Bye Week Should Help 'Boys

Three weeks into a season is not a good time for a bye. But the Cowboys have to deal with it. The good news is that it gives time for receiver Terrell Owens to recover from a fractured bone in his right hand.

Originally scheduled to be out two to four weeks, Owens had a plate and three screws inserted into the hand last Monday and is now talking about not missing a game.

The Cowboys play the Titans Oct. 1. What is certain is that he won't miss the much-anticipated return to Philadelphia Oct. 8.

Other than that, the Cowboys would have rather had the bye at another time. Any chance of developing an

identity or any kind of continuity has been set back another week. They are still trying to find out what kind of team they have after two up and down performances.

"I wish we were playing," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "The two things I don't think you have, unless you know a team kind of picked up like they left off, like the Colts came out and hit on all cylinders offensively the first couple of weeks. But I think it's the same thing -- a team teaches itself what it is and it takes a while to do that. Although I'm sure if we had been 0-2 here, the town would have been draped in black and the hearses would have been out, but it's very early for that. I don't think you can look at your season from that perspective this early. If you get nine or eight games down there and you're not doing anything, then you have a right to be worried."

PLAYER NOTES
--K Mike Vanderjagt has been proven right. He is a game kicker, not a practice kicker. Bill Parcells held Vanderjagt out of the season opener partly because he hadn't looked good in practice. He didn't show Parcells much with his inconsistency, despite his status as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Vanderjagt showed Parcells enough with a 50-yard field goal against the Redskins.

"It's just my mentality," he said. "I'm a Sunday guy, or whenever the game is. I just feel like I don't really care if I miss a field goal in practice. It doesn't seem to bother me. I just go out and satisfy what the practice is supposed to do. It's hard enough to get my mind mentally ready on a Sunday, never mind Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday."

--FS Pat Watkins leads the team in tackles with 13 and has been surprisingly good as a rookie starter. But coach Bill Parcells said Watkins is going to get hurt if he doesn't refine the way he tackles.

"He is doing something that is very dangerous in football: He's block tackling," Parcells said, referring to the type of tackle in which a defender dives low to take a ball carrier's legs instead of using his arms to wrap up.

"I've seen more injuries with that technique in this sport. I've seen broken necks, broken clavicles, dislocated shoulders -- just a myriad of injuries with that technique. He did that four times in the (Redskins) game. I told him he was going to have a short career in the NFL if he continued. I told the other defensive backs they should order a coffin for him. Because that's what he'll be doing. It's a very, very dangerous thing to do," Parcells said. "We've tried to speak with him about it. It's just a question of time before he gets hurt, one, and he gives up a long run, the other one. There is nothing good about it. He's putting himself at risk."

--RB Julius Jones had 20 carries for 94 yards against the Redskins. Coach Bill Parcells and running backs coach Anthony Lynn are in agreement that 20 is a good number of carries for Jones. He doesn't avoid contact as well as some other small and shifty backs and they believe they need to limit his carries to preserve him.

--TE Anthony Fasano caught the first three passes of his career in the Cowboys' last outing against the Redskins. Coach Bill Parcells, however, didn't like the way he handled the ball and said he needs to do a better job protecting the football.

--LB Bradie James has come a long way, according to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. James was a fourth round pick in 2003. He didn't play much his first two years before breaking into the starting lineup last year and led the Cowboys in tackles. A perfect fit for the team's new 3-4, James was given a five-year contract extension worth $20 million last week.

"I'm happy for Bradie. He's come a long way and that's really pretty much what I can say about it," Parcells said. "He's developed into a good, solid player. He's a team leader and I'm glad we have him on our team. I think he'll be a great player here for quite some time."

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