Players take responsibility

IRVING, Tex. - A somber Dallas Cowboys locker room greeted a massive throng of media who descended upon the team's Valley Ranch practice facility Monday, with few players emerging from the training room, weight room and dining room to answer reporters' questions about the Monday firing of head coach Wade Phillips.

"It's all of our responsibility," wide receiver Miles Austin said when asked if the players were partly to blame for Phillips' dismissal. "It's tough … tough to go through a loss like last night.

"Any time someone loses a job, and you had something to do with it, it's very tough."

"We'd better," quarterback Jon Kitna said when asked if the players should feel some responsibility. "For me, personally, I feel terrible that we let that happen."

Austin declined to answer when asked if the decision to replace Phillips on an interim basis with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was the right decision.

"It's not up to me to make those decisions," he said. "Our job is to roll with it and keep working. We have a job to do."

Austin and Kitna both expressed confidence in Garrett's abilities as a coach.

"I expect him to do a good job — I understand how he is as a coach," Austin. "He's very consistent, very ‘to the routine.'"

Kitna echoed Austin's positive assessment of Garrett, but cautioned that while Garrett might change things a little, or add some kind of a spark merely because of a change in personality in the head coaching position, that didn't necessarily equate to a formula for an immediate reversal for a team whose season started with Super Bowl aspirations and has crashed to a 1-7 start.

"Our bed has been made," Kitna said. "Now we have a chance to do something about it going forward. But things like this don't change overnight."

Kitna also agreed with the sentiment many share that the Cowboys are far too talented to be mired in the basement of the NFC East, looking up at the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, and within one game of the bottom of the standings for the entire NFL.

"I have said since I've been here that this is the most talent I've ever been around," Kitna said. "But talent is only part of the equation."

Kitna was asked repeatedly what has gone wrong with the 2010 Cowboys, why the team's record and performance are so different from the obvious talent that fills the team's roster.

"If we knew that, we wouldn't be here having this conversation," Kitna said. "If there were an easy solution, we wouldn't be here."

Kitna said that the remaining eight games on the team's schedule present an opportunity for the Cowboys to come together and grow as a team, regardless of the record.

"Hopefully, the remaining games will be about competition and character," he said, "about this group growing together.

"Time will tell."

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