As is normal in Dallas, the team is in a state of flux. With major changes a real possibility, the Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to step forward and make a statement to the Jones family that they do, in fact, have at least some of the answers in house. Let's take a look at some of the questions that must be resolved before the team can move forward.
Does the team have what it takes to battle through adversity?
A team that, at one point in the 2013 season, had its post-season fate solidly within its grasp now finds itself in a position where it is forced to fight its way into the NFL playoff picture. The Cowboys are going to have to prove that they are capable of stepping up to meet the challenge that they are facing. Given the rash of injuries that have decimated an already struggling defense, Dallas is going to need every player, from Tony Romo down to the 53rd man on the roster to assume personal responsibility for elevating his game over the closing stretch of the season. .
Has Jason Garrett lost the locker room?
We have all seen the speculation that Garrett is on his way out at Valley Ranch. In spite of owner Jerry Jones' claims that his head coach will return, if the team has lost the will to fight for their coach, there will have to be a change for Dallas to move on. A leader is only able to lead if he has a group willing to follow him into battle. After a meltdown against Green Bay that can justifiably be laid at Garrett's feet, it is perfectly reasonable to ask if Jason does still have such a group. The head coach is facing the biggest challenge of his coaching career and he is going to have to prove he is still in command.
Do the players believe in themselves and each other?
For the Cowboys to be successful in Washington, each player is going to have to suit up and ride into battle for and with his colleagues. The line is going to have to fight to clear a path for DeMarco Murray and he in turn must fight for every yard possible to reward their efforts. The rushman must wage war to get to the enemy quarterback to help take pressure off of the secondary while the DBs capitalize on the mistakes that they force the passer into. Each man is going to have to prove that he is entering combat for something greater than himself. That is the mark of a team, and Dallas must prove itself to be more that just a collection of players.
These are just three of the unanswered questions that the Dallas Cowboys face when the emerge onto FedEx Field on Sunday. They enter the game still in control of their destiny and how they respond will tell us more about this team than the rest of the season combined. Will they show that they can persevere and become something more than they have been, or will they prove themselves to be "the same ol' Cowboys." Though many already have their opinions formed, the Dallas Cowboys face not just a challenge, but an opportunity to embark on a new course. It is up to them to make that happen.
Sunday will be a blank page in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. What will they write on it?