With Half Season Still To Play, Players Focusing More On Next Eight Games

IRVING, Texas – Being at 2-6 at the halfway point sounds like a demoralizing place for this Cowboys team to be.

But surprisingly enough, many of the players are viewing their current status as just that – halfway into a season with a chance to flip the script on the second half of the season.

"You just have to have a clean slate," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. "That's really all you can do. You have to forget the past, focus on the task at hand. I'm very enthused by this challenge. It's time for us to raise the bar - stop the bleeding and come together."  

Six-game losing streaks usually warrant some kind of closed-door meeting with the players. Mincey said the defensive line actually came together for one on Monday.

"We sat in a room and hashed things out," Mincey said. "Talking about it is key. As a whole, we're working hard to making our wrongs right and do everything humanly possible to get this team back in position to win games."

One of the things that could certainly help the defense is to generate more turnovers, or make that, any turnovers. The Cowboys have just four takeaways this year, and three of which occurred in a Week 2 win over the Eagles. Over the last six games, Greg Hardy's interception against Seattle has been the only turnover – a big reason why the Cowboys are tied for last in turnover ratio at -9.

"It's kind of frustrating," said cornerback Brandon Carr. "We have another half of the season to wipe the slate clean on the first eight. We want to forget about last year (half) and try to make some noise for the last eight games. As long as we keep harping on it and keep believing in ourselves, we'll be alright.

In this losing streak, all three phases of the team has struggled. The Cowboys have lost games in which the offense scored just six and 12 points. There have been games in which the defense has allowed touchdowns in overtime or last-minute drives. And the Cowboys also had a game in New York where the special teams allowed a game-winning kick return for a touchdown.

[embeddedad0]"Nobody is pointing any fingers. Nobody is being negative," Mincey said. "But there's a lot more urgency right now. It's time to get this thing rolling."

But is it already too late? Owner/GM Jerry Jones doesn't think so, especially when it comes down to simple equations.

"Well, I can do math. Since Romo got hurt it seems like we've been doing math," Jones said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan. "We haven't looked at the rest of the league, but we've been doing math as far as the rest of the division. But certainly to the extent that we know if we won out or win a significant part of these games, we know that the same things have impacted us could impact any of these teams ahead of us. (Other) teams have injuries. Teams have various challenges along the way and that could happen to anybody that's ahead of you right now, New York or some of those. And they could start playing at a level that gives us a shot."

Eight games down and eight to play, it sounds like all the players, coaches and front-office want at this point, is a shot.

Nick Eatman is the author of the recently published *If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys, a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.*

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