IRVING, Texas – Tight end
Witten said he respects the former head coach and didn’t realize Johnson had made those comments or where the comments came from, noting Johnson’s lack of a presence around Cowboys practices and players.
“I haven’t seen him around a lot,” Witten said. “Guys are working hard, so ultimately, that’s going to happen. I don’t think players can worry about that. You’ve got to fix it. We know what the expectations are, and trust me, we feel it every day. I don’t think you allow that to get in the way. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
While Witten may not have heard Johnson’s comments initially, he has heard the rumors about Sean Payton potentially becoming a free agent coach. Witten said he enjoys the coach he has now in Jason Garrett, who has received much of the criticism for a 3-5 start.
He gave a vote of confidence to Garrett and knows if the Cowboys players pulled out more games, many of those rumors would disappear.
“We know we have to win,” Witten said. “You always have to win. It’s a bottom line business for all of us as players and coaches. I think he’s a great coach. I really do. So we’ve just got to work hard and let those results come and get it fixed and all that will quiet down. He comes to work every day just like we do and puts us in a position to be our best and win games. But I don’t think you really listen to that outside news as players or coaches.”
Garrett hasn’t had a difficult time incorporating Witten into his game plan. Witten leads all NFL tight ends with 58 catches this season and the Cowboys own the No. 3 passing offense. Still, Witten knows offenses are judged more on how many points they put on the board.
Despite losing four of five games, Witten maintained that he thinks Garrett is the right man to lead Dallas to more victories, and it’s up to the Cowboys to back up their coach by winning more football games, beginning this weekend against Philadelphia.
“I think he’s done a great job of getting guys in here that work hard every day and provides a good perspective as a head coach and ultimately wins have got to follow,” Witten said. “You put that work in continuously like this group has, and the results will come.”
All year and loss after loss, Witten keeps pointing to execution as the cause for the Cowboys problems. He knows he provides similar answers every week, but he truly believes the turnaround will come soon.
Cowboys players and coaches didn’t want to use the word “desperate” to describe their team and need for a win, but they described their mentality as “urgent” for the remainder of the season.
“You’ve got to focus on what’s going to be the changes that will allow you to win those games,” Witten said. “That’s what this team has done in film study, taking it to practice and then executing on Sundays. I know that’s the same answer, but it really comes down to that.”