Cowboys Are ... 'The Overachievers'?

IRVING - Are the Cowboys overachieving at 9-4? 'Overall, we're doing a lot more out there than we expected,' Jerry Jones says. But Jason Garrett knows more needs to be achieved, starting Sunday night in Philly.

The Dallas Cowboys have "overachieved,'' right? Didn't we all have them at 7-9? Or 6-10? Or 8-8? Sporting history's worst defense? And a broken QB? And a management team that took Frederick too early, that passed on Manziel, that goofed up relationships with Ratliff and Orton, that let Ware walk and that hasn't yet signed Dez?

But they have nine wins already ... so maybe they've overachieved so much that their coach should be a Coach of the Year candidate!

"Overall, we're doing a lot more out there than we expected,'' Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan, and if you reflect back to the start of training camp and then to the Kickoff Luncheon, you recall a humble Jones speaking of "an uphill battle'' and such regarding this year's team.

They've climbed nine of those hills. They've battled to the point where it's mid-December and they are true contenders.

But now the bar gets raised. Once you've "achieved,'' you're no longer an "overachiever.'' Now that you've shocked the world and run the four-minute mile, the idea isn't that you can now get fat and go recline on the sofa and never run again.

Now you gotta get it to 3:59.

Coach Jason Garrett understands. He "overachieved'' in getting into the NFL as a quarterback, but once he arrived, he needed to continue to "achieve'' in a way that forged him a 12-year career. So while Jones' comments could be construed as meaning to create a soft, cushy spot for his coach to land -- and to eventually land a new contract -- Garrett knows "achievement'' in Philadelphia is the point of a team good enough to presently be tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East.

And if you're good enough to be tied there ... you're good enough to battle your way up and over the hill, regardless of the fact that just two weeks ago, you got throttled by the Eagles on Thanksgiving by a 33-10 score.

“That game is done with,’’ Garrett said. “It’s been done with. “It ain’t coming back. The challenge ahead is what we’re focused on.’’

Garrett said the Cowboys are evaluating what went wrong in that game by following his as-usual mechanics.

"You try to take some of that emotion out of it,’’ Garrett said. “You go back and watch the game and say, 'This was good,' 'This wasn’t good,' 'Let’s make sure we clean this up on offense, defense and the kicking game and get back to work.'

"That’s really what you do.''

The Cowboys split with Philly last year, losing in Week 17 by two points with Orton at the helm in place of an injured Romo. That marked the third straight year Dallas was ousted in the effectual regular-season-ending "play-in game'' for a playoff berth. That meant a third straight year of 8-8.

Dallas has battled away from that treadmill. Now it needs to achieve its way up another hill.


“They’re a good football team,'' Garrett said of the Eagles. "They beat us fair and square at our place a couple of weeks ago. Now we have the chance to come back and go up there and put our best foot forward and play our best football.’’

Doing so wouldn't be an "over-achievement'' anymore. It would simply be an "achievement,'' because just getting to 8-8 and finding some satisfaction in that "ain’t coming back,'' either.


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