The Cowboys gave up a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Bengals on Saturday after Chris Jones hit the megatron video board in the middle of the field.
The play resulted in a re-kick so the punt team had sprint down the field again. But Garrett said being tired is no excuse for the touchdown return, blaming it on missing tackles and getting out of the lanes.
"Any justification? Absolutely not," Garrett responded if the re-kick played a role in the return. "This is real life. Absolutely not. You have to be mentally tough and you have to go do your job again. We had guys in position to make that play. We had three guys in position to make that play and they didn’t make it. And they have to do that if they want to be a part of it."
Garrett said many of the special teams issues _ and there have been more than a few this preseason, including several long returns, a blocked field goal, a missed field and a plethera of penalties _ should be cleaned up when the Cowboys get the guys in place they will use in the regular season. Still the performance of the special teams overall is not acceptable.
"For all the good things we did in the game, the four takeaways and the no turnovers, you know, having those plays typically are hard to overcome," Garrett said. "We missed a field goal. The operation wasn’t as clean as it needed to be. At the end of the ballgame, there was a long kickoff return that gave them a chance with under a minute to go to have decent field position. So, you say those things. We’ve had other bad plays in the preseason up to this point with our special teams. Sometimes it’s a combination of players. There’s different guys playing. Some of the guys who will be playing in the regular season aren’t playing. Guys are looking for jobs on those teams – I get all that. I get all that. Having said that, you’ve got to make sure you don’t have those bad plays. I think we’ve gotten better and better on teams, each and every week, in terms of our demeanor, how well we’re running, how physical we’re playing. Having said that, if you have 21 plays and four of them are bad plays or are going to hurt your team, that’s not good. Players need to understand that, that there’s a lot of responsibility that goes into being a special teams player in the National Football League, and we’ll get better and better."