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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Emmitt Smith Accurate in Criticizing Dallas Cowboys’ Mental Toughness

Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith still considers himself part of the organization. Smith admirably refers to the team as “we” and is often critical of the current batch of Cowboys. On Thursday, Smith he doesn’t think the Cowboys can win on the road against the New York Giants on Sunday night for the NFC East title.

“Talent-wise, I think they have it,” Smith said. “Leadership-wise, they have some good leaders on the ball club. Do they have enough? Probably not.”

Smith did not mention any names, but the one player everyone will be watching on Sunday night is Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. His entire career has been defined by his failure to play well in “big games.”

The only true leaders on the Cowboys’ roster are tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Sean Lee. These are the only two players who consistently make plays, whether it’s in typical situations or in clutch moments. Smith alluded to the fact that a lack of guys like this is what has plagued the 2011 Cowboys.

“Mental toughness is the thing needed in games like this,” Smith said. “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.”

Smith went on to point out the Cowboys have lost four games in the fourth quarter this season, all by four points or less. Dallas has blown three 12-point, fourth quarter leads this year, the most ever by an NFL team in a single season.

Smith is exactly right about the Cowboys’ lack of mental toughness. The Dallas faithful have no reason to believe their team can go to New York and win this do-or-die game. However, guys like Romo and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant can establish themselves as leaders with strong games, especially from a mental standpoint. The ability to stay composed in a game like this takes a tremendous amount of mental toughness; Smith hit the nail on the head regarding this year’s Dallas Cowboys.

Follow Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin