IRVING, Texas- This Cowboys defense doesn't have to be the 1985 Chicago Bears, but it hasn't to be much better than its last outing. Against the Eagles last Thursday, the Cowboys' defense wasn't even average, especially in the early going. Sixteen plays into the game and they were down by two touchdowns, which even surprised owner/GM Jerry Jones.
"Never thought that we would've gotten in the game that compromised…" Jones said. "You guys saw it so they (Eagles) were able to move at will really."
While the 464 yards of total offense allowed, the inability to stop the Eagles on third down were both key factors to the loss, maybe the most alarming is how they start the games. Rod Marinelli's unit has allowed seven scoring drives in their opponent's first possession of the game. Five of those possessions have gone for touchdowns. No team in the NFL has allowed more.
"No excuses," said defensive tackle Jeremy Mincey. "We just gotta get better. Sometimes it's good to get a good old fashioned butt-kicking to get you going again."
Maybe that's why Jason Garrett put the team through a full padded practice Sunday afternoon at Valley Ranch in preparation for what's shaping up as another tough test in December.
"It's about consistency in our technique and just being a sound fundamental defense, down in and down out," said Garrett. "We've done a lot of good things over the course of the season defensively, done some good things over the last couple weeks it just has to be done more consistently."
And the next challenge on tap are the Chicago Bears. Despite what's been a down year in the Windy City, the potential is there to put up a lot of points and it starts with Matt Forte. The seven-year back has racked up 828 rushing yards and five touchdowns plus hauled in 78 passes for 650 yards and three scores through the air.
"He's almost half of their offense if you put it all together," Garrett said. "Very versatile, very productive, and they use him really well…similar to what Philly does in using their backs a lot of different ways so you know I think teams who do this challenge you and you have make sure to be on the screws in defending it."
Making tackles and getting pressure on the quarterback are two areas the Cowboys have struggled over the past couple weeks, but the confidence isn't gone.
"I got faith in every guy in this locker room," Mincey voiced. "I know a lot of them felt bad after the game just as much as i did. that's a good sign that my teammates took it personal so it's time to just get it all cleaned up and bring it this week."