So Far So Good

Everything you thought about the Cowboys heading into the 2006 season appears to be coming true. The defense, in year two of the 3-4, is going to be good. Perhaps very good. The offense has a chance to be more explosive, and controversial receiver Terrell Owens is going to cause problems.

Owens has tested the patience of Cowboys coach Bill Parcells by missing the first three preseason games with a sore hamstring. He's practiced five times in the last three weeks. With the preseason finale being Thursday, his first action might not come until the season opener against the Jaguars -- if then.

While questions abound about how serious Owens' hamstring injury really is, what is unacceptable to the Cowboys is that he missed a team meeting and rehab session on Friday. He was fined $9,500.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes the Owens saga will be over once he gets healthy and gets back on the field. But time will tell if this is a hiccup or the beginning of an explosion named Mount Parcells.

"There's no question our best thing to do is get him well," Jones said. "I want him out there and would've wanted him to make every practice. I understand that and everyone else does, too. He wants to be out there, too.

"I know this -- when he's healthy, he's going to help us win these ball games."

The Cowboys are winning right now without Owens. They are 3-0 in the preseason for the first time since 1985.

While the competition has been questionable at best -- especially the last two matchups against the Saints and 49ers -- it's hard to argue with the results.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe completed 12 of 17 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers after going 12 of 16 for 156 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints.

And while Bledsoe has to get a feel for Owens, his new No. 1 receiver, Bledsoe showed he still has a strong relationship with receiver Terry Glenn.

Glenn has caught eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns from Bledsoe the last two games.

The Cowboys also feel good about their defense.

The starters have allowed only three points in the preseason and that came in the opener against the Seahawks when they were without two first-teamers, defensive end Marcus Spears and linebacker Akin Ayodele.

Parcells believes his defense has a chance to be good but he says the unit has not been tested enough because they haven't faced any adversity. He said teams have not put together drives against them and they have not played enough snaps.

Of course part of that is because they have been so darn good.

"At the end of the day, we are doing what you want to do," linebacker Bradie James said. "It gives us a boost to our confidence. We wanted to develop an identity. We are trying to develop that swagger. Everybody is seeing what we can become."

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