3 More Wins: An Absolute Must

After facing back-to-back-to-back 5-11 seasons, Jerry Jones and company threw the Dave Campo regine to the curb, and ushered in the Bill Parcells era in early January. While improvement seems almost like a virtual lock, what will it take to prove it on the field? I'll tell you what it takes: 3 more wins.

3 more wins in 2003. It sounds so easy doesn't it?

Surely, the Dallas Cowboys can increase their win total to 8 this year with the legendary coach Bill Parcells calling the shots. Surely the offense can emerge from the bottom of nearly every statistical category to actually put some points on the board this year.

Sure, I agree with those statements. Actually, the Dallas Cowboys finishing the 2003 season with an 8-8 record seems almost like a forgone conclusion.

I know, I know. All you homers out there will immediately suggest that I'm crazy and that this team, even with the 1000 questions that still must be answered on both sides of the ball, can easily reach 10 wins.

In reality, maybe that's a notion that should be researched further, but based on what we've seen from this team in the past, and results that Bill Parcells usually produces during his first year on the job, we should stick with the idea of 8-8.

At least for now.

Parcells finished 3-12-1 in his first year with the Giants back in 1983. He would follow that up with a 5-11 record with the New England Patriots during his first campaign in Foxboro in 1993.

"My first year at New England, my expectations were to try to stay in a game. We opened 1-11 and finally won four in a row at the end of the year," said Parcells.

And then came his finest coaching job perhaps of his entire career. In just one season, Bill Parcells took the hapless New York Jets from 1-15 to 9-7.

If anything, it appears as though Parcells has figured out how to turn around a franchise faster in each of his stops in the National Football League.

"Maybe 5-11 will be about as good as we can do," Parcells said earlier this year before the start of mini-camp. "I don't know. I don't set expectations I just go by what I see with my own eyes."

Expectations have always been high at Valley Ranch, but unfortunately, the Cowboys haven't had a winning record since going 10-6 way back in 1998.

The Cowboys did make it to the playoffs in 1999 with an 8-8 record, but then lost to Jake Plummer and the Arizona Cardinals in the wild-card game.

Certainly, the team that Parcells just inherited isn't as a bad as the teams under his direction during his first seasons in New England or New York.

The Patriots simply didn't have the talent to compete week in and week out, while the Jets just appeared to be in disarray.

No, the 2003 version of the Dallas Cowboys has some talent, especially on defense. That fact alone has kept the Cowboys in numerous games over the course of the last three seasons.

Adding Terry Glenn and Terence Newman into the mix certainly can't hurt either. Newman will likely prove to be the shutdown cornerback that the Cowboys' secondary has so desperately needed and Glenn can only help an offense that can best be described as anemic.

Never the less, it's foolish to expect Bill Parcells to right the ship in just one season. He'll get the job done, make no mistake about it, but it won't come overnight.

"I know there are certain cards here on the table," Parcells has said several times since his January arrival at Valley Ranch. "They're all not bad cards. There are some good cards here, or there are some cards unturned that maybe I can help turn over so they become more productive."

With 3 consecutive 5-win seasons in the books, turning over the "8-and-8" card seems like a pretty good start to me.

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