Garrett holding Cowboys accountable

If the second preseason game against the Chargers is an indication, the Cowboys have a lot of things that need to be worked on.

The good news is that coach Jason Garrett is the first one to admit as much.

He is not about excusing a sloppy performance or effort because of the missed offseason and OTA workouts. Nor is he going to let things slide because it's the just the second preseason game. Wade Phillips' old mindset of its OK we will get them next time is out the door.

Garrett wants his team accountable and mindful about everything they do every time they practice or play. He said the Cowboys are far from ready for the season opener, following a 20-7 loss that featured three turnovers and a host of mental breakdowns.

"We live in reality," Garrett said. "There were some things that happened that exposed us. There were a number of mental mistakes. We need to play better. There are some things that happened tonight that are mistakes that we shouldn't have made. There were some good things that happened but there were a lot of things that need to be addressed."

Garrett did address his team with a long postgame meeting in the locker room.

He was especially unhappy about the turnovers and says things must be cleaned up now.

"What I told the team after was, without having seen the stats, I bet we had more yards," Garret said. "I bet we ran for more yards. I bet we threw for more yards. I bet we were better on third down. But ultimately it comes down to we turned it over three times and they didn't turn it over at all. We need to do a better job taking care of the football. We need to do a better job getting it away from them. That is statistic No. 1 in the NFL and we lost tonight. I think that was a big reason why."

Tight end Jason Witten said the Cowboys were well aware of Garrett's anger and he welcomes the new culture, discipline and attention to detail.

"He is competitive," Witten said. "He has a high standard for this team. As he said day one what we talk about is winning turnovers and not turning the ball over and we didn't do that well enough. The result is not winning the game. You can't let the opportunity slip away. That is where he is. There is not a we'll get it next time. There is a mentality of we have to do it every time we get the opportunity."

The Cowboys are focused on improving their problems now because now the mindset changes.

They will go into Saturday's preseason game against the Vikings like it's the season opener. The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal for the season.

The starters will play the entire first half and maybe into the second half.

"It's that time for us," Witten said. "The players have that expectation. We are nearly four weeks into camp. It's time to make a move."

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