys’ old regime came when Smith was asked about how Garrett was as a coach.
“Jason was consistent,” Smith said after a brief pause. “He was the same guy whether we won or loss. I respect him for being himself. But in this business sometimes change is good.”
Woods voiced the same message a few weeks ago during his time on the show when he said “sometimes change can be good.”
Often times when the message stays “consistent” it grows stale. It’s bound to happen after 10 years in one place.
Now that the messenger has changed we will see if the players can go execute next season.