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Even Hardy Viewing Carolina Matchup As Next 'Nameless, Faceless Opponent'

Back in Week 2, head coach Jason Garrett first introduced a full-sized mannequin to the team that has a plain-white jersey and no face.

The mannequin actually travels to each game, but it was Garrett's way of getting the team to focus on the "nameless, faceless opponent" on the schedule and not the actual players and teams. It was done to shift the focus away from DeMarco Murray and the Eagles back in the second game of the year, and it seemingly worked.

Now, as the Cowboys take on the undefeated Panthers this Thursday, at least one player is taking Garrett's words to heart. And, he wasn't even around for the first four games of the season.

But for Greg Hardy, this upcoming matchup with his former team could easily be a distraction for him, considering he played his first four seasons in Carolina.

However, while he might be focused on the game, it doesn't sound like he's publicly getting involved with the specific matchup.

"It's just a nameless, faceless opponent. On to the next game," Hardy said after the win in Miami on Sunday. "I just keep it that way. We've got a great group of guys in here. We're just focused on the next game. It's the most important game on the schedule."

To Hardy's credit, he used the phrase "next game" in just about every answer of his brief postgame interview. He didn't even focus much on the Dolphins game that had just ended. At one point, he grabbed his cell phone to look at the time, and responded to a question with, "The game is over. Next game."

Hardy recorded a half-sack in Sunday's 24-14 win over the Dolphins, giving him 4.5 this season in six games to lead the Cowboys. He's also tied with DeMarcus Lawrence for the team lead with 20 quarterback pressures.

As for that pressure, Hardy said he continues to see steady progress in the way his teammates get to the passer.

"I feel like it's gotten better since training camp," Hardy said of the rush, which sacked Miami three times on Sunday. "Every day we're getting better. It sounds simple, redundant. It's just about the next game."


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