On Tuesday at The Star, a noticeable shift towards positivity was evident compared to a week ago when the Dallas Cowboys were regrouping following a significant loss. This time around, the team could revel in a hard-fought victory as they head into the bye week, solidifying their standing at 4-2.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and special teams coordinator John Fassel all engaged with the media to discuss the win against the Chargers and their overall outlook leading into the bye week. Here are the key takeaways from these interactions.
Running Our Own Race
Dan Quinn began his session by drawing an analogy between his defensive unit and eight-time gold medalist Usain Bolt. He emphasized that when the defense focuses on their own “race,” they can achieve their full potential.
“We emphasized the significance of staying focused on our own path throughout the week,” Quinn stated. “This message was particularly relevant after last week’s setback. We used Usain Bolt as an example – he never diverted his attention to the competition in lane four. He stayed focused on his own performance. We did the same, and it was exactly what we needed.”
This race had an exhilarating finish in the final minutes, a situation the Cowboys hadn’t encountered in their first five games.
“We hadn’t encountered a scenario this season where we had to face the intense pressure of the game’s final two minutes, at least not in our first five games,” Quinn reflected. “Following a loss, we weren’t looking for a walk in the park, and that’s exactly what we got – a demanding and hard-fought triumph.”
Dak Prescott’s Running Skills
In the first half, Cowboys fans were treated to a pleasant sight when Dak Prescott executed a read option, scampering for 18 yards on a fourth down, scoring the Cowboys’ initial points. Prescott’s mobility was evident throughout the game as he led the team with 42 rushing yards, displaying impressive improvisational skills when outside the pocket.
Brian Schottenheimer praised Prescott’s performance, saying, “He was terrific. While it hasn’t been absent from his game, it hasn’t been as prominent as it was last night. He did a fantastic job evading defenders and creating opportunities in open space. He was undoubtedly a valuable asset for us last night.”
Markquese Bell’s Breakout
Markquese Bell had a significant breakthrough on Monday night, stepping into a starting role in the second level and excelling. This was especially crucial following last week’s injury to Leighton Vander Esch. Dan Quinn expressed his delight at Bell’s performance, citing his speed, tackling, and his ability to cover running backs coming out of the backfield.
The praise extended to Damone Clark, who also had to adapt to a different position following Vander Esch’s injury. Quinn expressed his satisfaction with Damone’s performance too. With Leighton’s injury, Damone had to step into a different role. Watching these two players step up and embrace the challenge is one of the best feelings for a player when they know they’re relied upon, and they deliver.”
CeeDee Lamb’s Dominance
CeeDee Lamb’s desire for more involvement became evident after last week’s loss to San Francisco. On Monday night, he contributed significantly to the offense with seven receptions and 117 yards. Schottenheimer revealed that Lamb’s remarkable performance was rooted in his mindset during practice throughout the week.
“It truly began in practice,” Schottenheimer explained. “He displayed a strong, focused mindset, especially during our Thursday practice. You could see that determination, and it clearly had an impact. The first couple of plays set him in motion, and he thrived on that momentum. I admire his fiery, passionate style of play.”
Butter Aubrey – Brandon Aubrey’s Prowess
Dak Prescott added a touch of humor to his postgame press conference when he affectionately referred to rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey, who has made 16 consecutive field goals to start his NFL career, as “Butter Aubrey.” Aubrey played a pivotal role by securing the Cowboys’ victory with a crucial field goal in the final minutes.
When asked about the nickname, John Fassel humbly suggested that he is trying to remain low-key about it, given Aubrey’s proximity to the NFL record for starting a career with 18 consecutive made field goals.
Fassel recognized his outstanding streak, but he’s trying not to make too much of it. He’s mindful that he’s just a few kicks away from a notable record, so he’s maintaining a composed demeanor.
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