Winning fixes everything, and that's precisely by the Dallas Cowboys are so broken right now. Currently sitting with their heads in their hands at 2-5 on the year, following a 25-3 manhandling at the hands of the Washington Football Team, every expectation the Cowboys had of being a contender in 2020 is seemingly out the door. That said, there's still value in playing for self and each other going forward, but now there are questions on if the latter is still a thing for Dallas.
In the aforementioned loss to Washington, Jon Bostic delivering a brutally illegal blow to the head in the third quarter that knocked off Dalton's helmet and put him out of the game for good. Bostic was ejected from the contest and reportedly won't face suspension, but all of that is only part of the story. As Dalton was helped up, woozy and having no recollection of what had just occurred, there wasn't a single Cowboys player overcome with anger enough to let Bostic know about it.that ended with
Instead, with Dalton removed and rookie backup Ben DiNucci inserted, everyone simply went on as if nothing happened. That doesn't sit well with head coach Mike McCarthy, who was admittedly surprised at the lack of reaction, and didn't mince words when he spoke to media about the incident following the game.
"We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another," McCarthy told media. "It definitely was not the response you would expect."
For his part, Ezekiel Elliott understands the side eyes from those who would've preferred the offense didn't turn the other cheek after seeing Dalton get brutalized, but he noted players wouldn't help the team by getting ejected for retaliating.
"[The criticism for lack of retaliation] is fair," he said, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. "But with doing that, you've got to be careful. We've got to find a way to not cross that line, but we've still got to protect our guys."
With recent news of a rift in the locker room that presumably began with a defensive disconnect -- which has since festered to the point where anonymous players are placing blame for the downtrodden season on the coaches -- the lack of reaction to the hit on Dalton combines with McCarthy's very public condemnation of it to make for a picture that's growing darker by the week. And with the team having to continue without Dak Prescott, who perennial All-Pro guard Zack Martin labeled as the "heart and soul" of the organization, it is truly fair to question the level of solidarity in the Cowboys locker room, or lack thereof.
Time and again since he entered the league in 2016, when Prescott was the victim of a questionable hit, there was zero hesitation by offensive players to rush to his defense. But when Dalton got his helmet knocked off and momentarily blacked out and fell limp, there wasn't a peep or a stir, so interpret that as you will.
Now, to be fair, Elliott has a point in that being ejected helps no one. That said, sending the message to the opposition that they can get away with headhunting your quarterback -- without so much as a stern look -- doesn't exactly help the team either.
If anything, it hurts, both literally and figuratively speaking.