Tuesday News & Notes

After reviewing the film, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' assessment of his defense was no different than it was on Sunday. He said a Cowboys defense which finished last season atop the league rankings was downright atrocious.

Of course, the suspect secondary was bad after giving up five touchdown passes to Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Cornerback Pete Hunter and Terence Newman and safeties Roy Williams and Tony Dixon were helpless against the Vikings receiver corps led by Randy Moss.

But Parcells said the entire defense was awful. He said couldn't find one player on defense who played to their potential. Not star linebacker Dat Nguyen. Not Pro Bowl defensive tackle La'Roi Glover. And not free agent defensive end Marcellus Wiley.

The Cowboys' front four put no pressure on Culpepper and the front seven was unable to stop the run.

* WR Keyshawn Johnson takes no solace in what was an impressive opening performance in a Cowboys uniform.

Johnson, playing for the first time since being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with six games to go in 2003, looked like the go-to receiver the Cowboys have been searching for since Michael Irvin retired in 2000.

He not only led the Cowboys with nine catches for 111 yards, but proved to be a physical force on the field with several tough catches over the middle and as a blocker in the running game.

"I do what I do," Johnson said. "There is no difference. I have been doing the same thing since I have been in the league. This is no miracle game. Now losing that is a tough pill for me to swallow. I know I am going to catch the ball. I have said that since I got here. I am going to put up the numbers. I am going to block. I am going to do all the things I do. But at the end of the day, am I going to get the W? Or am I going to be on the plane wondering what I can do better?"

* Bill Parcells plans to wait until Wednesday to give an official injury assessment on guard Andre Gurode, center/guard Tyson Walter and running back Richie Anderson.

All three went down with knee injuries against the Vikings and underwent magnetic resonance imaging exams on Monday. Parcells said early indications are that the injuries aren't as serious as originally thought but he will know for sure on Wednesday when they will be able to return.

While Gurode will likely be hard-pressed to play against the Browns, it's relatively good news because the Cowboys feared on Sunday night that he might be out for a while with significant damage to his medial collateral ligament.

The Cowboys, however, are still unsure of their lineup for the Browns game. Matt Lehr would start at guard if neither Gurode nor Walter are available. Rookie guard Ben Noll, who joined the team two weeks ago as a waiver wire pickup from the Rams, would be forced to get ready as the primary backup.

* RB Richie Anderson's knee injury is not considered that serious, although the final word won't come until Wednesday.

What Parcells does know is that he gave the 12-year veteran too much work on Sunday, which probably contributed to his lost fumble late and the game and maybe the injury. Anderson, who is the team's nickel running back, played much of the second half as the Cowboys tried to get back in the game with the pass offense. He carried six times for 10 yards and caught four passes for 31 yards.

"Richie has fumbled on occasion in the past," Parcells said. "I know that. He has to do a better job taking care of the ball but he was in the game too much yesterday. He was in the game too much."

In hindsight, Parcells said he should have used running back ReShard Lee to spell Anderson in the second half. Lee gave the Cowboys a spark in the third quarter with a 62-yard kickoff return and then four straight carries, culminating with a seven-yard touchdown run. He didn't return to the game until after Anderson went down late in the fourth quarter.

* DT Leo Carson will return to the active roster on Tuesday after being suspended for the season opener for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The Cowboys will have to release a player to make room for Carson on the roster.

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