At the bye, Cowboys looking to focus
LONDON – The Dallas Cowboys are 7-3 for the first time since 2009, the last time they won the NFC East and a playoff game, their only one since 1997. For a club that has been anything from 6-4 (2011) to 5-5 (2012, 2013) under head coach Jason Garrett, sitting at 7-3 has to feel good for the team.
"There’s some things up to this point that have been real positive for us and things that have been disappointed by," Garrett told the media after Sunday’s 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium.
"But for the most part over the course of the first 10 weeks we feel good about the position that we’re in."
"It’s good," said wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has scored a touchdown in each of his past three games.
Quarterback Tony Romo is especially proud of his teammates and their 7-3 mark.
Said Romo after the game: "I’m proud that they have got themselves and ourselves in this position."
However, the team knows that having only three losses, the third-fewest in the conference, after ten games is nothing to beat one’s chest over.
"No one has won anything yet," Romo said.
"It’s all in front of you. You got to take it and move forward and get better."
Bryant, who celebrated his 26th birthday in London and is the face of the franchise’s youth movement, parrots his quarterback.
"We can’t pay attention to it. We got to continue to keep our head down and focus on our goal, and we all know what that is. We got to stay together, play together, and hope for the best."
Fullback Tyler Clutts sees the impending bye week as a chance for the team to re-focus and self-evaluate heading into the final six-game stretch.
"You know, we just got to pay attention to details, and we’ve got to do the little things right because come late November, December, those are the teams that are successful are the teams that do things right," said Clutts after the win.
The defensive side of the ball also understands their time off needs to be spent gearing up for a playoff push.
"Learn from our bad and grow from our good. Take this break, get some good rest, and get ready to take over the NFC East," safety J.J. Wilcox stated was the team’s priority at 7-3.
Cornerback Brandon Carr, who has became one of the defense’s leaders after the departure of DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher and the season-ending injury to Sean Lee, says the Cowboys have to take it one game at a time.
Said Carr: "Put our all into each game. One game a time, one week at a time. You know, at the end of the season, we’ll see where we are in the end."
The way the season is shaping up, the season finale in Washington won’t be for the NFC East crown as it has been in the previous three seasons due to Washington’s descent and Dallas and Philadelphia’s ascent. Starting with the New York Giants on Sunday, November 23rd, every game Dallas plays could be a "win and get in" game, unlike previous years.
For Garrett, the bye couldn’t have come at a better time with starting defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford recovering from a sprained MCL and reserve cornerback Tyler Patmon could be out 2-4 weeks with a knee injury, but will be further evaluated in Dallas on Tuesday.
"We go back to Texas and get some guys back feeling a hundred percent and get ready for the next challenge of beating New York in a couple of weeks," the head coach said.