As the Dallas Cowboys embark on year two of the Bill Parcells era, there seem to be a lot more questions than answers for Sunday's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
For one, rookie running back Julius Jones, perhaps the most efficient back currently on the roster, is unsure if he'll be able to play.
Jones missed the final preseason game with a rib injury, but insists that he'll be able to go for his first game as a professional. "I'll be there," said Jones on Wednesday. "I'm planning on playing for my first game."
Two, the Cowboys still have concerns in the secondary, particurally at cornerback where the loss of Mario Edwards may prove to be more costly than first expected.
And three, in looking more closely at the season opener, the Cowboys have concerns in stopping Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss.
Considering that Moss has averaged five catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the four games he's faced Dallas, there's little doubt that the Vikings' outspoken receiver will receive the bulk of the attention from the Cowboys' defense Sunday afternoon.
"He's somebody you always have to account for. You look at him, and you think, 'Man is he really that fast?' But he is. He's just awesome," said Cowboys CB Terence Newman. "And then you've got to pay so much attention to him that it helps their other guys."
Parcells wholeheartedly agreed.
"He's a great player," said the second year head coach. "He goes for the ball well. He has good chemistry with his quarterback and that's why he's one of the premier guys in the league."
There is talk of the Cowboys double-teaming Moss and moving their top cover corner, Terence Newman, out to shutdown the Vikings 'number two wide out.
Don't bank on it.
At no other time during those previous four encounters did the Cowboys have a player of Newman's caliber. And now entering his second year in the league, he'll be depended on even more heavily this year.
"It's a challenge to face him," said Newman. "Everybody understands that. He's just an awesome player. If we don't slow him down, then he's going to hurt us. We've just got to figure out a way to do it."
How well Newman can defend Moss will likely go a long way in determining if the Cowboys can walk out of Minnesota with a win.
And in stopping Moss, Newman must focus on keeping the Pro Bowl wide out in front of him at all times. In other words, Newman has to limit his big plays, and make Moss work for everything that's thrown his way.
"Talking about it and doing it are two different things," said Newman. "We've got to step up and be ready for all of the things that he can do."
Can Newman Single Cover Randy Moss?
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