DALLAS -- Through a series of inconsistent but winning performances by the Dallas Cowboys this year, there has been at least one steady performer who, with five games remaining in the regular season, finds himself on the verge of setting a club record.
In his fifth year, running back Ron Springs has blossomed into something more than a spear carrier. He has now become a star.
Springs is the fourth leading receiver in the NFC and needs just one more catch to break Dallas' record for most receptions by a running back in a single season. His 47 catches currently has him tied with Preston Pearson for the team mark.
With tight end Doug Cosbie limping on a sprained ankle during Dallas' meeting with Philadelphia last Sunday, Springs became a key target of quarterback Danny White. In addition, Springs appears headed for a career high rushing total, having gained 414 yards for a 3.9-yard-per-carry average.
'I think Ron Springs is coming to a point now where he is really confident in what he can do,' Dallas coach Tom Landry said Tuesday. 'We're using him in more areas. He has been one of the most consistent players we have had on our team each week.
'You can pretty well count on him doing what you want him to do for you and that is a real plus.'
Such has not always been the case. There was concern early in Springs' career about his attitude, but such concerns seem to have disappeared.
'I think he was very much determined this year to prove himself,' Landry said. 'We had had some negative feedback in the past in blocking and things like that and I think he overcame that. He's blocking well. He is an excellent pass receiver and a good runner.
'He is a good runner you can count on and that is the important thing. He very seldom fumbles.'
Springs has been the exception rather than the rule when it comes to consistency this year. Yet Dallas is only a few wins away from clinching yet another playoff spot.
'It is an interesting team,' Landry said, 'in that it is able to do the things it has done. The team is very confident it can do the job it has to do and that is important.'
But going into the stretch drive, Landry would like to see improvement in almost every area.
'I think consistency of play is what we need to continually work on,' Landry said. 'That's what it will come down to at the end. We know Washington is performing very consistently week in and week out and we are not quite as consistent in our play as they are.
'I'm just talking about playing consistently good field position type football, the type where the defense is not making a lot of big plays against you, where you are not turning the ball over on offense, where the kicking game is not getting the penalties that push you back inside the 20. Those are the kind of things you have to eliminate if you want to make a run at the Super Bowl.'