Thursday News & Notes

Thanks to a hoard of free-agent and rookie additions, the Cowboys are much improved talent-wise than the 6-10 team of a year ago.

They are also much more talented they have been since Bill Parcells took over in 2003. And that includes the 10-6 team of his inaugural season.

Yet the Cowboys head into Sunday's game against the Eagles looking like the same old group. They are 2-2 in 2005, moving Parcells' record to 18-18 since 2003. That doesn't sound like progress. It's more like a franchise stuck in neutral. However, the Cowboys aren't ready to panic. They believe they are an improved team.

"We are what we are," Pro Bowl defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said.

"We're 2-2 right now. All the games we've played could've gone either way. Unfortunately we're .500 right now. The first quarter's over. We're moving on to the second quarter, and we'll see what we've got."

If the Cowboys are going to live out their dreams of making the playoffs in 2005, the time is now for them to make a move. Three of their next four games are a home, beginning with key divisional matchups against the Eagles (3-1) and the Giants (4-0).

It won't be easy. The Eagles have won nine of their past 10 games against the Cowboys, including four of the past five at Texas Stadium.

The Giants are simply one of the biggest surprises of the NFC.

"I think this is the month you have to start trying to string some wins together," coach Bill Parcells said. "We've got some tough teams coming, so we're going to have to play better than we did (Sunday) to do that."

"We're going to know a lot more about us after these next two games," tight end Dan Campbell said. "That's the best way I can sum it up."

SERIES HISTORY: 92nd meeting. Dallas leads the series 51-40. Dallas has faced no team more than the Eagles. The Eagles have won nine of the past 10 in the series, including four of the past five at Texas Stadium.

--After the season's first four weeks, the Cowboys are ninth in the NFL (sixth in the NFC) in total offense with an average of 349.5 yards per game. Dallas is 17th in the NFL (eighth in the NFC) in rushing (102.5 yards per game). With an average of 247.0 passing yards per game, Dallas is ninth in the NFL in passing (fifth in the NFC).

--After opening the season with the best third down conversion rate in the NFL (seven-of-11 for 63.6 percent at San Diego), Dallas converted 41.2 percent of its third down tries against Washington, 46.2 percent (six-of-13) of their tries at San Francisco and 40.0 percent at Oakland (six-of-15). The Cowboys are currently fifth in the NFL with an overall third down conversion rate of 46.4 percent.

--Dallas is currently tied for third in the NFL in red zone production. The Cowboys have scored touchdowns on nine of their 11 possessions inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

--The Cowboys are averaging 21 first downs per game which is tied for fourth best in the NFL.

--RB Julius Jones has now run for at least 80 yards in nine of his 11 career starts. In those 11 starts, Jones has 1,138 rushing yards for an average of 103.5 yards per game. He is averaging 26.2 carries per game in his 11 career starts.

--QB Drew Bledsoe's seven touchdown passes in 2005 are the fifth most in the NFL. f Bledsoe were to maintain his current passer rating of 96.2, it would be a career best mark, and the highest by a Dallas quarterback since Troy Aikman's 99.0 rating in 1993.

--The Cowboys are currently tied for 23rd in the NFL (tied for 12th in the NFC) in total defense, allowing an average of 340.0 yards per game. In rushing defense, the Cowboys are 24th in the NFL (13th in the NFC) with an average of 115.0 yards allowed on the ground. Dallas is 23rd in pass defense (13th in the NFC) with an average of 225.0 yards through the air.

--Only four teams have registered more sacks than Dallas' 12 in 2005: Atlanta (17), Indianapolis (15), San Francisco (14) and Pittsburgh (14).

--With five in four games, the Dallas defense is 10th in the NFL in interceptions. Through four games in 2005, the Dallas defense has registered 12 sacks, putting the team on pace to record 48 sacks for the season - its best showing since 1987.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is a new year. We had a good chance to win that second game last year. We didn't have any chance to win the first one. We are going to have to play our best football. This is a good team we are playing. This is a very good team. They were down by a big amount last week and came back and really won pretty easily. That of course has to show something. They are very formidable." -- Bill Parcells on the Eagles' dominance of the Cowboys.

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