FRISCO - Dak Prescott's Dallas Cowboys started the year 6-1, at which time nobody, of course, was very "pissed'' and all "hunger'' was being satisfied.
But November was a rough month for the Cowboys, who have lost three of their last four. Dak's Monday reflection on The Month That Wasn't and the road ahead, which continues Thursday at New Orleans?
“This is a team that’s hungry and that’s pissed off,'' Prescott said, "simply about the way that we’ve executed and the way that we’ve played.''
Dak also used the word "urgent.'' "Urgent'' is fitting and "hungry'' is good and "pissed'' is justified.
But so is just a little skepticism from any Cowboys fan who feels like he's heard this speech before - because, in fact, Dak has chanted his "pissed'' mantra after each of these midseason losses.
That doesn't invalidate the sentiment. That doesn't devalue the emotion. But being "pissed'' after a loss to the Broncos and then being "pissed'' after a loss to the Chiefs and then being "pissed'' after a loss to the Raiders?
Well, maybe being "pissed'' isn't enough.
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Jerry's Ben Franklin-inspired point: The Dak goods far outweigh the Dak bads.
The Cowboys are a 4.5-point favorite in the game, and "hungry'' and "pissed'' won't impact that. Nor, it seems, will a major storyline of the week, the fact they’ll be without head coach Mike McCarthy this Thursday as he's contracted COVID. (The Cowboys' plan without McCarthy is detailed here.)
There does figure to be a boost in talent this week for the Cowboys, as an offense that failed to show up in the Week 11 loss at the Chiefs figures to have back receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, and as the defense that failed to show up on Thanksgiving in the Week 12 loss to the Raiders might get DeMarcus Lawrence back for the first time since early September.
"It can definitely be a boost,'' Dak said. "Those three guys that you named, Pro Bowlers and one of them is a future Pro Bowler, All-Pro-type player, so just having those three guys be able to come back into the team, whether it's obviously their play on the field or their leadership on the sideline or in the locker room, they're valuable pieces to this whole thing.
"Getting three of those guys back is going to be huge for us, and it's going to play a big part in us doing what we need to do.''
And what Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys need to do? They now sit at 7-4, with the 5-6 Washington Football Team giving chase in the NFC East and with an NFC first-round bye looking increasingly out of reach as Dallas plays the next three games on the road.
"It's very urgent,'' Prescott said of the situation. "It's about us looking in the mirror and checking us first and foremost, and that's what we've done. ... It's just about going out there and doing everything that we can to heighten our focus, our mindset and our execution come Thursday to make sure that we come out with a victory.''