One day at a time is a phrase we've heard so much in the Jason Garrett era as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, we hear regurgitated versions of this phrase all over the NFL. It seems with all the things going on right now around Valley Ranch that the Cowboys probably need a big dose of single-minded focus. That is the mantra that this team has had for a long while and last season it finally paid dividends.
These 2-5 Cowboys haven't seemed to be able to have much focus as of late. After all, this is a team that lost their All Pro receiver Dez Bryant for seven weeks in week one. They followed that up by losing their franchise quarterback Tony Romo in week two. They watched as their defense completely collapsed in week three, lost their most productive offensive player in Lance Dunbar week four. They got a jolt to their defense in week five with Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain returning from suspension but in a losing effort of a 30-6 thrashing by the Patriots. Dallas then had it's bye week where they replaced their backup quarterback Brandon Weeden with journeyman Matt Cassel. Then the Cowboys replaced their left guard with rookie sensation La'el Collins all in hopes to jump-start their fledgling offense.
What they got for their efforts were two more losses, one to the now NFC East leading Giants, and the other was a one point loss to the defending NFC champion Seahawks. So for five straight games since Tony Romo went to IR, the Cowboys have failed five straight times. A return to fundamentals may be in order, a breath of sanity or maybe just a breath of simplicity is needed. Despite losing five games in a row, the Cowboys are only 1.5 games behind the leader in the NFC East with two more games to play before their hero returns. This is not a time for the Cowboys to fold up and come back next year. This is a time for them to start the fight they had hoped for and finish by year's end.
It's going to start with the leaders on this team taking a step forward and forcing their way into the conversation. Dez Bryant is the heartbeat of this team and Tony Romo is their soul. Rumors around the ranch this week stated that there was a bit of excitement flowing through the practices at seeing number nine return to throwing this week. The Cowboys are a team that is desperate for a spark of energy and sometimes just the thought of having their fearless leader back can do a lot to the mental aspects for the other guys trying to win.
It's hard to win games in this league and the Cowboys have been searching for a victory since late September. In order for them to get one, they are going to have to make some adjustments. There are undoubtedly some that are looking ahead to November 22nd, but they have to focus on the now. They cannot afford to look ahead, all they can do is look at the Philadelphia Eagles. It only takes one victory to get the energy back in this team that we know they had entering the season. It's not too late for the Cowboys to somehow get on a roll and make a push towards the postseason.
It won't be an easy task this next game on Sunday night playing with Matt Cassel, who has had his fair share of struggles in two contests as the Cowboys' signal-caller. However, instead of trying to create a gameplan around Cassel, why not let Cassel find his own rhythm? He's not new to the game of football, let him go out there and find his own comfort level. Part of the Cowboys' offensive woes has come from their "playing not to lose" mentality. At some point, just let it fly. Let the offense take some chances and try to make plays. With Dez Bryant back, the Cowboys should find opportunities in this game to get him on a roll. They have to find a happy medium on offense because that conservative mentality is seemingly killing them. The Cowboys must focus on the task at hand and that is somehow, some way, getting a victory against the Eagles.
There will be no tomorrow if they continue to play the way they have been. Asking Tony to run the table when he comes back is about as unrealistic as Steven Seagal winning an Oscar. The veteran players have to figure out a way to get this team over the hump. You cannot convince me that this team is completely useless without their quarterback. Tony Romo is a great player, but the Cowboys have won games in his absence before with lesser talent on the team. The time is now to step up and fight, scratch and claw their way to a victory.
Somehow in the midst of all the attrition, Joseph Randle, and Greg Hardy messes; the Cowboys have lost focus. They can put all of that to the curb by getting a win at home on Sunday. The Eagles are coming off their bye week and are as well rested as can be. They are also taking every chance with the media to send a shot at Big D. Dallas doesn't have to look to hard to find some bulletin board material or extra motivation. Now, the Cowboys just have to get some better execution out of their coaches and players alike. It's not over until it's over for these Dallas Cowboys. Nobody feels sorry for their losses, they have to now put it all behind him and make it a one game season.
For one game, can the Dallas Cowboys do enough to put the faith back in this team in the second half of the season? Can Matt Cassel channel his inner Jon Kitna and get this sinking ship afloat? Their backs are against the proverbial wall but sometimes that's exactly where Jason Garrett does his best coaching. "Be your best, regardless of circumstance." The Cowboys certainly have a lot of circumstance going on and they haven't been at their best. This is a team that was poised for the playoffs after their first two weeks of football. It's now time to push aside all the negative energy being tossed at their faces and harness the good. Romo on the horizon is definitely a good sign of things to come but they have to win in order to make it worth the while. There is still time to accomplish their goals, but it begins by focusing on the next goal first; beat the Philadelphia Eagles.