It’s that time of year again; time for the buzz around the Dallas Cowboys as a Super Bowl contender in the upcoming NFL season. It doesn’t matter if the Cowboys were 13-3 or 5-11 the year before; Dallas always seems to think America’s Team will rise to power once again as each season rolls around. Of course that won’t be different this year, but Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is taking a more humble approach to the 2012 NFL season, on in which his team will open on the road against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants.
“You see that schedule, knowing we’re going to open up against the defending champs,” Witten said. “What else do you need to motivate yourself?”
What might demotivate the Cowboys is the fact that game will be in primetime or “under the lights” as many like to call it. Dallas has played horrifically in primetime matchups during the Tony Romo era, so why should Cowboys fans suddenly believe their team can overcome that phobia and deliver this year?
“It’s time to do that,” Witten said. I think guys understand that. “They’ve been around here and know to forget everything else and let’s go be our best and play great football.”
The problem is the Cowboys have known that for some time now. Romo has been the quarterback since 2006 and he’s given the I-messed-up-and-I-have-to-do-better speech a thousand times since then. How many chances does Dallas get?
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it clear his team will continue to get more chances with its core group of players when he recently announced Romo will be given a contract extension in the near future. That means the rocky ride the Cowboys have been on since 2006 will continue and Witten is fine with that.
“There [are] going to be times when you lose, but you’ve got to be able to address it and get better,” Witten said. “Hopefully we can hang our hats on that. We’ve got the right type of guys that can lead us to have the same kind of success that we’ve seen the Giants have.”
The Cowboys indeed have the talent to contend for a Super Bowl, but the team has to play consistently in addition to guys like Romo and Witten becoming unquestioned leaders. However, that’s more of an issue on the defensive side of the ball, where the Cowboys’ pass defense has been horrendous over the past two seasons. Jones has already made two signings in the secondary with Brandon Carr and Brodney Pool, but that’s not enough to fix the problem.
Witten hit the nail on the head with what is required of Dallas to contend – the Cowboys will have to simply “do that.” There can’t be any more crumbling under pressure or losing to a weaker team in primetime. Execution is the name of the game and Witten’s Cowboys will have to make that happen to contend in 2012 or any other season.