Cowboys' quick-change defense on point

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
11:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- In order to be a great defense, teams have to handle adverse situations.

So far through three games the Dallas Cowboys have handled those situations nearly flawlessly.

In four quick-change situations after turnovers by the offense, the defense has allowed only two field goals.

The New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams have run 15 plays following the Cowboys’ four turnovers and … have gone nowhere. Well, actually they have gone in reverse, totaling minus-1 yard.

“It’s very important for us to come back out and set the tone again,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “We don’t care what happens offensively or on special teams or whatever the case may be, when duty calls for us to go out there we have to do our job.”

Against the Giants, the defense held New York to a field goal after a Tony Romo interception on a drive that started at the Dallas 1. The Giants ran four plays and lost one yard. Against the Chiefs, the defense held Kansas to a field goal after Lance Dunbar's fumble. The Chiefs started at the Dallas 31 and gained 9 yards. The Chiefs lost 5 yards on their next drive following a Romo fumble and were forced to punt.

On Sunday against the Rams, Dwayne Harris’ muffed punt gave St. Louis the ball at the Dallas 34. The Rams turned the ball over on downs when a fake punt went awry. The Rams lost four yards on the drive.

Mindset is as important as execution, according to coach Jason Garrett.

“It’s critical,” Garrett said. “We talked about the team, the team, the team all the time. That’s the manifestation of it on Sunday afternoon. If you pick each other up, don’t blink, somehow someway, the offense doesn’t get the job done and turns the ball over, the defense has to go out there and do their job. Similarly if the defense can’t slow them down, the offense has to respond. The special teams, they’re always in a situation where they have to respond and pick somebody up. That’s just the nature of it. You’re always trying to pick each other up and always try to have each other’s back and play together as a football team. Those situations happen every week in the NFL. It’s rarely a case where one side is always picking the other side up. It’s always going back and forth and everyone simply has to respond the right way.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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