In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys had their best season in years, going 12-4, winning a postseason game and taking the Packers to the final minutes in Green Bay in the divisional playoffs. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they came up short of playing for the Super Bowl.
Looking at 2015, what does Dallas need to do better so that it isn’t playing postseason road games in the winter in places like Green Bay and Seattle?
“I think right now all we’re trying to do is build our football team,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We have a lot of the same guys back on our team, but we have some guys who were on our team last year who aren’t here now and we’e got some new guys that we’re excited about. So what you’re trying to do throughout training camp is lay a great foundation for your team going forward – and it starts with just hard work. We try to create an environment for our team where we’re going to get better every day. That’s really what were in the mode of right now. Certainly you have aspirations to win the division and host playoff games and all those kinds of things, but we feel like if we go about it the right away each and every day, that’s what gives us the best chance to do those things.”
During training camp, each Cowboys player was given a T-shirt with the word “Fight” on it. The purpose of the shirt was to send a message: The Cowboys want tough, gritty players who will fight to win the day.
Dez Bryant, however, appears to have taken the shirt too literally. He has been in multiple skirmishes this month – one with teammate Tyler Patmon and another with the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday. The latter incident involved Bryant taking a punch right to the face.
Needless to say, that’s not exactly what Garrett had in mind.
“Fight’s a really important word to us,” he said. “It’s really the foundation of our team. We want guys to come in and fight. You talk about what kinds of fight, and for us, it’s fight to be your best every day, the best version of yourself, and fighting for our team goals – what we want to accomplish as a team in 2015 – and then fighting for each other. The best kind of fight are the ones are I’m fighting for the guy on the right of me, the guy on the left of me, the guy in front of me, and the guy behind me. If you have a team made up of guys who do that, I think you have a great chance to be part of something you’re all proud of.
“Nobody in the NFL – no player or coach – condones fighting in games (or) at practice,” Garrett continued. “That’s not what we want. That’s not what this thing’s all about. We just want to fight to be our best, fight for our team goals and fight for each other. We’ll try to do that each and every day.”
The Cowboys have a balanced schedule this season, alternating home and away games for the first seven games of the season. They open against the Giants on Sept. 13 before facing the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sept. 20.