Man, you go to work and don't check the internet for a couple of hours, and all perdition breaks loose.
If you haven't been on the site or checking NFL headlines since about 1 pm CDT on Wednesday, let me break it to you gently: Tyron Smith and Mike Jenkins left Cowboys practice today with knee injuries. Neither appear to be serious, both are getting MRIs, and no final word has come out (as of my writing this). Early indications are that Jenkins is day-to-day and Smith may have hyper-extended his knee, with a possible 2 to 4 weeks missed.
[Ed. Note]: We got a sorta update to add. Matt Mosley tweets some encouraging news: Both Mike Jenkins and Tyron Smith have a "real shot" at playing if their knees look OK in the morn, according to a source. [End Note]
The news of the injuries, pre-Mosley tweet, led to immediate rending of garments, despair, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as various and sundry posters declared that the season opener against the New York Jets was now a guaranteed loss and the season was pretty much toast.
I don't know. Maybe it is the past decade and a half of frustration that creates such a dark emotional pit for Cowboys fans when bad news arrives. But is this really the season ending catastrophe some say it is? While I certainly don't look at this as good news, I am not comparing it to the sinking of the Titanic or the Death Star coming into range. It is a test for the Cowboys, particularly for Jason Garrett, Rob Ryan, Hudson Houck, the other defensive backs, and the Yuglies on the offensive line.
Let's stop, relax a moment, and look at what has happened and what it may mean. Many of these comments are much the same as others reflected in the previous post by KD. This is a chance to think a little bit about injuries, football, and our passion for the Cowboys.
Besides, the comment thread on KD's post is up to like 4,328, so it takes forever to load. Here's a new one to talk about this on.
First, we aren't sure that either Smith or Jenkins is out of the Jets game. It already is looking like Jenkins may be able to go. And I saw a comment moments ago reporting that Brian Broaddus has reported that both MRIs are normal and will be checked in the morning, so maybe the sun really will come up tomorrow.
But why did so many automatically assume that this was instant doom for the season? Mike has been hurt all preseason, and I have been looking at him as a 50/50 proposition. Maybe he plays, maybe not. If he does start Sunday, that is no guarantee he will last. And what does that do?
Well, Orlando Scandrick gets to prove he is worth a $25 million pay raise. And Alan Ball gets to prove last year was a result of being used out of position, not a lack of ability or desire. Rob Ryan gets to prove he can coach this defense and put pressure on Mark Sanchez, taking a little of the heat off the secondary. And Gerald Sensabaugh and Abram Elam get to show us that the safeties are better this year than last.
Yes, there can be some issues involved. But I keep going back to the preseason video I saw of the Jets' first team offense. I was not exactly scared of them. They showed an ability to get points off of turnovers - about half the time. Looking back quickly, I think they got four interceptions handed to them, and got 10 points out of them. And had six consecutive failed third down conversions. Against Cincinnati and a depleted Giants defense.
Flip over to the offense. Say Tyron isn't ready to go, and the Cowboys have to roll with Jermey Parnell. Big, raw, converted basketball player. Will he really give the Cowboys less in that position than Alex Barron last year? Or Flozell Adams if he was brought in now? (Yes, that is being talked up by some. I think seriously.)
Maybe I am just hopelessly overdosed on Kool Aid, but I don't think this line is worse, even with Parnell at RT, than the line that opened the season last year. And I think Tony Romo and the skill players are much more ready to go than they were a year ago. Again, I know it was just preseason, but I saw a Dallas team that was starting to click. I think Miles Austin is ready. Dez Bryant is definitely ready. Felix Jones is absolutely ready. Jason Witten is Jason By God Witten.
And I think Tony Romo has a chip on his shoulder. He is thinking about the unending talk about his leadership skills, the work he put into the player practices, and the opportunity he has with Jason Garrett as his coach. I think he is going to go into the huddle and tell the Yugles, "Just slow them down. We'll do the rest."
I am not going to guarantee a win Sunday. I know there are a lot of potential pitfalls, and the injuries didn't help a thing. But I also have seen people talking for months about how tough this game was going to be. The Jets are a preseason favorite to at least get into the playoffs. Rex Ryan is all genius like and knows his brother and all. (And I'm sure the Andrew Sendejo signing was all about him being the best player to fit their needs.) The point is, a lot of people had figured before the season that this game was likely to be in the loss column anyway. So why was the world ending if it wound up a L after some injuries? Injuries that might put a player or two out for 2 to 4 weeks?
Injuries are going to happen. Usually, it seems, where you can least afford them, although so much of the time that is just perception. We still have Garrett coaching. The man who turned the team around with Jon Kitna as quarterback and people like Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and Andre Gurode on the line. You know, the guys that weren't good enough to beat out Phil Costa, Bill Nagy, David Arkin, Tyron Smith or Jermey Parnell.
Guys, the fat lady ain't even gotten into New Jersey yet. Let's play the game before we decide to revoke our materialistic lives and enter monasteries in our grief.
Now relax. Go here for a while. Feel better. And pull for the Cowboys to win.
They still can.