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Owens takes first step towards old ways

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I'll be breaking down the game tape later today, and hopefully will be able to give you some insight into the play of our four offensive tackles.

OK, on to the news of the morning. I've never had much of a problem with a player who has an injury not practicing. The whole Terrell Owens hamstring saga didn't bother me, except that I was starting to worry about his availability for the opener. The back and forth between Owens, Parcells and the media was a sideshow that has occupied little of my time. But now we have a situation that is something different, something that has the potential to become a serious problem if Owens doesn't realize the implications.

Terrell Owens, who has missed 19 of 31 practices since the start of training camp with a strained left hamstring, missed a team meeting and a rehabilitation session and was late to an offensive meeting Friday.

"That's our club business. That's going to be accounted for," owner Jerry Jones said at halftime of Saturday's 17-7 win over San Francisco.

Owens was fined $9,500.
When asked if there was any problem between Owens and the club, Jones said, "We're going to be fine."

Several sources said Owens has been fined for being late to multiple rehabilitation sessions.

The hamstring issue is a legitimate issue that in my book didn't count against Owens in an anyway. Not showing up for meetings, and especially not showing up for rehab when injured is a big issue. Owens needs to stop this type of behavior right now. This is the exact kind of thing that can send Parcells over the edge. If this continues, Parcells will have no problem holding Owens out of a game because of his no practice, no play rule. If Owens was doing everything he could to get back from the injury and was being a team player in terms of meetings then Parcells would likely cut him some slack and allow him to play. But behavior like this will force Parcells to take a stand that could lead to confrontation. This, my friends, is the first real sign of danger, and Owens needs to rectify it pronto.

(hat tip to Deke and Tuna Helper for the original posting of the link to the story)

There's another free agent signee with an injury that is testing Parcells patience. Mike Vanderjagt has now stated publicly that Parcells is very unhappy with him

"I don't think he's really happy," Vanderjagt said of Parcells. "but he doesn't know my groin as well as I do."

Quick note, Cowboys players need to frame their quotes better. First Owens said he needs to get in sync with Bledsoe's balls, now Vandy is talking about Parcells knowing his groin. Can we put a moratorium on these kinds of statements? Anyway, back to the issue:
Asked to elaborate on the discussion, Vanderjagt said, "We didn't hug. He's frustrated and he expressed his frustration...He's rather annoyed with the whole deal."

So are we Vandy. If you're injured, you're injured. Still, it's hard for everybody when two of our big free agent signees can't seem to get on the field.

The first team defense is the big story of the preseason. I like what Bledsoe has done, the offensive line seems to be getting better, but the defense has been dominating so far. We expected it going into camp, but to actually watch it happen in the preseason makes it real. Again, if the Cowboys offense can put up just an average number of points each game, we should be golden.

Through three preseason games, the Cowboys' first-team defense has allowed three points, and those came when the Cowboys were showcasing backup linebacker Scott Shanle (since traded) and defensive end Kenyon Coleman by putting them in the starting lineup.

The No. 1 defense has not allowed more than three first downs on nine drives in three games.

"We haven't been tested yet," said Parcells, heading off the happy talk.


We may have not been tested yet, but it's only because we keep beating up the teacher before he can hand out the test. This defense is scary. Clarence Hill has more, here.