Emmitt Smith: Cowboys got “lucky” against Atlanta; fundamentals need to improve

Emmitt Smith likes Mike McCarthy's approach thus far, but there are some things the Cowboys “need to clean up”

Tiki and Tierney
September 24, 2020 - 5:32 pm
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The Dallas Cowboys did the unthinkable this past weekend: they overcame a 39-24 deficit with less than five minutes to go against the Atlanta Falcons and won 40-39 on a walk-off field goal. It was a phenomenal win. Truly incredible.

But some might say they got lucky.

“We have not seen our guys handle the fundamentals very well, and that’s been disappointing,” Hall of Fame running back and Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith said on Tiki & Tierney. “But those are things that can get corrected. It’s not that they’re not playing hard – because they are playing hard. They’re flying around the football and trying to get to the football. There’s just some things that we need to clean up. It’s just Week 2.

“You’re right, we did get lucky,” Smith continued. “But some of the better teams pull out those kind of games, and maybe that’s the character of who we are and we’re working towards improving – because we definitely have a lot of room for improvement. But we got to do it quickly because Russell Wilson [is coming].”

The Cowboys lost their season-opener to the Rams, 20-17. Had the Cowboys started 0-2, the vibe surrounding the team would be much different – and new head coach Mike McCarthy would be feeling the heat.

“I’ve only met him one time,” Smith said of McCarthy, “but I respect the simple fact that he’s not making a ton of changes. Now, some things had to change. Defensively, we made some big changes. But when it comes down to this offense, the offensive scheme is still there with the same guy calling the plays. He has eliminated a lot of the guesswork, if you will, from the offensive side of the ball. He’s seeing what talent he actually has and how talented the team really is, and I think he will – and they will – make adjustments as they go on. Defensively, that defense is going to get better as the season goes on. 

“So I respect what he’s doing in terms of not making a ton of abrupt changes to where we’re setting [ourselves] back a couple years,” Smith continued. “I think they’re trying to figure this thing out, and we got to be patient as an organization. We got to be patient as fans. He could have came in and blew up the whole offense. . . . You could blow it up. It’s just going to set you back three more years.”

The Cowboys (1-1) are tied with Washington (1-1) atop the NFC East. Their toughest competition figures to be Philadelphia (0-2), but the Eagles have struggled out of the gate.

“When it comes down to worrying about other teams, anybody can be beaten on any given Sunday,” Smith said. “The Eagles don’t look as good as we thought that they would be at this point. The Cowboys have to be focused on the Dallas Cowboys and what we need to do to get better and to play better. If we just stay focused on that and improve week in and week out, then whether or not the Eagles have problems or the Giants have problems, it isn’t going to really matter at that point because we’re going to be playing at a level that they won’t be able to compete at even if they were doing pretty decent. That’s what you’re striving for.”