Respect is what you give a rattlesnake curled up in your path. You find another place to walk. Respect is what my Franklin electronic dictionary claims is high or special regard. What was witnessed on a rainy football field in Philadelphia Sunday night could never be confused with respect. The Eagles sneered in the face of the Dallas offense and showed them no respect at all.

Many fans clamor about the play calling by offensive coordinator Jack Reilly. Some seem to think he just throws darts at a chart on the wall and calls whatever play he hits. If this is truly the case, then last night he missed the chart all together and hit the light switch. It must have been in the off position.

Philadelphia showed what the NFL thinks of the Dallas quarterbacking position and offensive schemes. They blitzed without mercy or regard to the passing game, clogging any holes Emmitt Smith might find with linebackers and safeties.

Brian Dawkins, a free safety out of Clemson hit the ball carrier so often in the Dallas backfield, he seemed to be lining up between Larry Allen and Mark Stepnoski. No one was immune to the jailbreak blitz as they forced two and sometimes three people over Stepnoski's position.

Twice in the first quarter the Eagles dropped the ball on the turf and Dallas recovered. The Eagles gave the ball to the Cowboys on their own 20-yard line and a shocked Veterans Stadiums sat silent.

The first drive after the turnover lost six yards, requiring the Cowboys to kick the field goal from the 26. The second drive ended up gaining 7 then losing 11 yards before Tim Seder kicked the second field goal to give Dallas a 6-0 lead.

At that point all of the soaked fans watching live and a nation that looked on via an ESPN broadcast knew Dallas was over matched.

The Cowboys then went on to a remarkable second quarter where they turned the ball over to the Eagles deep in Dallas territory three times. Without a pass rush, Donovan McNabb stood like the statue of Rocky and waited for the Cowboys secondary to go on coffee break before hurling the football into the endzone for 21 unanswered points.

Once the Eagles smelled blood in the water pooling on the artificial turf, they ripped the Dallas offense apart with every type of blitz known to mankind. Including the cheerleaders, Eagles band and at points Jeffrey Lurie from the owners box. Sometimes gaping holes were so large, Andy Reid could have gotten through them with the minimum amount of axle grease smeared on his rotund torso.

Turnovers hurt a Dallas team who eventually would give the ball away 4 times. But the real culprit in this Sunday Night Massacre is the lack of NFL talent on the field for the Cowboys.

No amount of coaching from Knute Rockne to Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson could turn this team around with its current roster. If coaching were the solution then Jimmy wouldn't have suffered a 1-15 season his first year.

While there are bright spots in veterans like Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson, warriors that have been through the fray and tasted victory. The team is saddled with too many Anthony Wrights and Michael Wiley's for the veterans and coaching staff to overcome.

If one game can illustrate the 20 plus million dollars of dead money the Cowboys carry under the salary cap, this game should be saved for the posterity of the league. Copies should be Fed-Exed to every GM to show the results of poor cap management and ignoring the health issues of premiere players.

Jerry Jones should be the poster boy of what happens when you ignore the warning signs of a crumbling franchise and offer up millions to players that are soon left on the ash heap of retirement.

The crux of the issue on the field is respect. Forcing the other team out of their game plan to counter the success you are enjoying. Make the other guy blink. Dallas does not have the talent on offense to force a troop of girl scouts away from an ice cream truck.

Until the Dallas Cowboys can field players that are competitive with the talent level of the opponent, then no amount of coaching will turn this tide.

In a TV interview during the game, Jerry Jones commented that while this is frustrating for both the fans and management alike, the team is tearing itself down and finding out who will be players for the future. When pressed he claimed this didn't mean they wouldn't try to be competitive in each game and that meant veterans shouldn't look on this as abandoning winning.

But a blueprint of a rebuilding team cannot address both issues of winning games and evaluating talent. That is not to say that winning will not come this season. But to attempt to serve two masters will only create a situation that will fall short in both categories.

But if this team is ever going to succeed in finding the right mix of talent and gaining the opponents respect, they have to suffer through a drought similar to the 1989 season. A trial by fire to cull quality and discard everything else.

If respect of the team and fans is on Jones agenda, he will shoot straight with both and halt the fence straddling and owner-speak.

Then perhaps he can gain the respect from a fan base that is paying a higher price this season over last to watch an grossly inferior product.

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