Red zone woes slow down Cowboys

IRVING, Texas -- As Tim MacMahon pointed out in today’s column, the Cowboys will not be able to get away with being as conservative as they were last week if they want to beat the New York Giants this week.

Scoring touchdowns, however, has been an issue.

The Cowboys have 19 red zone possessions and have scored eight touchdowns. Their 42.1 percentage is 26th in the NFL. Green Bay is tops in the league at 76.2 percent with 16 touchdowns in 21 trips. But it’s not just a this-year problem. The Cowboys were 20th in the league in red zone percentage (25 touchdowns in 51 possessions) last year.

“It’s always a combination of doing what you do better and looking for new things to do to attack them differently,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think the other day in the game (is a) pretty good example of opportunities we did have -- a pass to Miles (Austin) on a corner route that we just didn’t convert on and the play at the end to Dez (Bryant) that we didn’t convert on. We got some looks at it to our play-making type receivers and for whatever reason we didn’t convert on them. We have to do a better job of making those plays but at the same time we’re always as a coaching staff looking to try to do things better.”

If Tony Romo hits Austin and Bryant holds on to those passes, then the Cowboys’ percentage jumps up to 52.6 percent, which would be 17th in the league. Better, but still not good enough.

“You have to run the ball well down there,” Garrett said. “We believe that. And then you have to be able to score from (outside the 20). We did that in the game the other day, the touchdown to Miles. That’s an important thing. But at the same time just being more efficient in the run game and the pass game and making some pays once we get down there.”