Dallas Defense Looking Healthy, Rejuvenated After Weekend Off

Irving, TX – Fresh off the bye week, the Cowboys are looking as fresh as ever.  The nice four-day weekend away from Valley Ranch will do that for a team battling through the rigors of an NFL season.

Just about everyone was at practice following the bye, except Tyler Patmon and Tony Romo, who continued his Wednesday routine of rehab with trainers.

The Cowboys are in a great spot right now at 7-3 and see an end to their four-year playoff drought, however, they'll need their health in the final six-game stretch.

 "I feel rested," said Rolando McClain, who missed the game in London due to several nagging injuries. "I don't think you ever get to 100 percent in a football season, but the rest is well needed for everybody. More guys had their legs today in practice."

McClain's presence on the Cowboys defense is night and day from when he's sidelined -- which he has been twice this year. Another surprise piece to the puzzle is Tyrone Crawford, who is coming back from a sprained MCL he suffered against the Cardinals on Nov. 2.

"He looked great. He look a lot more explosive and quicker," said Jeremy Mincey. "Today was a day for him to gain his confidence back, and I think he's going to be right back where he was."

In the thick of things, wreaking havoc on that interior defensive line is where Crawford has made his mark in his third year in the league.

"He's done well," Garrett said. "His rehab has been good over the last couple weeks."

 Crawford looked fantastic the last time Dallas took the field against the Giants, registering a season high five tackles and assisting in the rush defense.

"He makes a large impact. He's a relentless guy," said Mincey. "He's tough. He's physical. He does a good job of penetrating, and of course that makes everybody's job a lot easier."

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Despite Eli Manning throwing five interceptions Sunday against the 49ers, he's still a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback that deserves respect, as McClain was quick to point out.

"They got guys that can make plays. They're still the New York Football Giants, were going to respect that," he said.

The Cowboys are 7-3 in what's been a magical start to a campaign that was deemed an "uphill battle" by its owner. However, as the win column continues to grow, so do the expectations.

"We've just got to keep digging 'til we see the light, and right now we're not close to the light – we've just got to focus on taking this thing one game at a time," Mincey said. "The light is the Super Bowl"

A bold statement from a team full of life after a bye week, but like Jason Garrett always preaches, it's the process and the challenge that's in front of them. That challenge right now is getting win eight of the season on Sunday in New York.   

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