Missed Opportunities

IRVING, Tex. - The Dallas Cowboys' locker room was a ghost town Monday. Fewer than a dozen players made themselves available to the media, and those who did found themselves answering questions about what went wrong in the team's loss Sunday to the Denver Broncos.

Much of the questioning centered around the Dallas offense and whether it has the personnel and schemes needed to be effective against elite NFL defenses.

"If they give us the pass, we're going to take the passing game; if they give us the run, we're going to take the running game," wide receiver Sam Hurd said. "It's not like we're trying to force one thing or become one-sided. We'll just take whatever they give us."

Hurd was the intended target on two plays in the game's waning minutes, plays that failed to get the Cowboys in the end zone for what would have set up a game-tying extra point.

"They were plays (that were) called," Hurd said. "It's not like, ‘Sam, we're throwing the ball to you.' It's just the play called, and you get the look that you want and you try to take advantage of it."

Hurd said that despite the talent on the Dallas offense, inconsistency is an inevitable result for any offense, including the Cowboys'. But he said he remains confident that the team can fight through difficult stretches and produce enough points to win games.

"Throughout the game, there are going to be lows," he said. "It's not going to be all highs — there are going to be some lows. Things are going to fall off, and things aren't always going to go the way we planned. But I think we got to move the ball when we needed to. There's going to be some struggles. You've just got to fight through some adversity."

The Cowboys were held to just 10 points in Denver, and have had trouble consistently marching into the red zone. Hurd said offensive efficiency remains one of the team's priorities, and acknowledged that improvement is vital to offensive success.

"We've got to work on that — that's something we've got to keep on working on," he said. "We have the explosive plays and explosive players. We get down there, and there's no making the points, putting the points on the board, and that's basically what we've got to keep trying to do. We can't (be) content. Against a team with a great defense and a great offense, you've got to keep trying to put as many points on, as many chances as you get. You can't try to win with 10."

Hurd was asked specifically why the Cowboys twice threw in the direction of Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, widely considered one of the game's elite corners.

"It wasn't like we were specifically … ‘hey, let's attack Champ' — it's a look that they gave us … ‘well, let's go after that side,'" he said. "Some coaches are scared and intimidated by a player, but you can't be that way — it's football. You never know. It's all about the situation. He could have been outside, he could have been inside. It's all about the leverage, and we tried to take advantage of it.

"We're going to stick with out guns. We're not going to change up, just because the media, fans or another team wants us to. We're going to stick with our guns and run our plays. They still get executed perfectly — there's just going to be mishaps, miscommunications and some things that go wrong. It's a football game. It's not going to be perfect."

Tight end Jason Witten leads the team with 23 receptions, followed by running back Tashard Choice's 12. Receivers Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams are tied for third, with 11 catches apiece, but Hurd said the offense can be plenty potent with a tight end and running back leading the team in receptions.

"We can win any way we want to. It's not like the Denver Broncos just whipped us (Sunday). We left a lot of points and yardage out there on the field. So we'll go back out there, we'll learn from it. Whatever they give us, we can win from it. If they give us catches by the tight ends and running backs, we'll take advantage of it."

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