PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 28: Roy Williams #11 and Terrell Owens #81 of the Dallas Cowboys sit on the bench late in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 44-6. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Cowboys would never come out and admit that chemistry issues were a concern in 2008, a consistent denial of what just about everyone assumed as fact; this is a frustrating stance. Jerry Jones, still, won't admit that harmony within the locker room was a motivating factor in his (really Stephen Jones', actually) decision to get rid of Terrell Owens.
This is why a recent article on the Cowboys' official website came across as more than a little interesting. The piece focused on the harmony within the locker room, the team "sticking together" after the 17-10 loss to Denver on Sunday; for the most part, it was a run of the mill collection of cliched quotes about teamwork, and so forth.
What came across as so intriguing was that none of the Cowboys hesitated to condemn 2008 as an example of a bad locker room. Some time between December of last year and this week, it appears that players have gone from utter denial to contented acceptance--basically admitting what everyone already knew.
"I hope it doesn't turn out like last year," said cornerback Mike Jenkins. "The situation last year, just finger-pointing, everybody. Just come in, watch the film, everybody correct each other and don't take it personally. That's the main thing we need to do is not take it personally and just stick together."
Which would seem to say something like, yes, last year was an utter train wreck. Jenkins wasn't alone in his sudden acceptance of the shortcomings of the 2008 team. Jason Witten alluded to the previous year as a tough sort of learning experience for the team.
"I think this team has done a great job of understanding and learning from that ," Witten said. "Just stay at the grind. We still have a lot of football left and everybody's playing hard."
Acceptance is a good thing, as is team harmony; now if they could just work on that record, you know, winning games...