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Should Lack Of Playoff Experience Be A Concern For The Dallas Cowboys?

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The Cowboys return to the NFL's post-season party for the first time since 2009. With their return to the festivities the team will be bringing a lot of new faces. Will that have an impact on the team's performance?

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For the staff here at Blogging The Boys, this marks the first time that any of us, with the exception of our venerable leader Dave Halprin, have been given the opportunity to cover the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. The team finds itself in a similar situation. Only six men on the roster have worn the star in post-season action. They are Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Doug Free, Anthony Spencer, Orlando Scandrick, and L. P. Ladouceur. All were members of the squad when the team defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the wildcard round in 2009 before falling to the Minnesota Vikings the following week.

In addition to that experience, the Cowboys have a handful of players who have post-season experience with other franchises. This experience is primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive backs Brandon Carr and Sterling Moore, as well as defensive lineman Henry Melton (who has been placed on IR), Jeremy Mincey, and Nick Hayden all have playoff experience. The "old head" among all Cowboys is C. J. Spillman who leads the way having nine games worth of experience in the post season. On the other side of the ball, reserve guard Mackenzy Bernadeau was a member of the Carolina Panther's playoff team several years ago.

The Sunday afternoon game against Detroit will be a new experience for everyone else on the squad. A good argument can be made that a lack of experience in the win or go home atmosphere of the post-season will work against Dallas, but we have to ask ourselves if that is really the case. Over the last several seasons the Cowboys have found themselves in a similar situation multiple times. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 the team entered the week 17 contest where they faced the exact same situation; win or go home. Each time the Cowboys found themselves on the short end of the stick and they watched the playoffs from the same seats as you and I do. The positive side of coming up short in multiple "NFC East Championship Games" is that the players did gain valuable experience in a pressure-packed situation.

That experience seems to have paid off in spades this season. Throughout the season the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles have went toe-to-toe for the top spot in the division. For the 'Boys, things came to a boiling point once the Eagles flew into AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day and enjoyed a feast at the expense of Jason Garrett's charges. The Cowboys have been in a "win or go home" mode ever since that moment. Every contest (with the exception of the final game against Washington) has essentially been a playoff game for the team. The difference in this season, as compared to the previous three, is that the Cowboys have learned how to win in that environment.

That is a point that the Cowboys on the field leader is emphasizing heavily.

"Four weeks ago you felt like as if you lost a game, you're going to be out. We're just going to keep the same approach we've been having -- put our head down, go to work, attack the team we play." - Tony Romo

That is the same approach that Romo's boss, Jason Garrett, is taking with the entire team. Nothing has changed; the Dallas Cowboys need to go out on the field and take care of business on Sunday afternoon. If they do that to the best of their ability, the rest will take care of itself.

"The biggest thing we'll emphasize is to go be yourselves and really focus on trying to be your best each and every day of preparation and that will give us the best chance to play well on Sunday. It will be a football game. We'll kick it off. We'll play it like a regular game come Sunday and what we want to do is focus on our preparation first and foremost and when it comes to game time just go play." - Jason Garrett

Now is not the time for Garrett's disciples to depart from the path that they have been on for so long. The time is right for the Cowboys to continue to follow the road-map laid out for them by the red-headed one. The must still follow the Way of the Rooster. Considering how fully everyone associated with the organization has bought in, I expect nothing less than their best this weekend, lack of playoff experience should not play a factor.