At 2-4, the Dallas Cowboys sit in first place in the NFC East heading into this Sunday's road game against the Washington Football Team. And while they would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today, the discontent appears to be growing in Dallas following the team's 38-10 loss to the visiting Cardinals on "Monday Night Football" in a game where the Cowboys never had a chance.
After keeping any issues interneal during the season's first six games, at least two Cowboys players have decided to break ranks, telling NFL Network's Jane Slater that the team's coaching staff is "totally unprepared."
"They don't teach," the unnamed player told Slater. "They don't have any sense of adjusting on the fly."
Another Cowboys played added, "They just aren't good at their jobs."
It's safe to say that Mike McCarthy's first season in Dallas has not gotten off to the start that he or team owner Jerry Jones would have liked. While the Cowboys' offense is dealing with the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott, Dallas' defense is allowing the fifth-most points in league history after six games. The Cowboys' defense is also tied with Las Vegas and Green Bay for the fewest forced takeaways in football.
While their defense isn't forcing enough turnovers the Cowboys' offense has had no issues giving the ball to opposing defenses. Andy Dalton, who has replaced Prescott in the starting lineup, threw two interceptions on Monday night. Ezekiel Elliott also coughed up the ball twice, as the Cowboys saw their league-worst turnover ratio swell to -12.
"It's something that we work diligently on and it's not carrying over to the game. It's something we have to just continue to stay after," McCarthy said about his team's turnover woes, via the Cowboys' official website. "Maybe frankly we're trying too hard or we're over-coaching. It clearly has put us in a position we've been playing uphill every single game.
"We haven't gotten into a groove or a rhythm or gotten out in front yet this year and it's self-inflicted wounds that continue to plague us."
There is also a perception that some Cowboys players are no longer giving their best effort on a consistent basis, something that was on display on numerous occasions during Monday night's loss.
Coaching aside, the Cowboys have been hit with a string of bad luck. Along with Prescott's injury, the Cowboys have suffered numerous injuries to their offensive line that includes losing seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith to a neck injury. Former first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch missed four games after breaking his collarbone in the Cowboys' season-opener, while fellow linebacker Sean Lee is currently on injured reserve with a sports hernia.
The Cowboys have also not found an adequate replacement for cornerback Byron Jones, who signed a lucrative long-term deal with the Dolphins during the offseason. The team replaced him with rookie Trevon Diggs, who has still in search of his first career interception. Dallas has received little contributions from fellow rookies Neville Gallimore and Bradlee Anae, who have combined to record just three tackles thus far.
While the Cowboys' defensive rookies have yet to make a big impact, CeeDee Lamb, the team's first pick in the draft, has helped Dallas' offense become one of the league's highest-scoring units. The success of Lamb, Amari Cooper and Elliott have been among the bright spots in an otherwise gloomy start for the Cowboys.
Dalton and Elliott, to their credit, took ownership of their miscues on Monday night. But if the Cowboys are going to get things turned around, it appears that they will have to get their internal issues straightened out sooner rather than later.