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JJ is good, defense is "pretty good"?

Todd Archer turns in a very nice effort on a Julius Jones article I especially like the opening, it has a certain literary ring to it.

Look at Julius Jones' eyes, not his legs. They dart from left to right, back to front. A mental picture is taken before the snap.

He knows where every Houston defensive lineman is. He sees the linebackers staring back at him. He knows the cornerbacks are playing press coverage on the Cowboys' receivers. At the last moment before the snap, he sees safety C.C. Brown move deeper to the middle of the field.

As Jones takes the handoff, the pile of 300-pounders punishing other 300-pounders becomes a blur. He doesn't so much see N.D. Kalu flash past him, along with left guard Kyle Kosier, as sense it.

Jones' eyes are focused down the field, at Texans middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who took two steps to the right and is now easily pinned by Andre Gurode.

By the time Jason Babin brings him down with an ankle tackle, Jones has picked up 11 yards.

The play, the Cowboys' first in their 34-6 win last Sunday, took a little more than four seconds.


The Cowboys defense is something of an enigma. Their stats are pretty good in some areas, not so good in others. They beat up on the bad teams, but have breakdowns against the good ones. Hence, they are the "pretty good" defense, according to Mac Engel.

Who they are right now, statistically, is the sixth-best defense in the NFL. No. 1 against the run, too.

But -- and the Cowboys admit this themselves -- the numbers are asterisk-laden. It's what the Cowboys do against the good offenses. And the good offenses are coming. The fantasy football players are coming.

Eli Manning and Tiki Barber. Steve Smith. Anquan Boldin. Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister. Michael Vick. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Donovan McNabb (again).

"This is as good a week to measure yourself how good you can be," Glenn said. "If you look at this stretch of game coming up, there are some pretty good offenses. This week is an important week for the defense to really show what we can do."

This is what they have done: Beat up Tennessee quarterback Vince Young in his debut as a starter. Beat up Washington minus Clinton Portis and made Mark Brunell look older than he really is, which is old. And slapped around the Houston Texans.

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