The Cowboys struggled to score points last season. They ranked second in yards, but only 14th in scoring. A big reason was their red-zone production. They were 14th in red-zone efficiency -- 52 percent of their possessions inside the opponents' 20-yard line ended in touchdowns -- and 18th in red-zone average points at 4.48.
This season has not started any better with three red-zone possessions last week against the Redskins. They scored only seven points. David Buehler missed a 34-yard field goal, and the game ended with a touchdown negated by a holding penalty on Alex Barron.
After the game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his biggest disappointment was the offense's inability to put points on the board.
"There's reasons why you haven't put up the points you have [in the past]," quarterback Tony Romo said Thursday. "I think, personally, that it's not that we're not able to move the football. When you watch it, you see that we do move the ball. It’s just that it literally comes down to a mistake or a penalty. Those things cost you. You only get anywhere from eight to 12 drives per game predominantly. If four of them are negated because of something, now all of the sudden you only have four opportunities or six opportunities."
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips got a big defensive Wednesday when asked about his offense's inability to score in the red zone.
"We've played one game, and that’s what’s happened so far," Phillips said. "I think we’ll be fine. I don’t think we’re struggling. I think we moved the ball tremendously well. We had some long drives. We had five drives of seven plays or more. Now sometimes, field position hurts you. Anytime you’re having long drives and consistent drives, you’re going to be all right."
-- Charean Williams