QUOTABLE COWBOYS: Answering for red zone problems, pondering playoff potential

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) celebrates with Jaylon Smith (54) after a third down stop in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing loss at Indianapolis, Dallas coaches and players talk about responding, performing better.

The Dallas Cowboys’ issues as well as their playoff prospects are in sharp focus as they prepare for their last home game of the regular season, versus Tampa Bay at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Dallas is flopping in the red zone, which took center stage as the Colts shut out the Cowboys on Sunday. On the other hand, Dallas is still on the brink of winning the NFC East, which can happen with a victory over the Buccaneers or Eagles and Redskins losses.

Here’s how the Dallas coaches and players are answering such specific questions.

Scott Linehan

On shuffling the offensive line all season:

“It’s not ideal, but we feel really good about the guys that are backing up the guys that were playing. That’s what we’re going with. Guys are battling and fighting for us and that’s really all you can ask.”

On not overthinking red-zone problems:

“I think we’ve got to wipe the slate clean and go down there and start a new streak of playing better down there. It’s like anything else, you start pressing or you start getting yourself thinking about things that have broke down before, I don’t think that’s the way to coach and play offense.”

On bouncing back from 23-0 loss at Indianapolis:

“Last week was a humbling experience for us as an offense. I think our guys have taken a lot of pride in getting ready and preparing even better this week.”

Jaylon Smith

On a Pro Bowl snub:

“Some of it is blasphemy, but you’ve just got to continue to work. It’s all about creating an edge. I love this game, keep playing it hard.”

On the game plan versus the Buccaneers:

“We’ve got to stop the run, got to stop the run. That’s the No. 1 goal. We’ve got to stop the run, make them one-dimensional, and get after the passer.”

Dak Prescott

On bouncing back from 23-0 loss at Indianapolis:

“Knowing the last performance that you put out there on tape is not anything that you’re proud of, you’re ready to get back out there and do it.”

On not wanting to back into the NFC East title:

“Nothing’s given in this league and in life. So I mean we want to go out there and take it, take what we deserve. We don’t want to be given the playoff spot because other teams lose.”

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