'Boys Clicking on All Cylinders

Much has been made about the breath of fresh air Wade Phillips has brought to the franchise this year.

Whatever it is he's bringing to the team, the primary reason behind the Cowboys' 4-0 start is debatable, but there is no question the Cowboys are enjoying themselves with Phillips compared to the past four seasons under coach Bill Parcells.

Not only are the Cowboys having fun winning, but they are allowed to have fun. And that is not just following blowout victories. It's in practice and meeting rooms.

It started in minicamp and continued in training camp. The Cowboys have just carried it on the regular season.

Phillips doesn't want to take credit, but he acknowledges that sometimes a change in coaches and a change atmosphere can have positive benefits.

"Sometimes players respond well. I saw that in Houston early in my career," said Phillips, who was with his father, Bum, on an Oilers staff that replaced the more rigid Sid Gillman. "And it goes the other way. Some guy is too soft and they get rid of him and bring in a disciplinarian who does the job. There are all types of coaches and lots of ways to get it done."

Phillips' way is getting it done with the Cowboys and they are responding.

"Because he's been that type of coach," wide receiver Patrick Crayton explained. "With him, there's never any yelling. He never berates you. He's always in your corner. It's just more upbeat around here. We are all happy. We are having fun."

PLAYER NOTES
--WR Terrell Owens had three receptions against the Rams to pass Steve Largent (819) and move into 13th place on the NFL's all-time receptions List. He is now seven catches shy of Larry Centers for 12th place all-time. Owens is also just 69 yards behind Charlie Joiner for 13th place on the league's All-Time Receiving Yards List.

--WR Patrick Crayton led the team against the Rams with career-highs in receptions (seven), receiving yards (184) and touchdowns (two). All seven of his catches went for first downs, five of those came on touchdown drives. The 184 yards marked his second career 100-yard outing, which surpassed his previous career-high 104 yards at Arizona (11/15/06). It also was the 14th best single-game receiving yardage total in club history and was the most since Terry Glenn posted 150 yards against New Orleans (12/10/06).

--QB Tony Romo passed for 339 yards against the Rams. He became the 10th quarterback in club history to reach 4,000 career passing yards. It was the second-highest passing output of his career behind the 345 yards in the season opener against the N.Y. Giants. Romo has now thrown for 300 or more yards in four of his last five starts -- including his 321-yard performance in the 2006 season finale -- and for six times in his career. His six 300-yard games places him fourth in club annals for 300-yard games.

--RB Marion Barber was held out of the end zone against the Rams, snapping a streak of four consecutive games with a rushing score. His streak of touchdowns in five straight road games will be put to the test this week at Buffalo.

--DE Marcus Spears had his best game of the season against the Rams. It was a long time coming since Spears popped off following the departure of Bill Parcells last year. Spears blamed Parcells' conservative schemes for lack impactful play since coming to the Cowboys as a first round pick 2005.

"He had half a sack on the sack, but he hit the quarterback about three times when he was throwing the ball," coach Wade Phillips said. "He had about three hurries. He had a tackle for a loss, those kind of things. He really hustled to the ball. He really played all out. That's what I thought he could do. And that's what he's done."

--CB Jacques Reeves was a question mark coming into the season when he was forced into action because of an injury to Terence Newman. So far he has been the glue to the cornerback position. Newman missed the first two games with torn right plantar fascia. Now Anthony Henry could be sidelined from two to four weeks with a high ankle sprain. Meanwhile, the formally unproven Reeves, who had one career start in four years before 2007, is starting for the fifth straight week. He is coming off his best game of the season against the Rams. Coach Wade Phillips said he has gotten better and more confident with each passing game.

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