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November 20, 2013

Garrett: No great answers to Cowboys' third-down problems except being better on first and second down, then executing

The Cowboys spent a lot of time reviewing their third-down offense during the bye week. But the results were inconclusive.

“I don’t know that there were any great revelations,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think the biggest thing that we have to understand is third down is really oftentimes a product of first and second down. The better you are on first and second down, the more manageable those third-down situations are.”

The Cowboys rank 28th in the NFL on third-down conversions, making 32.8 percent. The New York Giants rank 22nd (35.5 percent), the Philadelphia Eagles are 13th (38.9) and the Washington Redskins are third (46.2).

But the Cowboys, averaging 19 first downs per game, are not far from the league average of 19.

“That’s one thing – I think making first downs on first and second down is important,” Garrett said. “And then simply the idea of being a better third down team – making the throws, making the catches, making the protection calls and physically blocking the guys. All of those things go into being an effective third-down team. Making it more manageable, staying out of some of them, and then just simply executing better.

“Again, when I talk about execution, that’s on us as coaches as well – making sure we’re giving our guys a chance to execute.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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