FRISCO, Texas – When the Cowboys lost to Denver back in early November, it's the first time we heard the term "blueprint" being echoed. The Broncos somewhat boasted publicly that they had found a way to stop the Cowboys offense, and for the next few weeks it appeared teams such as Kansas City and Las Vegas were able to do similar things as well.
While the Cowboys were able to win four straight games before Sunday's loss to Arizona, this offense has undoubtedly slowed down for a variety of reasons.
One thing seems rather clear, and Arizona safety Budda Baker had no problems admitting it: Whether or not there is a blueprint, you can't show it too early before every snap.
"We knew if we showed a static look, Dak would dice us up," Baker said after the game. "So we tried to show many different things and just confuse him a little bit."
On Wednesday, Dak Prescott was able to respond, stating that reading disguises pre-snap has always been a challenge for quarterbacks. He said the key is to understand the defensive concept and what they like to do in certain situations.
"Just the film study, knowing what these defenses like to get to. What they're showing pre-snap isn't always the look," Prescott said. "Just knowing in what situations they like to get to what coverages … so therefore I have a beat on them once the ball is snapped and I can find my cues in post-snap, so I know exactly where they're going."
For Prescott, it took him a little while last Sunday to get into the flow. The Cowboys were shut out before scoring a touchdown late in the second quarter. And then Prescott threw two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough in the end.
When asked by the media on Wednesday if he's seeing the field as well as he did earlier in the year, Prescott didn't hesitate.
"Obviously you want to make the right play. There are a lot of opportunities within one play for the ball to go," Prescott said. "I think I'm seeing it fine. I don't know if you all differ, it doesn't really matter to me. We're continuing to get better and work, that's the simple fact of it."
And that kind of confidence is why Prescott said the team remains as focused as ever on the big prize. And if the loss to the Cardinals might have seemed like a setback, he said it couldn't be further from reality.
"Everything we've put into this thing, going back to April or before, we've got a lot of work invested in this," Prescott said. "You take the losses and everything we've encountered during the season, those are all just learning experiences. When you have the men we have, the coaches, the group, the comradery, the brotherhood, the connection, you're going to have confidence. You're going to have confidence that we have the right players to fix the problems, learn from our experiences good or bad and move forward the right way. That's as clear as I can make it."
Whether or not we see the Cowboys moving forward this week in Philadelphia remains to be seen. But making sure it happens the following week in the playoffs is the ultimate goal.