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Defense Wants To "Raise The Bar" After The Bye


FRISCO, Texas – Was last Sunday's 37-10 win over Philadelphia the best game played by the Cowboys' defense all season?

"Probably this year. We had a lot of turnovers," defensive tackle Antwaun Woods said with a smile. "So yeah, best performance."

The Cowboys have held two other opponents to 10 or fewer points this season: a 31-6 win over Miami and a 12-10 road loss to New Orleans. The four takeaways against the Eagles – the most by the Dallas defense in six years – directly led to three touchdowns that helped the Cowboys snap a three-game losing streak.

But beyond those drive-ending plays, passing game coordinator Kris Richard thought the defense delivered its most complete performance, play to play, over four quarters.

"And I think you can point to our energy, the level of intensity and the consistency of it," he said. "Consistency – it's the nature of that mentality that's going to carry us through."

The Cowboys had a shorter, lighter practice Wednesday and will do the same Thursday before taking the bye weekend off. Ten defensive starters and key rotation players were rested, including cornerback Byron Jones, defensive ends

DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn and linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. The team is optimistic Quinn (rib) and Vander Esch (neck) can get back to work after the bye.

It's a long season. The Cowboys have a chance to heal up before the home stretch begins Nov. 4 at the Giants.

But they aren't satisfied with last Sunday's breakthrough game.

"We're looking to continue to push and raise the bar every single day that we're out there," Richard said. … "We're going to stay locked in and focused on what we do. We want to improve in every facet each and every single day, each and every single week."