<
>

Cowboys prepared for the all or nothing of playoff football

IRVING, Texas – Tyrone Crawford did not have to ask any of his Dallas Cowboys teammates what it’s like in the playoffs.

They told him.

The intensity goes up in practice, the details are magnified, the game is a lot faster and he will be nervous.

“I do get nervous before games, yeah,” Crawford said

How quickly do the nerves go away?

“The first play, [then] normal,” Crawford said. “It’s weird. It’s been like that my whole life.”

Crawford has made the tackle on the Cowboys’ first play the last two games.

“So maybe nerves are good,” he said.

Maybe.

Defensive end Jeremy Mincey played in Super Bowl XLVIII last season for the Denver Broncos. He experienced the playoffs in 2007 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is among a handful of players on the Cowboys’ roster to experience the postseason.

“Just heightened details, man,” Mincey said. “All the mistakes we make previously through the season, we just got to get those things fixed and corrected. Just try to be a perfectionist. It’s a lot of talent in the playoffs and teams can rise to the occasion at any moment. Just got to be prepared and ready and you’ve got to come with the mentality that it’s all or nothing.”

Sterling Moore went to Super Bowl XLVI with the New England Patriots. Without him, the Patriots don’t get to the game. He broke up a sure touchdown pass to Lee Evans with 27 seconds to play in the AFC Championship Game, putting his name in New England folklore.

“Obviously it gets brought up at this time of year with guys in the playoffs and stuff,” Moore said, “but I really don’t think about it anymore.”

What he does think about is the loss in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. As Cowboys fans know, the Giants won their Week 17 finale against Dallas and went on to beat the Patriots for the second time in five years in a Super Bowl.

“It’s just the realization that you can be one and done,” Moore said. “You’ve got to go out there and put everything on the line. Literally every play could be that play that changes your season.”

But mostly the playoffs are fun. This is what they set out to do last spring when the organized team activities started.

“I mean, I’m excited to see it,” Mincey said. “A team who is expected to do nothing rises to the occasion and does things everybody didn’t expect. But the great thing is guys understood that if you expect to be great you can become great, and they started to get that mentality.”