December 30, 2011
The Hall of Fame running back told Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com that he doubts the team has enough leadership and toughness to win the de facto NFC East Championship game on Sunday night.
"Talent-wise, I think they have it. Leadership-wise, they have some good leaders on the ballclub. Do they have enough? Probably not. Can they go up to New York and be mentally tough in this situation? I think Jason [Garrett] has done a very good job of preparing the guys to be physically and hopefully mentally tough, but I think mental toughness is the thing needed in games like this.
"Mental toughness for four quarters or five quarters, if you have to go that far. But that's something our Cowboys have not been able to do in close games. And that's where mental toughness comes into play."
It was that exact mental toughness that allowed Smith to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher, a three-time Super Bowl champion and the guy who succeeded Drew Lachey as "Dancing With the Stars" champion. He's completely right though; as he pointed out later, the Cowboys have lost four games this season after holding fourth quarter leads. And in one of those, it was a timeout by Jason Garrett that played a hand in defeat. Is the team getting its cues from its coach?
The bright side is that the Cowboys are playing the Giants, a team whose mental toughness comes and goes without advance warning. One day they're beating New England and hanging with the defending Super Bowl champions, the next they're getting swept by the Washington Redskins.
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