The Dallas Cowboys will have next weekend off before the team embarks on a journey down the home stretch toward a possible playoff berth. The road ahead will not be easy for the Cowboys. Dallas has four road games and four games against division opponents over the last month and a half of football. The team is going to have to strap on their helmets every week and earn their way into the NFL's post season party. Here is a look at what the Cowboys face.
11/23 @ New York Giants
11/27 Philadelphia Eagles
12/4 @ Chicago Bears
12/14 @ Philadelphia Eagles
12/21 Indianapolis Colts
12/28 @ Washington Redskins
It will certainly not be handed to Dallas; like anything else worth having, the NFC East crown will have to be earned. The road for the team is still uphill, and head coach Jason Garrett is setting the right mindset for the journey. Adopting the philosophy of the US Navy SEALs, whom the team visited at the close of training camp a few years back, the Cowboys are taking a similar approach to the one used in training by the Navy frogmen.
"For the most part, over the course of the first 10 weeks we feel good about the position we're in, but we talked to our team after the game, the only easy day was yesterday. Fortunately, there's time for us to get healed up a little bit. We go back to Texas and get some guys back feeling 100 percent and get ready for the next challenge of beating New York in a couple of weeks." - Jason Garrett
It is that "the only easy day was yesterday" which has been a hallmark of the SEAL Teams since their inception, and yesterday was only easy because it is over. That philosophy will serve the Cowboys well. From this point forward, Dallas will have to scratch and claw their way toward the playoffs. Any breaks that they get along the way will be the ones they create for themselves.
The Dallas Cowboys can control their own destiny from this point forward. Every game from here on out is winnable, but there are no real gifts waiting for them. It will take determination, a refusal to give up, and relentless preparation on the part of everyone associated with the team. In short, it will require the very type of thing that Jason Garrett has been preaching to his team since the day he replaced Wade Phillips on the sidelines. It will require that 53 men buy in to the "Way Of The Rooster".
Up to this point everything has been a part of the "process", something that has been a bit of a running joke for some, but based on what we have seen so far; I am not betting against Garrett and his team. Many wrote this team off prior to the start of training camp; following a winless pre-season the "Dallas sucks" bandwagon was bogged down, and following opening day a funeral dirge was playing for the team. Now, ten weeks into the season, the Cowboys have fought their way to near the top of the NFL based on being the type of squad Garrett has always envisioned. Now they begin the quest to fulfill the process.