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Jason Garrett should own up to errors

IRVING, Texas -- All we're really interested in is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has decided he's not interested in providing it to me. Or you.

So he's sticking to his story about the silliness that took place in the final minute of Sunday's fourth quarter against Arizona, ultimately leading to a 19-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals.

And that's too bad.

Garrett should've used that moment to do what Rick Carlisle did after the Mavs blew a 23-point lead in the final 13 minutes in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against Portland.

The Blazers won, primarily because Brandon Roy scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter with the same isolation play at the top of the key.

Afterward, Carlisle apologized to the team privately for putting it in a bad spot by not changing the defensive scheme.

Then he publicly accepted the responsibility.

"I'm going to take the blame for a lot of that," Carlisle said after the game. "There are different things defensively we could have done."

Let me tell you, that's all it took for the players' respect and admiration of Carlisle to multiply as the Mavs continued their championship run.

Did you notice Carlisle took the blame for a lot of the problems -- not all of them? What he did was hold himself to the same high standard he holds the players.

No more, no less.

Instead, as expected, Garrett refused to talk about the Cardinals on Wednesday.

"We talked about that after the ballgame," Garrett said. "We talked about that Monday, so we're not going to revisit that.

"We have a 24-hour rule that we stick with around here. That topic has gotten a lot of conversation, so we're going to leave it within the 24-hour rule and certainly focus on the next challenge against the Giants."

He basically provided the same answer the next three times he was asked a question about the circumstances at the end of that game.

"I'll answer it the same way: It's the 24-hour rule and we're on to the Giants," he said. "We've been on the Giants for a couple of days now."

When questioned Monday, Garrett stood by his decisions but wasn't particularly forthright, twice replying "I don't have a great answer for you on that."

Accountability must run throughout the organization for it to take hold. You can't fool players. They know the truth.

The truth, whether he chooses to admit it publicly or whether the players choose to discuss it, is that Garrett screwed up.

We can't believe him, when he says he wanted to spike the ball after Dez Bryant's sliding catch gave the Cowboys a first down at the Arizona 31, because he didn't have to do that.

After all, no smart coach chooses to settle for a 49-yard field goal when he has 25 seconds and two timeouts left.

You do know the success rate for kickers on kicks of 49 yards or longer this season is 52.2 percent. Most coaches expect their kickers to hit 80 percent of their attempts.

Perhaps he just had more confidence in his rookie kicker with four game winners to his credit this season than an offensive line that had been manhandled much of the game by Arizona.

Whatever the reason, he made a poor decision at the end of the game. It won't be the last one, either.

Coaches make mistakes, and it's OK to admit it.

Anyone who watches the Cowboys regularly knows this team isn't good enough to win the Super Bowl this season. Heck, the Cowboys might not even make the playoffs if they don't beat the Giants on Sunday night, but Garrett is a good coach and he has the team pointed in the right direction,

Admitting he made a mistake at the end of Sunday's game would've humanized him and been yet another building block in Garrett's never-ending quest to gain credibility in the locker room.

He has some right now because the things he's told the players about how it takes every player on the roster each week to win a game and fighting through adversity leads to wins have been proved correct.

But if he's going to hold his players accountable -- and he does -- then he must set the standard for accountability.

He failed to do that this week.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.