'Boys-Vikings: Who's Hot? Who's Not?

Some "Hots" and some "Nots" from Dallas' 23-14 loss to the Vikings Thursday night in Minnosota.

NOT: The entire concept of a fourth preseason game is a major Not. Of the Cowboys' 22 projected regulars, 16 either didn't play, didn't dress or didn't even make the trip. There is something. … I dunno. … undignified about it. Way more undignified than, say, Mark Cuban on ‘Dancing With The Stars.' Early on, legendary voice Brad Sham actually posed the question, "What are we doing here?''

HOT: One backup job was almost certainly won: Third-string tight end Tony Curtis (a team-best five catches for 44 yards and a TD) ended the summer-long wait for a true standout behind Witten and Fasano.

HOT AND NOT: I'm trying to be patient here in evaluating the Cowboys' injury situation. (I'm open-minded enough to wonder if maybe Michael Vick is simply a cat person?) But the Cowboys say Terry Glenn's injury problem is minor. … but I'm still told to cross my fingers about him being available for the Giants. Meanwhile, the Cowboys say Terence Newman could've played last night if needed. … but he didn't even go to the Twin Cities with the team.

The availability of Glenn and Newman greatly overshadow any other summer storyline.

HOT: Here's what passes for "competition'' at this point: Who will be the No. 6 wide receiver? Miles Austin can play on special teams and contributed three catches for 37 yards – and that's not counting to big gainers that were erased by flags. Still, he couldn't out-do Jerheme Urban, who pitched in with a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown (and, for good measure, caught four passes for 18 yards).

NOT: Things were almost laid out for rookie Nick Folk to win the kicking job. Martin Gramatica had gotten hurt. Thursday night was all about Folk. But unfortunately for him, the Cowboys' offense didn't play well enough to give him a showcase for many kickoffs or for any field goals. Hey, these things happen; when Tom Brady became a father, do you ever think he forsaw his baby mama naming the kid "Jet''? (Which is kinda like Roger Staubach naming his sons "Eagle,'' "Giant'' and "Redskin.'') Now, the Cowboys may be stuck keeping two kickers. Which just isn't the way you want it laid out.

HOT: ESPN has some anomymous scout who says Tony Romo is the team's "weakness.'' With all due respect: Exactly a year ago, Romo was playing a full preseason game against Seattle in an attempt to justify his presence as a never-used reserve. Now he's sitting out an entire game because his readiness for the regular season is absolutely pivotal to Dallas' success. If Romo is this team's biggest "weakness,'' the Cowboys must be pretty damn good.

NOT: There are different kinds of "sloppy.'' There is "sloppy'' as in "drunk-driving'' sloppy. And then there is the story of Bill Murray getting a DUI on the streets of Sweden while driving (wait for it). … a golf cart! Not very dangerous sloppy, you know? That's how I'll characterize the Cowboys' five turnovers here. Sloppy? Yeah. And they did lead to 17 Minny points. But with the culprits being scrub QBs Richard Bartel and Matt Moore, this wasn't "dangerous sloppy.'' This was "Cinderella Story In a Golf Cart'' sloppy.

NOT: NBA whistleblower Tim Donaghy has a wife and a mistress, which gives new meaning to the NBA refs' recent switch to "three-person crews.'' Unless you are in love with Nate Jones making a singular impressive tackle, the Cowboys have their own three-person crew serving as the fourth cornerback. T-Newman, get healthy soon.

HOT: The Cowboys keep trying to find a D-line spot for Stephen Bowen, and he did his best to play along by performing well as a starting defensive end.

HOT: Yes, there have been times in this space when I've wondered if Bill Parcells was any smarter than Miss Teen South Carolina. But credit the coaching staff (and yes, talent assembler Parcells, too) for putting together a team that entered this game with no real decisions to make regarding the starting 22. The Giants game is the first step to confirming that the Cowboys – under Parcells and now Wade Phllips – have come a long way since the perennial 5-11's.

CowboysHQ Top Stories