About Face

The Cowboys don't need to over think things. They need to play to their strengths. They've thrived on the pass and supplemented with the run, and there's absolutely no reason to change things up now.

Word has it Cowboys' equipment guru Mike McCord has been instructed to remove all face masks from the teams' helmets and replace them with Janus masks for Saturday's trip to Charlotte. Janus masks may not ring a bell with the football aficionados, but the theatre buffs are very familiar with the Greek symbols. A tribute to Dionysus, the god of carnivals and masquerades, these famous face plates represent comedy and tragedy. Come on people, did you really think the soap opera-like atmosphere was going to completely escape the 2007 campaign?

It's the Dallas Cowboys. As soon as the final gun sounded in Sunday's debacle against the never-say-die Philadelphia Eagles, Chicken Little came rolling into town on a freight train.

Not only was the sky falling, but the month of December was tumbling right along with it. That chicken-carting freight train completely mowed over the Dallas Cowboys during their game of charades out at Texas Stadium. The masses clamored, "Who are you, and what did you do with our football team?" Better yet, "Who cast the spell on our quarterback?" It turns out the entire play was orchestrated by Green Bay insurgents operating under the code name "Simpson."

Timing is everything, and the Cowboys' could not be worse. The "clunker" had to come, but why now? It would have been palatable in late October, but Lord forbid, not the second weekend in December. Surely, you jest?!

Oh, contraire. In what has become an eerie and unsettling trend, the Cowboys have started their December backstroke. There's nothing like swimming uphill against a pressing Packers' current. Two road games remain, and if the 12-2 Cowboys want to do things the hard way, then bring it on. The world gets to see just how resilient this bunch can be, and just to make matters more interesting, mix in a few injuries to spice things up.


Chicken Little is here, and oh look, he's brought friends. It wouldn't be the Dallas Cowboys without a little drama during the holiday season. Sunday's crowd leaving Texas Stadium looked like a flock from Bedford Falls headed straight for George Bailey's Building and Loan. With complete withdrawal in mind, they were looking to cash it all in. The "gett'n" was almost too good, and when things diverted south, all hell broke loose. The filming of "Days of Our Boys" just concluded for the week, so a recap of the script, plot and scenarios at hand might prove worthy right about now.

What are at hand are an apparent misinformed head coach, a personally-named, suspension producing, and oft-repeated, debilitating tackle, an ill-advised wide receiver looking to grab some of the glory ride, a back-up to the Horse Collared with a rolled, punt return covering ankle, a starting Pro Bowl, air mail snapping, girth-providing center with a trick knee, a run-abandoning, aerial bombing, lost-his-mind, whiz-kid offensive coordinator, the production-curtailed, stand-up jokester, truth-bearing, slow boiling, super star playmaker, and the "working it" blonde hour glass, thumb up his you-know-what quarterback. How's that for the cast of this week's "The Fledgling and the Restless?" As if that wasn't enough, the entire production is backed by a stage crew of 11 soon-to-be lei'd Hawaiian Island invitees.

Who said Dallas wasn't the place to be? Saturday night should be fun.

Regardless of weekly improvement, Tony Romo should be shut down for the Carolina game. Why immediately risk what has been accomplished to date for a stab at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs? Isn't this the self-proclaimed, one step at a time Dallas Cowboys? What good will home-field throughout be without a healthy, starting quarterback? This just in; Brad Johnson is more than capable, and at last glance, he's won a few games in this League. He can navigate this team to a win while grabbing some very valuable playing time in the process. Who doesn't want a back-up with a game under his belt heading into the playoffs?

If Romo starts, the Cowboys are playing with fire.

It's step-up time for a few, limited-action players. It'll be interesting to see how the replacements perform when the lights come on. Face it; this is what they work for everyday, busting their humps in practice. The coaches fully expect, and rightfully so, there to be no drop off in performance or production. Proctor, Davis, Brown, Jones and a slew of special teamers get to show their wears on the national stage. Time to show the world why you have those stars on each side of your helmet. Regardless of the time of year, testing depth of a ball club is always a good thing. From both a players and coaches' vantage point, it breeds confidence.

New kids on the block. Bring it on.

The kids and the Boys must become road warriors. Twice more. They're perfect away from home, and it's no time to stop that trend now. Carolina has been a favorable regular season venue throughout the years, and there's no reason it shouldn't continue. The Cowboys are double-digit road favorites, possess the fourth ranked run defense in the League, face a rookie, third-string quarterback with whom they're familiar and possess the knowledge that it all starts and stops by taking away the opposition's #89. So, what's not to like?

If the Cowboys lose the game against the Panthers, then the Chicken goes on the ballot for mayor. The Cowboys simply cannot allow this happen.

Calling Dr. Jeckyle. Calling Dr. Jeckyle. Mr. Hyde made an untimely and ugly appearance Sunday, and it's mandatory his offensive-minded alter ego returns on Saturday. How? Feed the beast. The beast must be fed. He has gone hungry for two solid weeks, and the hunger pains are starting to show. Quite simply, Terrell Owens must be an integral, production-oriented, game-changing cog in this game. The Cowboys must find a way to get him the ball. Easier said than done, but they have no choice. No questions asked, he's the focal point of Saturday's contest. Anything short of dominance and the frustrations are going to boil over.

Feed the beast.

The Cowboys don't need to over think things. They need to play to their strengths. They've thrived on the pass and supplemented with the run, and there's absolutely no reason to change things up now. Keep dancing with the partner that brought you to the floor. The Cowboys are explosive and built for scoring. Here's to keeping it that way. Teams don't change philosophies in crunch time. Somehow, some way they need to revert back to their pre-Philly ways. Just get back to playing their brand of football.

The rest will take care of itself.

Adversity and distractions are part of the game and can play positive roles from time to time. One fact remains, and every Dallas Cowboys fan, especially those raising the Jessica Simpson issue, must remember the position of Dallas Cowboys' quarterback is, in and of itself, a distraction. By nature. Always has been, always will be. There's never a moment when the spotlight dims or the scrutiny subsides.

Its part of the territory and the job description calls for being able to handle it. If Tony Romo couldn't handle it, regardless of issue or topical matter, there's absolutely no reason for him to be under center. If he couldn't handle any and all situations, he shouldn't be the quarterback. It's that simple. Tony Romo is a competitor, and he will do what it takes to win. Tony Romo is also a human being and needs to live his life as he chooses. He'll be just fine.

It's highly unfortunate Ms. Simpson has had to endure the insults and shoulder some of the blame. It also goes with her celebrity territory, but the fan reaction to her apparent involvement with the Philly meltdown has been sophomoric at best. She, like any fan, has every right in the world to take in a Cowboys game. Could there be an inner desire to perform well when someone you like is in the house to see you and your teammates play? Wouldn't you? Every player wants to please those who support their performance. It's human nature. Tony, and Tony's girl are just fine. Let them live their lives.

Well, there's certainly no shortage of headlines or subplots heading into Saturday's Charlotte showdown. If this week has been any indication of things to come, you might want to pull up a chair and get your popcorn ready. When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, you don't want to miss a minute of the action, on or off the field.

Places people. Places everyone. We're back in 5…4…3…2 Wait, where's Witten? Jason Witten to the set please. Witten, we need you front and center. Now! Lights, camera, action……

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