Add youth and immaturity to the list of issues that plagued the Cowboys this year.
Certainly, the loss of quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant were a big part of the struggles for the 4-11 Cowboys but veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey also blames poor attitudes and a youthful mentality for the team’s drop from first in the NFC East last year to worst in 2015.
While owner Jerry Jones and others think the Cowboys will be right back among the league’s elite with the return of a healthy Romo and Bryant next year, Mincey said the Cowboys will be in the same situation next year if things don’t change and the players don’t grow up.
“Faith without works is dead,” Mincey said. “The key to thing is you have to have faith in the process. You have to have in yourself as a player. We have ways to go. Until we change our mentality and change our outlook on the game, we will be in the same situation and the same place. Until we change that, it’s going to be tough to move a notch higher.”
The Cowboys front office is proud to field at a team that is among the youngest in the league. Mincey is one of just six players on the current 53-man roster over the age of 30. Add in Romo, who is on injured reserve, and number swells to seven.
Only 19 of the 53 have five or more years of experience. 24 of the 53 are age 26 or younger.
Mincey said the young players just don’t get it terms of how precious this opportunity is and how precious each game is.
"It has to mean something to you," Mincey said. "I know how limited this situation is, how limited this opportunity is. Some guys just don’t understand that. That comes with time and that come with maturity and that comes with growth. Mincey, 32, is coming off an injury-plagued season and saw his playing time diminished. He was made inactive for last week’s against the Bills and doesn’t know if he will play in the season final. He has yet to record a sack after recording six last year.
But Mincey has been limited by an injured right elbow that he can’t straight out. He will have it scoped in the offseason for the second straight year.
Mincey, who is in the final year of his contract, said he hopes to return to Cowboys in 2016 and help mentor defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence.
“I don’t know where the chips lie,” Mincey said. “Whoever gives me the opportunity will have a very hungry player and will have a very smart player. They are going to have a very well rounded player. I have plenty years left. I am fully of energy. I plan on getting my elbow scoped where I can use and get is straightened out where I can function.”