Cowboys say a 3-1 start is important

IRVING, Texas -- It's really amazing when you think about it, but the last time the Cowboys started a season 3-1 was 2008.

"Yeah, now that you say that, I hadn't thought much about it," tight end Jason Witten said. "But that would be a good feeling, for sure."

The Cowboys have a chance to improve to 3-1 with a victory Sunday at San Diego. This franchise has been up-and-down the past few years. It started off 2-2 before bye weeks the past two seasons and in 2010 opened with a 1-4 mark. In 2009, the Cowboys also started 2-2. A 3-1 start can build momentum for this season that has so much promise.

"Since I’ve been here we’ve had shots to go 3-1 and we’ve had some tough losses," linebacker Sean Lee said. "We have to find a way to build that consistency and we understand that it’s building throughout the year and stacking games together is what the great teams do. That’s what we have to do."

The Cowboys are taking on coach Jason Garrett's conservative approach of living day-by-day. Garrett doesn't want his team thinking ahead because it could distract from the importance of the game in front of them. So, while an Oct. 6 game against the Denver Broncos looms, a loss to the Chargers this Sunday increases discussions that the Cowboys are just a .500 team.

"It’s huge for us," Lee said of moving to 3-1. "It’s something we’ve not done in the past consistently. The last two years we’ve been 8-8 because we’ve won one and lost one. Winning on the road is going to be tough, especially against a San Diego team that’s a really good team. They’re a really good offense. It’s one of the best offenses we’re going to see all year, a ton of talent with a great quarterback."

One thing about that 2008 season, despite the 3-1 start, the Cowboys finished 9-7 overall and lost three of their last four games, including the regular-season finale, 44-6, to the Philadelphia Eagles. A victory would have clinched a playoff berth.