Thursday Notes from Valley Ranch

New coach Jason Garrett is trying to instill a physical mentality in the Cowboys.

It's one reason they are practicing in pads every Wednesday. They didn't do it as much under former coach Wade Phillips.

"Football is a physical sport," Garrett said. "You can never lose that. You have to be smart going forward over the course of a season. Wednesday is a day when you're putting the base stuff in. A lot of it is focused on the running game and the play-action passing game. You need to be physical in those areas.

"Over the course of time, if you're not practicing that way, I think that maybe you lose some of that physicalness. Now, there are a lot of other coaching philosophies that have been incredibly successful doing it a different way. This is just something we believe in."

* The Lions come to Dallas having lost 25 consecutive games away from home.

Their last win was Oct. 28, 2007 — when Jon Kitna was their quarterback and Roy Williams was one of Kitna's receivers. Both are now with the Cowboys.

"Wow! Yeah, that makes me seem old," Williams said. "Yeah, I'm surprised. I'm surprised about that because we're all professionals. You should be able to win on the road; you should be able to win at home. But it's unfortunate. They have had things that have happened to them, and I can testify they have things that have happened that shouldn't happen, that don't happen to other teams."

—RB Marion Barber wouldn't talk about being fined for violating the team's new dress code.

The Cowboys are mandated to wear suits and ties on the team chartered plane. Barber wore jeans and no tie to and from the Giants game.

"I respect what you do," Barber said about reports of the fine. "Why would I cry about what you do? That's your job. That comes with the territory."

Barber was fined. That he didn't start was a coincidence because of a play the Cowboys wanted to run. Felix Jones made only his second career start, and his first with Barber healthy.

"I have never cared about starting, because I'm an unselfish person," Barber said. "However they use me, I'm going to continue to work regardless of the scenario, situation or circumstance."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Are you married? It's like your wife telling you what really makes her happy, what works for her. I mean, you can buy roses for your wife all you want, but if that's not what gets her going, then it's really futile. Although it's a good attempt, it's futile. So when she tells you, 'I really like it when you just offer to massage my feet or you do the dishes.' That's finding out what your wife likes. It's kind of the same thing for a receiver with a quarterback, just kind of finding out what he likes. And it goes both ways, really. Dez (Bryant) likes the ball up in the air, so you try to get the ball up in the air. (Austin) Miles likes the ball a little flatter, so you try to show it a little flatter. (Jason Witten) likes the ball thrown inside his body cylinder. You just try to learn those things about guys." — Quarterback Jon Kitna.

BY THE NUMBERS: 78.7 — The average rushing yards per game the Cowboys' offense is generating. Dallas ranks 31st in the NFL in rushing.

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