Unnamed Cowboys players called out the coaching staff last week in an NFL Media report. Mike McCarthy questioned his players after Sunday’s game.
McCarthy didn’t appreciate that none of his players came to Andy Dalton‘s defense after Jon Bostic‘s dirty hit on Dalton. The other 10 Cowboys on the field — which included four backup offensive linemen — didn’t get in the Washington linebacker’s face.
“We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another,” McCarthy said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “It definitely was probably not the response you would expect.”
Dalton left with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter after Bostic’s helmet-to-helmet hit. Dalton was sliding, giving himself up after a scramble. Dalton is in concussion protocol, McCarthy said.
Rookie Ben DiNucci replaced Dalton and could start next Sunday against the Eagles if Dalton isn’t cleared for the game.
The Cowboys didn’t respond to Bostic, quickly drawing criticism on social media.
“I think you could say that. That’s fair,” Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said of those who questioned the team’s on-field response. “But with doing that, you’ve got to be careful, because we’re already down a bunch of guys that if you go in there and throw a punch and you get kicked out the game, you can’t help the team from the . . . locker room. We’ve got to find a way to not cross that line, but we’ve still got to protect our guys.”
The Cowboys, who are reeling, already have lost starting quarterback Dak Prescott for the season.
“You’re going to lose guys in this sport,” Elliott said. “You’ve got to have the next-man-up mentality.”