Tight end Jason Witten and defensive end DeMarcus Ware have seen the Monday after a loss to end the season, knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs one too many times.
The Cowboys finished 8-8 for the third staight year and out of the playoffs for fourth straight year. They lost the winner take all battle for the NFC East title and the playoffs in the season final for the third straight year.
It doesn't get any easier or any better to deal with.
"It is a disappointing season, ending 8-8," Ware said. "I mean, you get tired of it. After a while, each year, you feel like you lose something. It’s something that you lose from each one of the years, so it’s like, how do you come back from that."
Said Witten: "Obviously, it’s a disappointing day, to be in this situation, not preparing for a playoff game. Everybody’s disappointed. Every time you experience this, it’s been tough. It’s something I hope I never have to experience again. But, yeah, this one was really tough. To get there three years in a row and come up short, it hurts. Ultimately, we’ve got to do a better job."
Neither Witten nor Ware have the answers of what it will take for the Cowboys to get out of their mediocre funk and get over the hump.
Ware doesn't even now if the Cowboys front office has all the right answers.
"I don’t think there is always for sure a road map, but you got to have a road map early," Ware said. "You can’t have it late. You got to start that road map right now. You have to start all the way from watching games to getting ready for getting surgeries or whatever you need to get, getting healthy, all the way to OTAs, knowing what’s going on. It goes all the way through the off season to make sure that once training camp hits you know everything is right."
Witten put it on the players. He said they just have to find a way to play better when it matters most.
“I really do think that you just have to obviously play better," Witten said. "Throughout seasons, there’s games we can go back and look at and circle and say if there’s different outcomes in those games, you’re in a different situation. I think a lot of teams would probably say that across the league, so you can’t use that as a crutch and an excuse. You ultimately across the board, players have to play better and give yourself a chance to win those games. This is a tough league and every team has those obstacles and challenges. You hope that you can overcome that and you can win those games that you look back and say, ‘Oh, man, we could’ve got that one.’ You got to find ways to do it. You can’t just say it. You almost sound a little bit like a coward when you mention that, but that’s what’s tough when you have those opportunities and you don’t take advantage of it, it hurts pretty bad.”