Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Former Cowboys great Emmitt Smith has been making the media rounds the last few days and he's not too optimistic about his former team. He was actually fairly positive on a a Sirius NFL Radio interview with Rich Gannon and Adam Schein, but then he changed directions while appearing on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd.
"Realistically, I think that the Cowboys can win seven games," Smith said.
Really? Seven games? With a relatively easy schedule out of the gates, the Cowboys would have to completely collapse to end up with seven wins. Even the most cynical pundits (like this one) have the Cowboys winning at least nine games. So what does the former "Dancing With the Stars" winner think about the Cowboys' current locker room chemistry sans Terrell Owens?
"I mean, when I start hearing things are going to change, I keep asking myself as a player, how much are they going to change?" Smith said. "Are you going to be a hard-nosed coach now since things are going to change? Are you going to be more focused than you were last year? Those kind of things, I'm like, 'C'mon.' This is not a game where you can just turn it on and turn it off."
Sounds like that criticism was lobbed in the direction of coach Wade Phillips. And Smith wasn't finished. Before he hung up the phone, he took a few parting shots at wide receiver Roy Williams.
"The question is, can Roy step up and be what they need him to be?" Smith asked. "I don't know. I don't know if it's possible. I do not see him as a No. 1. I never have saw him as a No. 1. Never have. When I say No. 1, I mean your No. 1 go-to guy. He's not your No. 1 go-to guy."
Thanks to my guy Andrew Fitzpatrick over at Sirius, I also have a transcript of what Smith said about Tony Romo's leadership skills:
"Demand excellence. Demand excellence," Smith said of Romo. "That’s what you’re asking. You’re asking him to demand excellence. I used to send Tony Romo texts throughout the season just to encourage him, just to wish him luck and just to tell him to get on his offensive line. I hated watching this young man get sacked as much as he did, especially when it came down to big games. I know how important it is to have your quarterback standing upright. Matter of fact, I know how important it is not to allow someone hit on him period because I want him to think that this pocket is completely safe, no one is going to get to me and I got all the time in the world to make whatever decisions I need to make.
"That did not happen for Tony Romo. The sad part for me is just what you’re talking about, Rich (Gannon). I never saw him go snatch somebody up and say, 'Hey, we can’t win like this. We can’t have guys jumping off-sides. I can’t have somebody coming at me unabated. Who is making the mistakes up front? Why aren’t you picking this guy up? This is not going down this way. If you can’t get your job done get off the football field.’ And that’s the thing that I believe you touched on, Rich, that is missing at that position which boils back down to one word -- leadership."
This is the same thing Smith was saying last season. He wants Romo to holler at the offensive linemen more. Big deal. Would that make Cowboys fans feel better to see Romo screaming at his linemen? What do you think? And here's something else I thought you'd find interesting. Although Smith told Cowherd he thinks the Cowboys will win only seven games, he told the guys at Sirius that Dallas could challenge the division favorites:
"I think they can be good enough to challenge the Giants and the Eagles," Smith said. "When you think about what the Cowboys have offensively -- you have to start there -- they may not have the guy that can stretch the field for them, even though they have Miles Austin who is pretty fast and Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd can move the chains for them along with Jason Witten. But I think the stars that you should see this year, and if (offensive coordinator) Jason Garrett is looking for that balance and looking to protect the football a little bit is to lean more on Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. I think those three running backs make the Cowboys offense potent, very potent."
Well, at least Smith's being consistent.