IRVING, Texas – Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is looking in the mirror and ready to check his character.
Hatcher turned up the intensity Tuesday afternoon, making clear that now is the time every Cowboys player needs to ask what they can do personally to get the Cowboys back on track. He said his team is better team than what its record indicates, and if they can limit their turnovers, start creating more turnovers and finish games, the season's far from over.
"Yeah, you're dug in a hole," Hatcher said. "Now what are you going to do about it? Are you going to get out of it or are you going to tuck your tail and run like a punk? Right now I'm checking myself. I'm not giving up."
Hatcher's passion would indicate he might be attempting to motivate the rest of his teammates, as well. But he said self-motivation is much more essential than any encouragement from another teammate.
"We're not challenging each other," Hatcher said. "If you're in a situation like this, if you love the guys you play with, you know what kind of situation you're in, you're going to check yourself. You don't need me and nobody else to check you. I check myself. I need to give more. I don't believe in 110 percent, but if I've got that, I need to give it."
The Cowboys find themselves with the same record as their opponent this weekend in Philadelphia. Most defensive linemen watching the Saints defense record seven sacks Monday against quarterback Michael Vick would be thrilled to go against that offense line.
Hatcher said the Cowboys can't go into Philadelphia and expect to do the same thing the New Orleans defensive line did. He said every team steps up their play and motivation a notch when they face the Cowboys.
"We're not going to see the same thing the Saints saw," Hatcher said. "They're going to have a game plan for us. It seems like everybody starts playing for us in training camp. We're going to get everybody's best. You look at that film, of course you get hyped, but at the same time, we're the Cowboys. People are going to attack us different."
Both the Cowboys and Eagles are entering must-win territory if they want to salvage a potential playoff push late in the year.
Hatcher said the Cowboys can't afford to lose any more games, and it's never a simple task going into Philadelphia and earning a win. Despite the Eagles' offensive struggles, he said Vick and LeSean McCoy are still two of the best players at their positions.
"It's going to be a lot of fun just going against Vick, chasing the rabbit," Hatcher said. "Shady McCoy, we've got to stop the run. He's one of the top five running backs in the league."