Dallas coach Jason Garrett flat refuses to talk about his team’s five-game winning streak and that’s an admirable stance as he’s sticking to his one-day-at-a-time, looking-forward approach.
For others evaluating the team, though, there’s no looking past the fact that the Cowboys were 3-5 through the first half of this season and now they’re 8-5 and leading the NFC East with a great chance of winning the division.
There’s also no mistaking the difference has been the Cowboys’ passing game.
Dallas defeated Philadelphia on the strength of quarterback Dak Prescott’s 455 passing yards and especially wide receiver Amari Cooper’s 10 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns.
There was a point in this season when most folks in Cowboy nation were doubting whether or not Prescott should be the team’s long-term answer at QB. So much so that owner Jerry Jones spoke up in Prescott’s defense.
Now, with Prescott healthy and making plays, he’s looking like a top-tier NFL quarterback.
“The thing you like about him most that is he’s going to try to get better and better each and every day at everything,” Garrett said during his Monday follow-up press conference. “He works as hard as anybody in our building. When you talk about leadership, maybe that’s line 1 of leadership, the example you set for everybody else.”
Prescott managed to lead Dallas to a 29-23 overtime victory over Philadelphia despite an odd dichotomy. He threw two interceptions and lost a fumble before bouncing back with a sparkling fourth quarter and overtime in which he passed for three touchdowns. The last one, a 15-yarder to Cooper on third-and-8, made for a happy Dallas locker room.
“I do know that he’s a mentally tough guy and that’s the most important thing for that position, maybe for any position,” Garrett said. “And I think he demonstrates that week in and week out. Not only playing through adversity, but playing through some success and continuing to play and executing and understanding it’s a 60-minute game.”
Of course, the argument can be made that it’s actually Cooper who’s making all the difference for Dallas. In six games as a Cowboy, Cooper is averaging 6.7 receptions for 107 yards and a TD.
“Obviously, Amari is new to our team, so I think he’s been embraced by everybody,” Garrett said. “He’s trying to get himself integrated into our team and he’s done that really quickly and it’s had a big impact on our team.”