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Emmitt Smith questions 2011 Cowboys' mental toughness

  • By NFL.com
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This week's Cowboys-Giants game reminds many fans of 1993's season finale, when just like this year the teams met in East Rutherford, N.J., to decide the NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs.

That was the game in which all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith proved his tough-guy mettle by rushing for 168 yards with a separated shoulder to lead Dallas to an overtime victory, and eventually a second straight Super Bowl title.

Smith still roots for his old team, but on Thursday he said that the 2011 Cowboys might lack the mental toughness to repeat the feat of 1993's squad.

"Talent-wise, I think they have it," Smith told ESPN. "Leadership-wise, they have some good leaders on the ballclub. Do they have enough? Probably not. Can they go up to New York and be mentally tough in this situation? I think Jason (Garrett) has done a very good job of preparing the guys to be physically and hopefully mentally tough, but I think mental toughness is the thing needed in games like this.

"Mental toughness for four quarters or five quarters, if you have to go that far. But that's something our Cowboys have not been able to do in close games. And that's where mental toughness comes into play.

The Cowboys have lost fourth-quarter leads this season in losses to the Jets, Lions, Patriots and Giants.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones disagreed with Smith.

"I think our team does have the mental toughness," Jones said Thursday on ESPN Radio. "I think we'll show that when we go up to New York. I think we're going to have success."



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