FRISCO, Texas – Mercifully, this story feels like it's on its last legs.
It's been well-covered by this point that there appears to be some dissension in the Cowboys' ranks. Coaches and players alike have spent much of this week addressing the anonymous criticisms that followed the team in the wake of the 38-10 loss to Arizona.
It's been established by now that most would rather not hear these complains anonymously. On Thursday, Jaylon Smith became the latest veteran to speak out about that.
"I don't deal with all of that anonymous stuff," he said. "If you got something to say, just put your name on it. All of that anonymous stuff is really trash to me."
That part isn't surprising, given how universally players prefer to keep these matters in-house. Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott offered similar sentiments earlier this week.
What did stand out from Smith's weekly press conference, though, was his support for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.
"The head coach, he's a players' coach and he's about everyone being that," Smith said. "If you got something to say, own up to it, and regardless of whatever allegations were said."
It's pretty staggering how quickly McCarthy has found himself with his back against the wall, given that he's in his first season with the Cowboys – not to mention the fact that he's trying to navigate a global pandemic and a rash of crucial injuries at the same time.
It's still understandable considering recent results, as Arizona was the fifth-straight team to score at least 34 points on this Dallas defense.
He might not be inside the Cowboys' locker room, but a very prominent voice gave McCarthy a vote of confidence this week. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday and was quite complimentary of McCarthy's ability to handle a crisis..
"Mike, he knows how to deal with any type of adversity," Rodgers said. "We went through ups and downs at times – mostly ups, in Green Bay. But I know Mike knows how to steer those difficult situations."
That sentiment seems like it's shared within the walls of this facility. As turbulent as it's been here for the last few weeks, the Cowboys have not yet reached the midpoint of the season. There's plenty of opportunity for McCarthy and his coaching staff to turn things around, and there's plenty of optimism that they will.
"We've got complete confidence in this coaching staff," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones. "Obviously, new staff, and no one is making excuses – they aren't – they weren't able to get their hands on this football team until August. Offensively, we've been a little more in tune and we didn't change as much on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, we're trying to do some things that can help us out over the long haul, but there is a learning curve there. But I think we've got a great staff in place, and I think that's going to play out. As the season goes, you're going to see the skill with these coaches and with this football team."