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Mailbag: Were the Cowboys 'burnt out'?


In an interview last week, DeMarcus Lawrence said that the Cowboys were "burnt out" and that the team was healthy but "the legs get tired." I was surprised to hear him say that (and Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore seemed surprised as well in a later interview). What's your take? – Adrian Westbrook/Oklahoma City, OK

Nick Harris: I think any team that is entering the playoffs is obviously feeling the fatigue a little bit more than others knowing there are must-win games to play, but it's not like the Packers were in a different position. I took Lawrence's comments as meaning that the December stretch playing the Bills, Dolphins and Lions had the tank emptier than normal going into the playoffs. Regardless, it can't be an excuse. It can only be a reasoning for why the Cowboys didn't show up in one of the most disappointing playoff losses in franchise history.

Patrik: My take is simple: DeMarcus Lawrence is still one of the best defenders on this team and in the league, as well as a locker room leader who has done his job at every turn, even when many doubted he could; and that I would like to never, ever again in my life hear about a team being "tired" as a reason for losing in the postseason. Every player on every playoff team is tired, and yet the understand the mission. The 49ers and Chiefs were more tired than anyone, and yet there they were competing for a championship. Did the Cowboys have adversity? Yes, because they always do and so does every other team. Is every game like a playoff game? I suppose if you make it that way by not handling business early on to then apply undue pressure to yourself in December, but that's mostly controllable (hint). In the end, again, I honor Lawrence for his career and the fact he's still playing at a Pro Bowl level, and keeping the locker room hungry; but the latter is probably why I was most shocked to hear him say that. Just know that Mike Zimmer will hear none of that, ever.

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