FRISCO, TX — The NFL trade deadline has come and gone and, true to their word, the Dallas Cowboys have opted to not make any additional transactions that would involve acquiring a player in return for compensation.
The team owns a 5-2 record on the heels of a 43-20 humiliation of the Los Angeles Rams, as they prepare to visit the Philadelphia Eagles for their second major test of the season; and they've moved to three games above .500 despite the loss of players like Trevon Diggs, Leighton Vander Esch and C.J. Goodwin to injured reserve.
That is thanks in large part to the continued dominance of DaRon Bland and the emergence of Markquese Bell alongside Damone Clark, as some examples, with offensive line depth having also come to the rescue on more than one occasion.
The youth movement is alive and well in Dallas.
"I'm about the development of the men in the building," said head coach Mike McCarthy when asked about the possibility of the Cowboys making a deal before the deadline. "I just strongly believe in that. I'm not sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping that we trade for somebody.
"That's my personal feeling. I believe in the men we have."
On Tuesday, just hours before the witching hour, owner and general manager Jerry Jones tripled down on comments he'd made over the course of the previous several days — in that the Cowboys were going to "stand pat" with their current roster.
When posed the question of how the Cowboys can take the next step over the remainder of the year if not by trade, Jones pointed at the X's and O's.
"It's execution," he told 105.3FM the Fan. " … The reason you aren't on someone's level one week but get on their level one week or three weeks later, is because you have gelled. You have evolved."
A part of the evolution of the Cowboys this season actually began in the offseason, when they gave away fifth-round picks to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who have both become impact players in Dallas as Cooks' footprint recently took hold over the last two contests.
One year ago, only days ahead of the deadline, they traded for Johnathan Hankins, who instantly upgraded the run defense and went on to sign a deal this past spring to stick around in Dan Quinn's system.
From there, it's been the usual cornerstone players that have helped the team overcome adversity in complement to developmental talent that has taken a huge step forward when thrown into the fire.
It's for those reasons they feel they currently have everything they already need (and there's at least a chance Vander Esch and/or Goodwin return this year), for as long as execution remains what it was against the Rams — the Cowboys' most complete game of the season.
And so, as noted, they stood pat.