Keith Brooking: Poor execution destroys D

IRVING, Texas -- The most befuddling thing about the Cowboys’ miserable season has been the way the defense has completely fallen apart the last two weeks.

Opponents have lit up the JerryWorld scoreboards for 76 points while racking up 884 yards in the last two games. The Giants and Jaguars combined to score 69 points on 20 possessions since the Cowboys took a 13-point lead Monday night.

What the heck has happened to the unit that allowed the fewest points in the NFC last season?

Coach Wade Phillips summed it up Sunday afternoon by saying that he’s not getting the talented players to perform well. Captain Keith Brooking elaborated a little Monday morning.

Actually, Brooking elaborate a lot. Here’s his 400-plus-word response to that simple question:

“It’s a lack of execution,” Brooking said. “Everyone’s searching for answers. What is going on? It’s very simple. This game is very simple. It’s not complex. As players, we are not going out there and executing the play that’s called. Bottom line. That’s it.

“Wherever [Phillips] has been, he’s been successful. I’ve had a lot of success under Wade Phillips as a defensive coordinator with different personnel, different players, different teams obviously. You think overnight his defense is not going to hold up and be successful? No, it’s on us to go out there and execute and make plays.

“There is a lack of execution on our part, and it’s a different guy on every play. I take the responsibility for that, because I’m a leader on this team. I’m a captain for the defense, and it’s unacceptable. It hurts like hell. The only thing I know to do is keep fighting, keep pressing.

“Why are we not executing? I guess that would be the next question. It’s not for a lack of effort. I just watched every play. I watched every play three or four times. There’s a tremendous amount of effort there. Guys are giving it up.

“But there are some plays that it seems like guys are trying too hard. Like in our run fits, teams aren’t gashing us for four or five yards a pop. There’s three or four runs that total 70 yards, then the rest of them they’re averaging less than 1 or 2 yards a carry. They’re not bam, just gashing us for 4 or 5 and man, we can’t stop this. But the runs they’re gashing us on for 15, 20, 30 yards, guys are beating their guy, but they’re just trying to do too much.

“A few times, you get out of your gap because you kind of feel like the game isn’t going the way that you want it to and you press. A good back like [Maurice] Jones-Drew is going to expose you. You get out of your gap and you’re trying to make the play, and all of the sudden he cuts back and it’s a 20-yard gain. It’s things like that that are taking place as far as a lack of execution.

“We’ve just got to have faith in one another, know that everybody’s going to do their job and just take care of your responsibility defensively. Everyone execute their responsibility and this defense will hold up.”