The excitement over the first game of the year is almost as palpable as the nervousness going against the Jets. Believe me, I understand, every one of us is beyond ready to see our Boys hit the field after the longest offseason ever. But, there is a lot of worrying going on over the likely scenario of losing our opening game. Let me tell ya, this is one of a few games that if we lose its far from the end of the world. Just like Tyron Smith's knee injury is not the end of the world. However, if we should win, it could mean everything.
It's ok to lose against the Jets this sunday. I'm not going to lie, as soon as the schedule came out and I saw we'd be playing them right off the bat, I certainly penciled in a loss. Theres nothing wrong with that either. The Jets are a tough tough team to have to play much less right out of the gate. They've been to the AFC Championship game the past 2 years, which many have pointed out dozens of times. They probably are at least the 7th best team in the league right now. I don't think anyone should feel bad about losing to a team of that calibre. I mean how many teams wouldn't lose to them in their first game? The basic point is that it should not be unexpected. If we were to lose to anybody the Jets would be a good choice. This is a far cry from our opening game from last year. There were several reasons why I thought the Redskins wouldn't be a very competitive team before the start of last season, and it really showed in that first game. Their offense didn't score a touchdown on us, and their defense was nothing to brag about either. However, losing to a team like that just showed how good we really were going to be that year. It was certainly something to panic about, if you can't beat the Redskins, who can you beat?
Against a team that should have been inferior, the Cowboys were undisciplined. Sure, it might have gotten them down mentally, but more than anything it was a forecast for the 1-7 start that they would meet by midseason. Sloppy play, penalties, it was all there to see. Now, there is something to be said for being competitive while still losing. But, in my opinion that only counts when you're going up against a quality opponent. Having a close game against the 'Skins? That really doesn't give you much to hope for. However, against the Jets, remaining competitive will mean a whole lot.
Obviously the big story out of this game is the Ryan brothers. Moreover, its all about the defenses. The best asset the Jets have is their corners a part of one of the better defenses in the league. For the Cowboys its more about Rob Ryan than the Jets is about Rex. Can the Cowboys stop Mark Sanchez? Well, he's a decent quarterback, but he's got some good receivers. This is an offense I think this defense can beat in general. But, on opening night? Thats really hard to say. I believe this defense will be a work in progress over the season. Its reasonable to think they'll be playing much better by midseason than they will in this first game. I expect them to be competitive, just like the offense, but if they end up being the real cause of us losing this game, I don't think its something to really worry about.
Really the only concern any of us should have about our offense is of course the new, youthful offensive line. Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Felix Jones are all A-OK. Probably more than ok. Like the defense, the OLine will be a work in progress. I fully expect them to get better game over game as the season progresses. There is even the possibility that Tyron Smith misses out on this first game. Unlike a few people, if he does miss the game I think that really does hurt our chances. But, even if he plays and we get beat, how much can we really say about him and the rest of the line? Against one of the better defenses in the league? They will struggle, probably badly at times. But, is that really unexpected in the rookie's first starts of their careers? Oh, but what will a loss do to the mental makeup of our team? Hopefully not much. Jason Garrett holds the reigns, and he will keep them rallied and motivated. Heck, Rob Ryan will too. If Wade were here? They might just lose all hope entirely, I know I would.
Alright, so there's a good chance they lose this game, due to new pieces of this team starting cold. But, what does it mean if they win? A whole lot. Winning this tough game right out of the gate bodes extremely well for this season. Much like losing to the Redskins last year and thinking 'who can they beat?', beating the Jets now should scream the question 'who can't they beat?' If the Cowboys offense overruns their defense, that's going to say a lot about some of the more notable opponents they'll face later this year. Like a certain team who decided they wanted to have some of the best corners in the league. If we outplay Revis, there's all the reason in the world to believe we can do the same to Nnamdi. If our defense manages to hold off Sanchez, there's good reason to think we can do the same to a majority of our opponents this year.
Out of any of our first four opponents before the bye, the Jets are the ones we shouldn't feel bad about losing to. Same goes for most of our games this year really. Who would feel utterly down about their team losing to the Pats? I guess you could say as far as evaluating our team its a low risk, high reward game to play. There seems to be a chicken little mentality floating around here this whole offseason and even up to now as well. Everyone needs to just calm down, take a deep breath and enjoy this game. Win or lose, the Boys will be alright.