Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy questions his players’ reaction to nasty hit on Andy Dalton

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was left less than pleased with his team’s response to Jon Bostic’s vicious hit on Andy Dalton in Sunday’s loss to Washington. 

The backup Cowboys quarterback was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the third quarter after Bostic delivered a cowardly head-first hit that removed Dalton’s helmet as he was sliding to avoid a collision.

It prompted next to no reaction from Dalton’s Cowboys colleagues, raising further questions surrounding the atmosphere amid the team’s recent slump.

“We speak all the time about playing for one another and protecting each other,” Mike McCarthy said after the 25-3 defeat. “So, definitely it was probably not the response that you would expect.”

The Cowboys fell to their fourth defeat of the campaign as the Philadelphia Eagles finished the weekend top of the NFC East with a matching 2-4 record following Thursday’s win over the New York Giants.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan finds himself under more pressure after his unit, ranked last in scoring in the NFL, gave up 25 points to Washington’s bottom three offense.

With a depleted offensive line and running back Ezekiel Elliott continuing to struggle, the Cowboys managed just 142 total yards on offense compared to Washington’s 397.

“We’re not doing the basics. Let’s quit candy-coating it,” McCarthy said. “I can’t stand up here and keep talking about taking care of the football, taking the ball away and just the fundamentals.

“Whether we haven’t had enough time together or whatever the case is, at the end of the day, the schedule is set and we need to continue to work because we need improvement each day, each week especially before we go to Philadelphia.”

On-field disappointment follows a week of turbulence away from it, with anonymous quotes emerging from the Cowboys locker room pointing towards discontent with the team’s coaching staff.

At this rate, one-and-out is looking a possibility for McCarthy, who enters the Week Eight matchup with the Eagles in desperate need of a win.

“The only ones who are going to get us out of the hole are us as a football team,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to be able to keep playing, keep playing to win, not playing to not make mistakes. I felt like I saw some of that today.

“We’re not cutting it loose. We look like we’re holding back at certain points. So, we’ve got to execute better obviously. We knew we needed to play the game a certain way today and we did not get that done.”

Dalton was replaced by Ben DiNucci in the game, with the 2020 seventh-round pick out of James Maddison finishing two of three for 39 yards. He is now in contention to start for the Cowboys against the Eagles.

“I haven’t really thought that far down the road yet,” said DiNucci. “I just got out of the shower and put my warmup gear on. I’m not sure how all the protocols work and stuff of that nature.

“But if my number is called, shoot, I’ll be the first one in the building tomorrow and the last one to leave. I’ve got to prepare like I have been for the last two months; nothing changes.

“I’ve learned more from sitting in a room with Dak and Andy the last two months than I have playing the last eight years.

“You can’t say enough good things about those guys. Again, you hate that injuries have to happen for me to be on the field, but this is an opportunity that everyone wants playing football.”

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