Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman doesn’t have the luxury of pulling punches in his current role as an analyst for FOX, and sometimes that means brutal honesty even for friends and former teammates.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett backed Aikman up for seven years, but he found himself in Aikman’s crosshairs after some questionable decision-making against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Trailing by 9 points with less than 8 minutes remaining and the ball inside the 5-yard line on first and goal, Garrett and his offensive coordinator Scott Linehan didn’t give the ball to running back Ezekiel Elliott on either first or second down. And Aikman lit into them for it.
“To be inside the 5-yard line and not give the ball to Zeke [on] first or second down, that’s going to be questioned,” Aikman said according to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News. “When you’ve got Ezekiel Elliott … and you don’t give him the ball in a critical situation, it’s hard to justify.”
Elliott returned from a six-game suspension for domestic violence on Sunday night with the Cowboys playing in a playoff elimination game and the Cowboys fed him 28 touches, but not giving him the ball in that critical situation was certainly head-scratching. Prior to that, he’d converted 4 of 8 rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line for touchdowns.
Ultimately, the Cowboys lost and were eliminated from postseason contention. And there’s plenty of blame to go around, but quite a bit of heat is justifiably falling on the coaching staff for questionable decision making when it mattered most.