Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/30/11
One of the biggest challenges for the Cowboys on Sunday will be containing Cardinals punt returner Patrick Peterson. The rookie from LSU is the first player in NFL history to have four punt-return touchdowns of 80 yards or more in a single season. He has certainly grabbed the Cowboys' attention, especially considering Dallas ranks 21st in the league in punt coverage. The Cowboys were victimized against the Redskins two weeks ago, when they gave up two returns totaling 87 yards. "There's evidence on tape he's just a dynamic player," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said of Peterson. "We saw that coming out of school, I think everybody saw that both as a defensive player and also as a returner. He seems to be showing up every week making those kinds of plays. "That will be a real challenge for our football team." Garrett said his team will pay very close attention to Peterson and do its best to kick away from him when it can. "The operation is important for any kicker, whether it's a punter or a placekicker," Garrett said. "The operation is critical. We have an outstanding long snapper in L.P. (Ladouceur) who locates the ball really well, and that's certainly part of the whole process, and certainly the specialist has to step in and punt or kick the ball the way it needs to be kicked." --Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already gone on record saying he's tired of the narrow victories of the last two weeks and he would prefer the team win by wider margins. Four of Dallas' seven wins have been by three points or fewer, and the last two have come on field goals on the last play of the game. "I like games where we get out there and get 30-point wins," Jones said. "I'm going to talk to him (coach Jason Garrett) about that."We need bigger wins." Jones may have been a little facetious with his comments because at this time of year the most important thing is getting wins. As Garrett said following the 20-19 victory against the Dolphins on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys did just enough to get the win despite not playing their best in all three phases. "I thought it was a good illustration of the will that our football team has," Garrett said. "There are a number of things in all three areas that we don't like very much. I thought our guys kept fighting. We did enough to give ourselves a chance to win the game." It was definitely good enough since it was their third game and third win in the last 12 days before they had 10 days off to rest and heal heading into the Dec. 4 game against the Cardinals. While a team would like to be playing its best football coming down the stretch, it's also an important step to be able to win games when they do not play their best. And more important, it's good that the Cowboys are learning how to win and learning how to finish games like a winner. That fact was evident against the Dolphins when they rallied from a 16-10 fourth-quarter deficit. --Quarterback Tony Romo's streak of 128 straight passes without an interception came to end against the Dolphins. It was his second best streak behind 167 set in 2009. However, he threw two touchdown passes giving him 21 for the season. It was the fourth season of 20 or more touchdown passes for Romo tying him with Danny White for the club record. BY THE NUMBERS: Laurent Robinson has a touchdown catch in five games and his seven touchdowns over the previous five games is tied for the third-highest figure over that span in club history. TRENDING: Romo has a 19-2 record all time in the month of November. He is 7-10 in December. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL --RB DeMarco Murray has certainly missed the presence of FB Tony Fiammetta as his lead blocker the past two games. Fiammetta has been sidelined with an unknown illness. Murray rushed for 601 yards in four games with Fiammetta as his lead blocker and just 160 in the two games since the fullback has been out. --P Mat McBriar might return to his role as the holder on field goals and extra points. QB Tony Romo had taken over because McBriar was struggling with a nerve condition in his plant foot. However, the punter is feeling better and is ready to return as the holder. --WR Akwasi Owusu-Ansah was released Tuesday after serving as the Cowboys' primary kick and punt returner the past three games to less than sterling results. He could be signed back to the practice squad. --FB Shaun Chapas was signed to the active roster on to fill in for Fiammetta. There is no timetable for Fiammetta's return. Chapas was the Cowboys' seventh-round pick this year, and he has been on the practice squad since the start of the season. --WR Miles Austin should be healthy enough to return for the Cardinals game after missing the past three games with a strained hamstring. However, the Cowboys may hold him out one more week so there won't be any setbacks heading into the final stretch of the season. --CB Mike Jenkins is expected to practice Wednesday after missing four games with a strained hamstring. If everything goes well, he will play against the Cardinals on Sunday. --WR Dez Bryant could get a few more opportunities on punt returns now that Akwasi Owusu-Ansah has been cut. Look for Kevin Ogletree to handle most of the returns, but Bryant will get his opportunities when the Cowboys feel they need a big play. That was the case before the game-winning drive against the Dolphins last week. Bryant went back as the returner for the only time in the game and ripped off a 20-yard return to jump-start the final march.
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