Former Cowboys safety Darren Woodson got a taste of the glory days under Jimmy Johnson and he experienced firsthand the malaise of the post-Barry Switzer, pre-Bill Parcells era. So he has a pretty good a idea what the difference between a healthy Cowboys organization and a dysfunctional Cowboys organization looks like.
The major difference between the two, Woodson says, is a strong sense of accountability, instilled in the team by a strong-minded head coach--like, say, Johnson or Parcells.
“I think if you look at those years from ‘89 to ‘95 or ‘92 when Jimmy was involved to when Parcells came in the early 2000s, I think you’ve got to look at it and say those were our most successful years in the last 20 and in those two instances we had two coaches that dominated the locker room, that changed the culture in the locker room,” Woodson said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Jimmy was a guy who held everyone accountable from Troy Aikman to the punter, Mike Saxon. Parcells was exactly the same way. He held everyone accountable. He had control over the draft. Jimmy had control over the draft. He had control over his own personnel. "
“If you weren’t playing well, well, you get the boot, find yourself on the street. That’s when they were most successful. When no one can circumvent the coach is when they were very strong as an organization. Outside of that, they have been extremely average.”
In three full seasons under Jason Garrett, the Cowboys have been the very model of “average.” They’re 24-24 (that’s three 8-8 seasons), and have seen their playoff hopes dashed in the final week of each of the past three seasons with a Week 17 division loss. This year, it was the Eagles. In 2012, it was the Redskins and in 2011, it was the Giants.
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