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What he might have seen or heard or had told to him about the local media's take on the Dallas Cowboys' slow start and stagnant offense is old news for Jason Garrett.

When the Cowboys are struggling – even early this season with a 1-2 won-loss record – criticism is guaranteed to follow. He heard it for seven seasons as a backup quarterback on Cowboys teams that won two Super Bowls, and it's been no different this year or any of his first eight as head coach.

Garrett chuckled when asked about the media reaction in his conference-call interview Wednesday.

Speculation has run high that Garrett's job might be in jeopardy, or that he might take over the play-calling from offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

"Oh yeah ... we don't spend much time reading the papers in good times or challenging times," Garrett said. "We just get locked in on what we need to do to play our best football each week. It's what we try to instill in our team."

If media reaction is old news, what the Cowboys face from the Lions' offense is new. In fact, it almost qualifies as a dramatic turnaround.

The Lions have added a legitimate run threat to what has been a potent passing attack. Veteran LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson have added run options to go with Matthew Stafford's receivers.

"Obviously, they're a very balanced attack offensively" Garrett said. "They can run the ball. They've got a couple different guys they hand the ball off to regularly. They've got a running back (Theo Riddick) they really like coming out of the backfield.

"Obviously, Mathew is a great quarterback. He can beat you many ways. He has weapons outside he really likes. Every time they break the huddle, they challenge you with the run and with the pass. They're multi-dimensional, and they attack you different ways."

Meet this weeks opponents, the Dallas Cowboys.

It's the opposite with how the Cowboys' offense is currently constructed. They have one of the top runners in the league in Zeke Elliott, but an inefficient passing game with a struggling quarterback in Dak Prescott.

No team in the league is as out of balance between offense and defense as the Cowboys.

Their defense ranks third in the league in yards allowed. It's led by a strong pass rush. Nine players have had a hand in the 11 quarterback sacks that have the Cowboys ranked second in the league.

The offense ranks third from the bottom, with Elliott the only bright spot.

Elliott is tied with the 49ers' Matt Breida for the league rushing lead with 274 yards. Elliott has a 5.7-yard average per carry, despite facing defenses stacked to stop the run because of Prescott's inefficiency.

Prescott isn't solely to blame for the offense's malaise. The retirement of tight end Jason Witten and the failure to sign a play-making receiver after parting ways with Dez Bryant has left the Cowboys with Cole Beasley as the top receiver.

Beasley (12) and Elliott (11) are the only Cowboys with double-digit receptions.

The offensive line is another issue. Regarded as the league's best in recent seasons, it has been hurt by injuries and the unavailability of four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, who has been diagnosed as having Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder.

Prescott has gone five straight games without reaching the 200-yard passing mark. That includes the last two games of last season, when he went six of the last eight games without throwing for 200 yards.

As stout as the Cowboys' defense has been, it will have to go without middle linebacker Sean Lee for the immediate future.

Rookie Leighton Vander Esch stepped in when Lee went out in last week's road loss to Seattle. He tied Lee for the team lead with 11 tackles despite playing on 33 of 69 defensive snaps. Lee played the other 36.

Regardless of what other problems the Cowboys have, the focus is on Prescott. That goes with being the quarterback, even a young one like Prescott who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2016 and has started all 35 regular season games.

Prescott sounded like he had more questions than answers when he spoke to the media in the locker room after last week's loss in Seattle.

"A couple things were the reason. I've got to be more accurate. I've got to be more consistent throwing. We've got to get open. It starts with me."

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