The original draft of my FISH on FOOTBALL Cowboys Top Takes for today was so lengthy (NFC East Championship Game victories will do that to a writer) that I'm chopping it up into more easily-consumable bites. Five today, five more tomorrow ... So let's see: Who shall we chew up in the First Five today?
Let's chew on the Eagles' no-result no-huddle ... on how Dallas' December Denial has turned into January Joy ... on how after 17 weeks, the Cowboys' "Who'' is now immaterial ... on how in the world Dallas' safeties covered those receivers ... and on just exactly what Cowboys coach Wade Phillips "deserves'' ...
Chew away. ...
1. My friend Mike Doocy, the outstanding Fox4 sports anchor in Dallas, led his Sunday night telecast with a pronouncement that the win over the Eagles "earns'' coach Wade Phillips the right to stay.
"He deserves to be back in 2010,'' Doocy said.
Not only is it too early to make such a declaration ... such a declaration is wobbly in its foundation.
There is no "deserves.'' Not in football. There is "deserves'' in the Bible, there is "deserves'' in mythology and there is "deserves'' in fairy tales, where the Big Bad Wolf gets cooked into the chili while Hansel becomes the CEO of a gingerbread company and while and Gretel ends up bedding Brad Pitt.
Gosh, I wished it worked that way! I know I personally deserve to be more wealthy and more handsome.
But in real life ... in football life ... nobody gets to "deserve'' anything.
I wrote this years ago about Reggie White, when he was in the Super Bowl with Green Bay and America rooted for him because he "deserved'' a championship: Why doesn't Bruce Armstrong "deserve'' one? Because he's an offensive tackle and nobody's ever heard of him?
No, Wade should be brought back for one reason and one reason only: Not because he was the right guy on one day in 2010, but rather because he's the right guy for all 365 days of 2010.
2. We saw some no-huddle out of both teams on Sunday, and you know what the only problem with the no-huddle is? If you aren't successful, the no-huddle gets you nowhere ... fast.
Little wonder Dallas controlled the clock for 40-plus here. At some point, the Eagles probably wished they could huddle up. ... and just remain curled up there until the bus arrived.
3. I'm sure it won't be quite this elementary next week, but is it really that simple to keep a lid on the boiling pot that is DeSean Jackson? He runs a post, Ken Hamlin or Gerald Sensabaugh run with him, and a flustered Donovan McNabb fails to see that such a matchup is rather advantageous for Philly?
4. This item isn't about Roy Williams.
It's about somebody.
I've said it in this space before and now I have proof that I was correct: It doesn't necessarily matter if Roy performs. It only matters that somebody does.
That goes for 17 weeks worth of questions and worries and doubts and speculation and hope and prayers and prognostications. How are we gonna get Tashard Choice in there? Is Mike Jenkins good enough to start? When is DeMarcus Ware going to rack up some sack numbers?
Don't we see now - now that 17 weeks are behind us - that the "who'' doesn't matter? That only the "what'' matters?
Somebody was going to win the cornerback job. Somebody was going to have to make plays in the defensive front. And somebody was going to have to catch the football.
Somebody is catching the football. As of Sunday, lots of somebodies, actually. Just not the certain somebody.
I was just talking to a football man from Minnesota who was essentially scouting Dallas on Sunday and he said if the Vikings meet the Cowboys in the postseason, Minnesota's No. 1 defensive focus will be Miles Austin. Meanwhile, Jason Witten had gone 14 weeks without a touchdown pass, seemed unbothered by it as he piled up move-the-chains catches, and then against the Eagles did both - chain-moving and scoring. Patrick Crayton was big on Sunday. Kevin Ogletree seemed to have a play designed just for him. MB3 and Felix both seemed uncoverable coming out of the backfield. ...
Lots of somebodies.
At this moment, who gets paid what is completely immaterial. If the Cowboys beat the Eagles this Saturday night and they do it because Mat McBriar completes a last-second, game-winning 99-yard underhanded pass to Bobby Carpenter ... it's all good.
5. What do you say we see the forest from the trees?
As much as we all focused on Dallas' December Denial - and it was in the Cowboys' collective noggin, too, so good for them that they performed DIY brain surgery - nobody in the mainstream is paying much attention to what they just accomplished in the ensuing month.
The "NFC East Championship Game'' victory over the Eagles snaps a Cowboys' seven-game losing streak in January.
So there goes another jinx ... that nobody even knew about!
Now, next up comes the fact that the Cowboys haven't won two games in January since 1996, when they won Super Bowl XXX. But that's a concern for another day. ...