FRISCO, Texas — Through five games, the Dallas Cowboys offensive system under Mike McCarthy has mostly underwhelmed expectations as they have produced just 327.4 yards per game (17th in NFL) and have converted for touchdowns on only 36.8-percent of red zone drives (27th in NFL).
Those problems were amplified in the 42-10 loss to San Francisco last Sunday, and it's created a different feeling going into week six for the offensive leaders and where they hope they can steer the direction of that side of the ball moving forward.
"The sense of urgency is there," offensive lineman Tyler Smith said. "We know that we didn't play to our best level last week and we know what the standard is. I feel like that standard has been reinforced in practice from the pre-snap operation to the post-snap operation, the covering and finishing after the play. Even in meetings, we're taking a more active approach. I feel like the preparation has just been upping itself."
The leadership group on offense has taken an extra step this week in figuring out the issues that have plagued them through five games, and veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks sees it coming down to purely getting the job done.
"We really just gotta execute," Cooks said. "Every player has to be better. I guess you could call it natural growing pains, whatever you want to call it. We're five, six weeks in. We just have to go back to work and do the things we said we were gonna do. Get on the same page, timing, get open."
"Losing the way we did, it was disappointing. We know what type of football team we are. We know how talented we are. We know how good we can be. It's just about showing up and being consistent with that."
Cooks is also taking it upon himself and the receiver group to be the catalyst in helping the offense bounce back as the production in the passing game has been near the bottom in the NFL.
"We got so many playmakers on this offense," he said. "The thought process is when you have that many playmakers, you get the ball to them. But right now, as receivers, I take it personal. We gotta be better. I'm trusting the process, and that's always what I'm gonna do. At the end of the day, just come in and work harder and be better so when those opportunities do come, I'll be ready."
The NFL is a fast-moving league, and even though there's a lot of good that goes into shaking off a big loss like the one the Cowboys suffered last Sunday, Tyler Smith also wants to keep that feeling around for motivation moving forward.
"I don't think we should forget something like that," Smith said. "We definitely gotta flush it and move on, but keep that feeling with you. Just know that if you don't operate at the standard that you know that you can, you'll lose bad."
With 12 games left on the schedule and everything still in front of the Cowboys, the leadership group on offense has emphasized staying patient with the process but also being urgent in the preparation.
"It's a long season and we'll hit our stride," Cooks said. "I truly believe that."