1. The most hoary cliché about the goals of preseason games is to avoid injury (of course, that begs the question: Why the hell play four of ‘em?). Well, Dallas did not achieve that goal on Friday and sent two fellas to the weekend MRI machine: starting left guard Kyle Kosier (sprained foot) and second-year receiver Isaiah Stanback (shoulder).
The result: Kosier will miss six weeks. Stanback is a wait-and-see.
The Cowboys can survive the Stanback injury. But to think that the presence of Joe Berger or Pat McQuistan might allow Dallas to survive any Kosier problem is Pollyannaish.
One view from the Dallas Morning News is that the loss of potential third-string receiver Stanback is more crucial than the loss of a first-string blocker on Dallas' fine O-line. I guess I need to get out to training camp more, because I don't really understand that.
2. But once again: Now that these guys essentially play football all year around. … four preseason games? Really?
3. Quarterback Tony Romo looked at his most comfortable – and why not, now that he owns a home just down the street from Texas Stadium – leading the Cowboys offense to 266 first-half yards.
His lone error? Cowboys at the 1-yard line. Nobody's open. Tony on the move. And he pulls a Favresque boner, trying to look one way and throw another. Interception.
Tony, that stuff is fun when you are the third-string guy running the scout team in practice. And Favre made it seem like a viable way to win real games. But it is largely unnecessary on this Dallas squad.
Cut it out.
4. People With Too Little To Do, Chapter I: Anybody (Texans included) who think the Cowboys tried too hard to execute with the first-teamers, tried to hard to win.
Said Dallas coach Wade Phillips: "It was one of those games that you needed to turn it on. I thought everybody was right on that we needed to be able to turn it on and I think we did.''
Third preseason game. That's what teams always do.
As I write this, it is Saturday night. I'm watching the Steelers-Vikings practice game, and on multiple occasions Pittsburgh is lining up runner Willie Parker as a shotgun quarterback. They're including some no-huddle stuff. Oh, and on defense, they are utilizing what is essentially a one-man front to disguise their pass-rush intentions.
Why? Third preseason game. They need to get themselves ready. They needed to turn it on.
5. People With Too Little To Do, Chapter II: Why are you grousing because Felix Jones didn't play enough in the first half? MB3 got his work in the first half (75 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries). His backup, the rookie Felix, got his work in the second half. What's wrong with that?
6. I hate CBS' coverage of the NFL. It's all so cookie-cutter, so redundant. (Once the studio team is involved and it's a big game, we'll get the bored musings of Dan Marino AND Boomer Esiason AND Phil Simms. Three old QBs, all from the same generation, all with similar insights (if any at all). …
We got Simms for the Cowboys-Texans telecast, and he was less energetic than usual. As if to pick up the slack, play-by-play guy Ian Eagle (real name?) tried to create fake excitement. I appreciate the effort, I guess, Ian, but do you really need to scream "Touchdown!'' as soon as an preseason Texan gets his hands on a ball anywhere near an end zone? Especially when a half-second later the officials will rule it non-catch?
7. Led by Marcus Spears – really! – the Dallas defense was at its best. Houston was limited to six total yards on its first three series.
8. Nick Folk was terrific again, 3-of-3 on field goals. Dallas' coverage unit, though, continues to be problematic, keeping the overall special-teams grade at an unacceptable low.
9. I can't let these notes pass without mentioning the passing of two NFL linemen acquaintances. In the last few days we've lost Raiders great Gene Upshaw and late 90's Cowboys center Frank Cornish. Upshaw was a fantastic player, a Hall-of-Famer, who became a subject of controversy late in his career because some questioned his long-standing leadership of the NFL Players Association. Cornish was a solid center, Troy Aikman's snapper at UCLA and then Mark Stepnoski's replacement in Dallas. Frank's claim to fame? Aikman used to joke that the center perspired so much that the football he delivered between his legs always arrived wet.
Cornish was 40. Upshaw was 63. I don't know about sweat or about controversy. I just know about my many dealings with both men. And I am saddened by their deaths.
10. The Governor's Cup, eh? Yippee. I hope it doesn't mind eventually moving its lame ass out of the Cowboys' trophy case to make room for some meaningful hardware.
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