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Playoff Picture: Cowboys One Win From Playoffs

The Dallas Cowboys have improved from 3-5 to 8-5. Fans have gone from believing the Cowboys would have a top 10 pick the NFL Draft to believing this years team is Big Game Bound.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on his team’s improvement: 

I just think if you look at every part of your life and then certainly your life here as a coach or as a player or a staff member connecting with our team. That’s when you function your best. I think there are daily examples of that. So if you’re thinking about what happened yesterday or worried about what will happen tomorrow – some of the other distractions in your life, you’re not going to be your best at doing what you’re supposed to do. So that’s just something we’ve tried to emphasize from minute one with everybody. We have to live it as coaches, try to instill it in our team individually and collectively. And ultimately that’s how you’re going to play your best.”  

Dak Prescott has shown flashes of what could be. Garrett believes the best is yet to come for his young quarterback, note the emphasis on young.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on Dak Prescott: 

“I think every player has strengths and weaknesses. Every player has certain things they do well and they’re working on some other things to get ’em up to a certain standard. And he’s no different. He’s a young player in this league. To be in your third year out of college and be a starting quarterback with two and a half years under your belt – again you’ve heard me say this before, there are a number of Hall of Fame quarterbacks that if you look at them chronologically from their third year coming out of school many of them didn’t play. They didn’t play until year three or four.”

For the first time in franchise history. the Cowboys had a 400-yard passer, a 200-yard receiver and a 100-yard rusher against the Eagles in week 14. But turnovers and red zone failures hid what was truly a display of offensive columnist Mickey Spagnola says the problems in the red zone could eventually catch up to them.

Mickey Spagnola on the Cowboys red zone struggles: 

One of the things that they have to do better. And I wouldn’t call it a funk because they dominated the game. What happens is they are moving the ball and moving the ball and getting into first and goal situations and not scoring touchdowns. I’ve always said and I know the people that follow us have heard it before. The more field goals you kick – the closer you are to losing. You can’t keep leaving four points on the board when you’re first and goal. They’ve had first and goal at the four three times, first and goal at the five and they end up with field goals. That can’t happen. You’ve got to score points. If they score points in those situations then it won’t look like a first half funk. The yards and points don’t coincide. They have all these yards moving the ball and dominating time of possession. But they’re not turning those yards into the necessary number of points they should be turning them into.”     

While the Dallas Cowboys have converted 43 third downs the past six weeks, no other teams has converted more than 36. The Cowboys coaching staff needs to figure out how to get Amari Cooper more successfully involved in first and goal situations. The Cowboys certainly wouldn’t be atop the NFC East had they not acquired the wide receiver from the Raiders in a trade. 

The Cowboys need just one more win to punch their ticket to the postseason. 

Jason Garrett on preparing for the Colts this Sunday: 

The focus won’t change. We’re locked in on having a good Wednesday to start our week of preparation on the field and hopefully to give us the best chance to win on Sunday.”