Texarkana, TX 57° View Live Radar Fri H 54° L 41° Sat H 57° L 38° Sun H 60° L 40° Weather Sponsored By:

Relaxed Cowboys? NFC East leaders say they can't be

Relaxed Cowboys? NFC East leaders say they can't be

December 7th, 2018 by Associated Press in Sports Pro

In this Nov. 19, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz, left, and Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott, right, greet each other after their NFL football game, in Arlington, Texas. Prescott and the Cowboys saved their season with a win in Philadelphia a month ago. Now Carson Wentz and the defending champion Eagles are trying to do the same in Texas against first-place Dallas on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins, File)

FRISCO, Texas—Dallas safety Jeff Heath figures there's a world outside his locker room where people seek comfort in their jobs.

The Cowboys are about to get a test of the notion that they're never supposed to get comfortable in their line of work.

"I think the coaches do a good job kind of keeping us sharp, keeping us on edge," Heath said. "You just have to understand that comes with this game."

Before the four-game winning streak that propelled them to sole possession of first in the NFC East, the Cowboys (7-5) were on the verge of losing touch with the playoff race early for the second straight year.

Two games ago, Dallas trailed Washington by a game with the Redskins visiting on Thanksgiving. Now it's the Cowboys with that one-game lead, this time over Philadelphia with the defending champion Eagles (6-6) coming in Sunday.

Once the chaser, now the chased. No difference, says quarterback Dak Prescott.

"We're not necessarily thinking about we're getting chased now," Prescott said Thursday. "Our backs were against the wall a few weeks ago and they haven't changed. This is a team that looks to go out there every week and put that on display every week."

Human nature will always suggest otherwise, and the New Orleans Saints might argue that point after their 10-game winning streak was stopped by the Cowboys. Dallas was tied with Washington then, and conventional wisdom gave the Redskins a shot to get back in first place alone.

Instead, the Cowboys had their best defensive showing of the season in a 13-10 win over the high-scoring Saints while the Redskins lost another quarterback to a season-ending injury in a 28-13 loss to Philadelphia that left them tied with the Eagles.

"Nobody's really thinking about a letdown or anything," Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley said. "They're all big. We've got to worry about what we have to do to get better as a team each week and put our best out there. We put our best out there, we'll be fine."

While the Eagles have back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the defending champs badly need a third if they want a shot at another Super Bowl.

With a victory, Philadelphia would pull even with Dallas and have a season split with a better division record, the first tiebreaker between two teams. Lose, and the Eagles will trail the Cowboys by two games with just three remaining.

The Cowboys would counter that they're fighting to maintain control of their playoff fate.

"We don't have a margin," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "We approach it no different than we did when we were, whatever it was, 3-5. Coach (Jason) Garrett's been obviously talking that every minute of every day.

"We all need to know that in the NFL, things change quickly, for the better or for the worse, if you don't keep your foot on the gas pedal."

Whatever Garrett is sharing with his team, as usual, he's not sharing it publicly.

"I don't really understand what you're talking about," Garrett said when asked about preaching against any tendency for the team to ease up. "Our backs are to the wall. They're always to the wall and that's how we look at it."

Running back Ezekiel Elliott will have something of a personal test to keep things rolling. After 90 touches — 72 carries and 18 catches — over three games in a 12-day span, Elliott finally had some time to rest. He says he felt the best he has in a while coming into the week.

The key is for Elliott to avoid any negative side effects of that feeling. Say, for example, easing up.

"I mean, honestly, we're in the same position that we were when we were 3-5," said Elliott, who does have the motivation of trying to regain the league rushing lead he lost to Todd Gurley last week. "Having that same mentality, attacking work the same every day."

That means not being comfortable at work.

 

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com