FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday he has not had a conversation with safety Xavier Woods after Woods' comment that it is not realistic to expect full effort on every play.
"Our effort's been good," Woods said Wednesday. "I mean, on certain plays some guys, I mean, me included, there may be a lack, but overall the effort is there. I mean, you don't expect, we're in the NFL, you don't expect guys full speed for 70 plays. That's not possible. But you're going to push all you can. I mean, we know. You don't expect a backside corner to make a play on the opposite side. If he's running full speed the whole time, it's just not possible, to be honest."
The Cowboys (1-3) allowed a franchise-record 307 rushing yards in their 49-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and have allowed 146 points, the most in the first four games of a season in franchise history. The Cowboys are 30th in yards allowed per game (430.5) and 31st in rushing yards allowed (172.5).
"I think it was a situation of trying to answer questions after a poor performance is the way I would classify it," McCarthy said Thursday of Woods' comments. "I don't think it's a statement that can be laid up against every possible situation in football as far as hypotheticals and things like that. We've addressed our performance Sunday. It was poor. The coaching on pursuit and expectations is on line with everybody's expectations and understanding on how you play this game."
On Monday, McCarthy said effort was not an issue, and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan backed him up, although defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, in postgame comments, called the unit's play "soft."
Linebacker Joe Thomas said Wednesday that he believes lack of consistency, not lack of effort, is what is hurting the defense most.
"That [criticism] is outside-the-building noise. It doesn't really affect us inside the building," Thomas said. "If there was an effort issue, it would've been addressed inside the building. I don't think that was an issue at all. It's just communication. When we're all on the same page and we know what's going on, we play faster and it looks a lot better."