The Occam’s razor answer to why the Cowboys were terrible last year is mostly about missing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for large parts of the year with injuries.
But as with any team with a 4-12 record, there’s usually a lot more to that. Many have pointed to locker room dysfunction, specifically as it pertained to coddled, expensive and distracting defensive end Greg Hardy.
But linebacker Sean Lee insisted that no, it was mostly the fact Romo and Bryant were hurt all season.
Via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, Lee said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that effort and togetherness wasn’t the issue.
“I thought if you watch our effort throughout games, we played extremely hard,” Lee said. “The issue with us was when we lost some of our best players — Tony, Dez — the margin for error became smaller. We weren’t able to overcome adversity. We didn’t make the critical plays, game-changing plays all the time. We didn’t cause enough turnovers. Defensively, we didn’t make the plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
“That’s why we lost football games. It was never because we weren’t all-in. It was never because of effort. It was all because of execution, especially in critical times.”
Of course, critical times in games are when teams which are together make plays beyond the sum of their individual talents. And when there’s grousing inside the building about the way certain players are treated, it’s hard to create the kind of bond needed to do so.
That, and not having a quarterback does tend to make it harder.