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August 29, 2010

Red-zone blues

In their first seven trips to the red zone during preseason, the Cowboys failed to score a touchdown. Perhaps it is an overstatement to suggest it was a major concern, particularly since 80 men -- 27 more than the Cowboys are allowed to carry in the regular season -- are on the roster. Plus, the games don’t count.

 

 But last season, the Cowboys had red-zone problems, ranking only 18th in the NFL in converting touchdowns inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Dallas was second in yards gained, but only 14th in scoring in the league, and that was because of the red-zone woes.

 

 The Cowboys scored twice inside the 20 against San Diego in the third preseason game, but on Saturday, they had problems again.

 

 They made two trips to the red zone. On the first with the ball at the Houston 16-yard line, a miscommunication between Tony Romo and Felix Jones resulted in a botched pitchout, which bounced free and was recovered by the Texans.

 

 On the second visit, with the ball on the Houston 17, Texans safety Bernard Pollard tipped a Romo pass intended for Jason Witten, the ball popped in the air and was intercepted by cornerback Kareem Jackson, who returned it 64 yards.

 

 That left the Cowboys’ red zone stats at 2-of-11 in the preseason.

“We need to get the ball in the end zone,” Romo said simply.

-- Jan Hubbard

 

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