The debacle on the Sunday night national stage has been replaced with giddiness over end zone terraces and exterior JumboTron screens. While the unveiling ceremony was crafted months in advance, it couldn't have come at a better time. Instead of rehashing Sunday night's box score, treat yourselves to the virtual tour of "Jerry World." Click here and enjoy Fantasy Island.
Now that you've picked out your seats and are planning for the 2009 tailgate party, let's get back to the monumental tasks at hand. No, you can never pick and choose your wins and losses in the NFL, but last Sunday was not the time or place to lay an egg. When it's all said and done, the Cowboys, should they beat Atlanta Saturday night, would surely trade an Atlanta loss for a New Orleans win. Oh well, that's the way the ball bounces, especially in December. Consider it an opportunity squandered. Not to mention both Philly and the Giants went on the road to secure victories putting each right back into the fray.
Nice job Parcells. Sure, there was plenty of blame to ration to the masses, but the onus starts and stops with the head coach. He continues to exude Teflon and deflect responsibility. The street term is "dissed," and not only dissed, Parcells was faced and completely undressed. The de-pantsing courtesy of Sean Payton and his Saintly friends. The clinic was open, and it was the student administering the "take your medicine" lesson to all those in silver and blue. A wake up call of the highest order, and it came with a 2x4 to the head box. New blood meets Old School. Advantage Coach of the Year.
See what happens when a steady diet of your own press clippings is ingested regularly? Especially the ones promoting you as the NFC's team to beat. Not even the Rex Grossman flawed Bears were going to stop the mighty Bill Parcells' machine. My, oh my, what a difference a week in the NFL makes. Honestly, prior to the Saints game, ESPN's own Mike (Greenberg) and Mike (Golic) had the Cowboys as occupants of the #1 seat in the NFC power rankings, and a mere 7 days later, they are #4, possibly #5. Indeed, what have you done for me lately?
Was it mentioned to the masses a few weeks back not to lose sight of Tony Romo being human? Well, the cape and blue tights were put in mothballs Sunday evening. The only thing super in Texas Stadium was the continued play of the NFC starting quarterback in Honolulu and some rookie from USC. Hey, Bob McNair and Charlie Casserly, beautifully done. Yes, Houston, we have a problem. Reggie Bush and home grown Vince Young passed over in favor of Mario Williams?! Enjoy your permanent seats in the AFC South basement. Cowboys' faithful can only hope Romo rebounds to pre-Saints stature. He doesn't have to be Tampa Bay good, but he must rise to the occasion in the Georgia Dome.
Michael Vick and the Dirty Birds await the Cowboys' arrival. The Falcons need to run the table to have a shot at post season play. Atlanta is a city with college atmosphere and preference. With the Falcons' contest being a Saturday night game, the Dome will be rocking. The Cowboys need to prepare themselves as if they are jumping from one bomb fire to another. A cake walk this will not be. In case no one has noticed, and this certainly includes you Mike Zimmer, the absence of Greg Ellis is in direct proportion to the Flozell Adams' departure of last year. You don't view either as good or dominate enough until they're no longer around. The Cowboys have no edge pressure whatsoever.
If Ware gets to the quarterback, it's by sheer will and monumental physical abilities. Payton and Gary Gibbs completely neutralized DeMarcus Ware, and the rest is history. Without any edge rush and pressure, and the opposing signal caller is allowed to get to 4 Mississippi untouched, his receivers are deep into the third layer of the defense, and when safeties are called upon to batten the hatches, it's virtually abandon ship time. Scream and yell all you want about Roy Williams, but it all starts up front. No pressure, no chance.
Remember when it was year after bloody year trying to find the right defensive end in the Draft? Guess what the 2007 Draft plan better include? Ware and Ellis had the potential, but if the Cowboys stand firm in their commitment to the 3-4, they must find talent outside capable of producing Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert-like results. It has to come from both sides, and containment in paramount. Especially Saturday. So Zim, is pressure coming, a spy being dedicated to Vick or will he be allowed to free lance and improvise? If the latter, someone make sure Romo's super hero outfit was gathered from the dry cleaners and put the Tuna Boat on an EKG for monitoring purposes.
If all this weren't enough coming down the stretch, the organization continues to side step, soft shoe and tip toe around their less-than-stable, $25M Roberto Duran darning the #81 costume. Not sure who was more appalling on ESPN's Sunday conversation, but the nausea hasn't quite yet subsided in these parts. Regardless of who gets most the blame, suffice it to say both Owens and The Playmaker were pathetic parrots.
The Cowboys' refusal to muzzle Owens is complete negligence. Can you say being played like a fiddle? Strumming on the ol' banjo. Parcells' assistants aren't allowed to open their proverbial traps to anyone, right? So, why not shut off the spigots of the flowing idiot disguising himself as a professional wide receiver? "Going through the motions?" How about going through the exit door? As in here's your pink slip. Now give back that damn uniform. It's reserved for players, not pretenders. You ungrateful, self-absorbed jack ass. Want the ball? Run the route! See, Lil "T," chapter two of that Island of the Misfit Toys book of yours is wrong. It's not take and take, its give and take. Remind us, was it "Lil "T" Learns to Share," or "Lil "T" is a spare?"
You sure don't have to be a rocket scientist or a defensive coordinator to know when Owens' number hasn't been called. Queue his non-verbals when breaking the huddle. It was muttered to a great friend Sunday night in Texas Stadium, "Well, we know who's not getting this ball." Without further insight, questions or exchanges, we both completely grasped the conveyance without explanation. Listen, the circus is always looking for acts. Here's their card. They probably don't pay as much, but your presence next to the bearded lady is much more appropriate than running opposite a real wide receiver.
With the clown show out of the way, Saturday's theme is resiliency and the ability to forget. Like a great corner, you have to put the last one behind you. Can the Cowboys do it? That heavy breathing from behind is not the Hilton/Spears duo, but actually belongs to Garcia's Eagles and Manning's Giants. Everyone running up the same slippery slope known as the NFC East. One misstep and a slide to the bottom is forthcoming. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the two square off this weekend, and someone is taking a step back. If the Cowboys cannot keep pace, they'll be walking hand in hand with the Giants vs. Eagles winner down the NFC East aisle. And that hand, the upper one, goes to the team possessing the best division record. Guess who it ain't?
Rule No. 1: Win the division.
What a difference a week makes. It really isn't time to look back, but the disgrace of last Sunday could be one haunting memory by the time Detroit arrives later this month to close out matters. Will the real contender please step up?! Saturday night is the biggest "swing" game in the NFC this week. Time will tell if the memories are short or the funk still lingers. Notice to all Teflon-clad personnel, you can run, but you can't hide. Its high time Parcells and Owens traded in "not me" for "it's about we."
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