"The thing with this success is that we just have to be even harder on each other, expect even more out of each other. With each win comes great expectations. We're not just talking about from the outside; we're talking about in our own locker room, from ourselves."
--Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboys' nose tackle.
The Dallas Cowboys are on a three game winning streak and have increasing confidence. Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo threw touchdown passes to three receivers, including his new favorite target Miles Austin, and didn't have an interception for a career-best third straight game, leading the Cowboys to a 38-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and into a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles for the division lead in the NFL NFC East.
"I feel good about the progress we've made, but we've still got a ways to go."
--Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys' head coach.
PATRICK CRAYTON DEALS WITH ADVERSITY
"You've got to make the most of the opportunities you can," wide receiver Patrick Crayton said. "That's the only way you can view it."
Since losing his starting wide receiver position to Miles Austin and briefly the punt return job to Allen Rossum, Patrick Crayton has scored three touchdowns in two games.
It's his third streak of at least two games with a touchdown over the last three seasons. On Sunday, November 1, 2009, he added three catches for 39 yards, including a big third-down grab on a drive that put the Cowboys up, 14-3, in the second quarter.
"He shows you how to be a professional, how to go about your job every day," Cowboy wide receiver Kevin Ogletree said. "Pat, I don't think he lets anything bother him."
Crayton, whose punt return average (16.6 yards) is better than his per catch average (14.6), should be applauded for how he has acted.
"Some may say, 'He's just doing what he's supposed to do,' " Crayton said. "That's how I look at it."
"Patrick's been nothing but a great teammate and player since he's been here," quarterback Tony Romo said. "He knows the competitive side of the game, the ups and the downs that go with it. What allows him to go forward and be successful is his mind and ability to keep working. For some reason, he always comes out on top. That's pretty good."
“He understands that he’s going to play a ton,” Romo said before a win over the Atlanta Falcons. “To think he’s not going to be a major part of this offense is wrong.”
“It’s a long season of ups and downs, and the mental side of the game is what it’s all about,” tight end Jason Witten said. “I think he did a great job of understanding those challenges and really just stepping up and being the same guy every day. And it showed on Sunday.”
"Week in and week out, you've got to prove yourself. If you don't they'll find somebody else. My job is to do whatever they ask me to do, plain and simple. I'm not going to ever lose confidence in myself and hopefully they don't , either."
--Patrick Crayton, about his role on the team after being demoted.
"It's never even been thought of mine that Patrick Crayton wouldn't walk out there and play like he'd just been named to the Pro Bowl. On any given play, I think he'll play that way. From my standpoint, thinging about this team, we shouldn't waok on eggshells over that kind of issue That's not the point here. The point is that we're all lucky to be here."
--Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys' owner, discussing the controversy that arose when it was reported that Crayton took offense to not being told about the decision to demote him by a coach, rather than the media.
LOOKING FORWARD AND IMPROVING
"For us, it's just about improving and getting better," Romo said. "I can say it 55,000 times, but it's true."
"We want to keep improving and keep trying to win games. That's been our motto all season," Romo said. "We don't really think about other teams. Our season is about the things we can control."
"This team has a good chemistry. They are hard workers. We have a lot of guys that play a role, whatever that is. They accept it and they try to do really well at that role."
Excerpts from Dallas News.com (November 2, 2009), Associated Press (November 1, 2009 and ESPN.com (November 1-2, 2009).
For more on mental conditioning, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.