That is the million dollar question at this point in the season. If the Dallas Cowboys can stop doing things to kill themselves it would appear that they have the talent on both sides of the ball to compete with any team in the NFL. I'm not entirely certain that they can correct all of their problems but I have to believe that they can improve. The glaring problems to me right now are penalties, turnovers, bad tackling, and questionable coaching decisions. That is a long list to have only 5 games into the season.
Penalties are correctable to a certain extent. Last week the offsides penalties were pretty ridiculous. I mentioned early in the game that the Cowboys appeared to be lining up offside, but apparently the coaches didn't see the problem or at least did nothing to correct it. For some reason the coaches for the Cowboys don't seem to react quickly during the game to problems like this one. I'm starting to be convinced that the other penalties are becoming a reputation thing. I think some officials go into the games thinking the Cowboys are a highly penalized team and are quick on the draw with the penalty flags. The only way to change the reputation is to start playing clean. That is only going to change if the players and coaches make it a priority.
Turnovers were a focus all offseason. Tony Romo worked to eliminate the boneheaded turnovers that have become a regular part of his game over the last few years. For the most part he has been better with the exception of the Giants game. The bigger problem to me is the fact that the Cowboys still have a negative turnover ratio. The Cowboys need to take away more turnovers than they give away. The defense just doesn't force a lot of turnovers. I think the secondary just doesn't have the type of playmakers to get a lot of interceptions. The pass rush will have to force more bad throws or the turnovers aren't going to improve.
Tackling has been a problem for the Cowboys for several years now. I don't know what the problem is but it seems to be nearly everyone in the secondary. Somewhere along the line the players in the secondary have decided that throwing a shoulder into the ball carrier is better than wrapping up. It is a correctable problem, but I'm not sure that the coaches are making it a priority. The only guys who seem to tackle well in the secondary are Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh. I'm not sure if tackling is ever going to get better.
The questionable coaching decisions are the easiest to fix. I'm mostly talking about the play calls by Jason Garrett in critical situations. The Cowboys started the season with a good red zone offense but it has been bad lately. I'd like to see Jason Garrett stop making the cute play calls in critical situations and get back to fundamentals in the big moments. I'd like to believe that the bye week will allow Garrett to take a step back to look at the bigger picture and realize what has gone wrong. I think the Cowboys will improve in this regard in the upcoming weeks.
Overall, there are certainly a lot of problems. Can they all be fixed? That remains to be seen. There is enough talent to overcome some bad plays, but the Cowboys can't constantly put themselves in bad situations or they are going to be sitting at home watching the playoffs. I think they know that and they are working to fix it.