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Valley Ranch is a volatile mix

Todd Archer hits on some of the exact themes I've hinted at in my post-Eagles game posts.

That win against the Colts isn't so impressive now that Indianapolis has lost four of its last six games. The win at Carolina doesn't look so good considering the Panthers are on the outside of the playoff chase with only a slight chance of getting in. And the hard-fought, grinder of a victory at the Meadowlands on Dec. 3 doesn't look so mighty when you figure in the Giants have lost six of their last seven games.

When I said maybe it's just better competition for Tony Romo and the Cowboys, this is what I meant. A lot of what we did mid-season now turns out to be against teams that were not very good, but had inflated expectations. Now, the Colts are still a good team, but they've lost a few games lately and their defense was always a flaw for them. That game might've been the Cowboys finest moment on defense. New Orleans and Philadelphia are good football teams right now, when it really counts.

Next, turnovers, specifically Romo.

Since tying a team record with five touchdown passes vs. Tampa Bay on Thanksgiving, Romo has been intercepted seven times and thrown only four touchdowns. Monday marked the first time all season the Cowboys failed to score 17 points in a game.

Romo has been shaky the past month. He's still good, but he can't do it alone, and with his offense sputtering at times, he may be pressing a little.

Then there's the defense, which is revealed by these damning stats.

Since beating the Colts, the defense has fallen from No. 4 in the NFL to 12th. A run defense that was once ranked No. 1 in the NFL is now ninth and has allowed two 100-yard rushers in the last three games. The pass defense has slipped to 22nd in the league.

Ouch. There's no escaping that.

And finally, the big theme - these Cowboys just aren't ready for the big time. I wrote a whole post about this subject, in their two biggest games, the Cowboys have played awful. They don't know how to win the defining games yet.

In two of their last three games - both at Texas Stadium - with a chance to prove they can be a difference maker in the NFC, the only statement the Cowboys made was that they are not yet worthy.

Tim Cowlishaw captures the frustration of the fan.

Whenever the Cowboys lose a big game, fans want to know why the coaches didn't have the team prepared, why the game plan (so obviously) stunk, why the lack of passion and zeal was demonstrated.

And when the opponents win, naturally, they are a team playing with passion and purpose, demonstrating the ultimate chemistry and camaraderie.

Jerry Jones on Terrell Owens.

"I'm not OK with his production, everything relative," Jones said on his Tuesday morning radio show on KTCK-AM (1310). "One of the things that happens [is] when you got a receiver that does a great job with run after the catch, those receivers usually have more drops than possession-type receivers that don't do much after the catch."

Owens has 346 yards after a catch, seventh among receivers and 20th overall.

"T.O. had drops when we got him," Jones said. "But we got him for just that, the run after the catch. You might have noticed after the game Philadelphia spent their time saying 'we weren't going to let T.O. go anywhere.' And that should have opened some other things up."

Once the season ends, the first big controversy will be the Parcells-Owens-Jones dynamic. Does Parcells want to come back? If he comes back, will he want Terrell Owens released? What would Jerry do if Parcells made that demand on condition of coming back? What will Owens say following the season to make things even more interesting? Those questions are still down the road, but not too far if the Cowboys don't play better in the first playoff game.

I neglected to post the infamous Terry Glenn quote that has Dallas in further turmoil.

"I don't think we're trying to win; no, not on offense," Glenn was quoted Tuesday in the Dallas Morning News. "You have to execute and get everybody involved. I try not to let it get to me. Man, I've been fighting it all year. I'm trying to be a team player, but there's no reason for it. No reason for it.

"I'm not alone. The whole offense is frustrated," Glenn said. "They are looking around saying, 'Why can't we do anything when we have all these weapons?' "

It's unusual for Glenn to sound off in the press, and this was definitely a thinly-veiled shot at the coaching staff. Valley Ranch is a volatile place right now; we'll see how the Tuna is approaching things in his press conference today.

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