Former NFL Coach Rex Ryan Calls out Cowboys for Being 'Soft'

Following a loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, there are questions swirling about the future of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. The reason is that the 53 players on the active roster are viewed as possibly the most talented group in the entire NFL. However, former NFL coach Rex Ryan says that there is a fatal flaw based upon the Cowboys being "soft."

Speaking on First Take Monday morning, the NFL coach-turned-analyst laid out his opinion for why the Cowboys have struggled this season. He believes that this roster has the right makeup to find consistent success, but the mental aspect of the game is causing too many issues.

"The problem with the Dallas Cowboys – you guys are both right – they have the talent, they have all this type of stuff," Ryan said. "So what's missing? It's the mentality that's missing. They don't have it. They should have been in attack mode from [the] jump."

As Ryan continued, going for the field goal on fourth-and-seven late in the fourth quarter was a critical mistake. He believes that the Cowboys needed to go for the win. Trying to simply get points against or tie with the New England Patriots is not the best approach.

The other primary issue, in Ryan's opinion, is that the Cowboys weren't physical enough. Running back Ezekiel Elliott only registered 21 carries on the day for 86 yards. He was averaging 4.1 yards-per-attempt against a defense that has struggled to stop the run in recent weeks, but the Cowboys didn't give him enough opportunities to move the chains.

As Ryan explained during his rant, he called for Jason Garrett to be fired two seasons ago, and he is still sticking with this opinion. He believes that defensive coach Kris Richard is a much better option.

As an analyst on ESPN, Ryan is sitting in a position where he will simply be referred to as a "talking head." However, he does have considerable experience against the Patriots due to his time as the head coach of the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. Ryan didn't find as much success against Bill Belichick during the regular season, but he did lead the Jets to a playoff victory in New England back on January 16, 2011.

Entering this divisional matchup with the Patriots, the Jets had the goal of being more physical than their opponent. Ryan's defense sacked Tom Brady five times while the trio of running backs combined for 28 carries, 121 yards, and one touchdown. Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw three touchdowns during the game, but he only had to attempt 25 passes.

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The Jets were viewed as the more physical team during the playoff battle with the Patriots, and Ryan believes that this mindset is exactly what is missing from the 2019 Dallas Cowboys. He also doesn't believe that Garrett will be the one to provide the needed change.

(Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty)