SAN ANTONIO -- Terence Newman challenged a couple of his secondary mates: Get your hands on the ball during practice or your hands on the ground after practice.
Newman, fellow cornerback Mike Jenkins and free safety Alan Ball have an agreement: The guy who gets the most picks during a practice doesn't have to do pushups. The others -- or all of them, if they go pickless -- have to drop and do 40 after the defensive backs break up their post-practice huddle.
"It’s another way just to get us to compete with each other and try to make the team better," Newman said.
The entire defense is making picks a priority after they only had a total of 19 over the last two seasons. The Detroit Lions are the only team with a lower total over the last two years.
It's not solely a secondary problem. The linebacking corps had only one interception last season.
"That's just horrible," Keith Brooking said.
As Wade Phillips often says, the point of the game is to score more points than the opponent. The Dallas defense allowed the fewest points in the NFC last season.
But the lack of turnovers prevents the Cowboys from being a totally dominant defense. Turnover ratio is one of the best indicators of a win-loss record. The Cowboys mananged to win without forcing many turnovers last season.
They're determined to find out how good this team can be if the defense can consistently get its hands on the ball.