Are they the team that blew the doors off the vaunted Jacksonville Jaguars defense on Sunday or the team that struggled last week against the Texans and finished with a season-low 14 first downs?
Can they perform on the road (where they’re 0-3) or will the crowd noise still be a factor against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday?
Will the offense realize that it performs better when quarterback Dak Prescott uses his legs? He had a career-high 82 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in the 40-7 win against the Jaguars. In the Cowboys’ three losses he has 74 yards on 13 carries. In the three wins: 21 carries for 129 yards.
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“We’ve been pretty consistent about how we use the quarterback run stuff and the designed runs,” Cowboys’ coach Jason Garrett said. “In some games, it’s more of a give game where he’s handing the ball off to Zeke [Elliott] and hopefully if they’re defending him the opportunities for Zeke are that much better. [Prescott] does such a good job of attacking defenses a lot of different ways.”
Elliott rushed for 106 yards and a score as Dallas gained a season-high 206 yards on the ground. Garrett credits the offensive line for being the difference from week to week.
“You have to control the line of scrimmage. We believe in that. We want to be balanced run and pass, we’re able to do each of those things in this game,” he said. “You want to attack different ways. I thought we did a good job of that.”
But can they do it on the road? Prescott is hoping it carries over … for the first time this season.
“It’s definitely the best we’ve played from executing to taking advantage from the defense giving us turnovers and good field position,” said Prescott, who has claimed the offense has been just a few plays away from turning a corner this season. “It just allows us to take momentum, grow with this and take this confidence builder and continue to get better and better.”
Elliott said the offensive success came down to execution, specifically the offensive line, which he called the best in the league. If they’re the offense they think they are, there’s no reason they can’t perform at a high level on the road, Elliott said.
“Obviously, we can do it, but it’s something that we need to do,” he said. “If we keep not winning on the road, we’re not going to make the playoffs.”
So not only are the Cowboys trying to win consecutive games for the first time in 2018, but also trying to win on the road for the first time. What’s it going to take?
“I think the most important thing we try to instill in our team is just the mental toughness to continue to play through success and through adversity that’s within a game, within a drive, play to play, and then certainly in our game, from week to week,” Garrett said. “When things are going well, you’ve got to be mentally tough enough to do what you need to do to keep it going. And similarly when you have some challenging times in whatever phase of your football team, you just got to keep fighting.”