Cowboys want to finish in December this time
Jerry Jones sees a healthy and productive Tony Romo taking the
Dallas Cowboys into December in playoff contention – same as the
past two years.
If the Dallas owner gets another ending without a postseason
trip, he’s going to feel as if someone is piling on.
”I don’t know of but one or two other things I could put on a
hand that matches the disappointment that I’ve had the last two
years,” Jones said.
”I’ve often said it is one of the biggest disappointments of my
entire time to have Romo as quarterback and not be in better shape
for the playoffs as we’ve looked at his career. We need to change
The Cowboys get December started Monday night in Chicago, where
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be sidelined again and Dallas
should see the return of linebacker Sean Lee, who was a full
participant in practice Thursday after missing two games with a
Dallas (7-5) and Philadelphia are tied atop the NFC East, and
those teams play the season finale on the Cowboys’ home field.
Before that, the Cowboys get Green Bay at home and Washington on
The 2011 and 2012 seasons ended for the Cowboys away from home
in chilly playoffs-or-bust finales against the other division
rivals, the New York Giants and the Redskins.
That’s probably why Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick thinks
of the December failures as ”a bunch of road games.”
”We couldn’t set it up much better,” said Scandrick, who has
been strong as a starter with injuries sidelining 2012 top 10 pick
Morris Claiborne. ”Two road, two home. This feels like as good an
opportunity as you could ask for.”
The chances the past two seasons were good, too. The Cowboys
were 8-6 each time, although they had a bad December two years ago
before losing to the Giants 31-14 in a night game on New Year’s
Last year, Romo led the Cowboys to three straight December wins
before losses to New Orleans and Washington extended their playoff
drought to three years.
The past two Decembers sum up Romo’s career pretty well: spotty
overall and an 11-15 record as a starter with three trips to the
playoffs and three early tickets home.
”We’re not even looking back, last December to the December
before that,” Scandrick said. ”None of that’s even been
discussed. We’re looking forward and we’re focused.”
The Cowboys are healthier as well. Last December they were
missing their two best linebackers in Lee (toe injury) and Bruce
Carter (dislocated elbow).
Safety Barry Church was long gone by then with a ruptured
Achilles tendon, and pass rushing star DeMarcus Ware wasn’t himself
because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in the
So Dallas basically couldn’t stop Drew Brees from throwing or
Alfred Morris from running in the back-to-back losses.
This time, Claiborne is the only significant defender sidelined,
not counting the early season loss of end Anthony Spencer to knee
surgery or the release of tackle Jay Ratliff after he didn’t play a
down in Dallas because of a groin injury and signed with Chicago,
where he made his season debut last week.
”There’s no question we were rendered almost really helpless as
the last part of the season came along to really be what we wanted
to be defensively,” Jones said. ”We’re not that way this year.
We’ve got a chance.”
Jason Garrett is talking to his players about finishing.
”And there are so many things that you finish,” the coach
said. ”You finish plays, you finish drives, you finish games and
you certainly emphasize finishing the season. That’s where our
attention’s going to be.”
So is the owner’s.
Notes: Besides Lee, two other Dallas LBs were full participants
in practice after missing multiple games. Justin Durant was out two
games with a hamstring injury, and rookie DeVonte Holloman has
missed the past six games with a neck problem. … Claiborne and
WR/KR Dwayne Harris did not practice because of hamstring issues.
… The Cowboys signed TE Jameson Konz and RB George Winn to their
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