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Cowboys bye week random thoughts

We’re in a bye and things are kind of slow, especially now that the Cowboys have left the Ranch until Monday. What to do, what to do? I thought I would just make up some random things I want to talk about and then hopefully you guys will chime in with your own random thoughts.

6-1 – Man, does that sound good. I mean seriously, I know some of you are true believers and homers of the largest order, but 6-1? This quick start with a new head coach, new offensive and defensive coordinator seemed out of reach to me. Or did it? I went back and dug up the post when the 2007 schedule came out, and my gut-feel predictions of that day. Here’s what I posted:

W - 9/9, NY Giants
W - 9/16, at Miami
L - 9/ 23, at Chicago
W - 9/ 30, St Louis
W - 10/ 8, at Buffalo
L - 10/14, New England
W - 10/ 21, Minnesota

So I actually had us at 5-2. Not too far off. Now here’s where I get booed. Going back to my predictions.

L - 11/ 4, at Philadelphia
L - 11/11, at NY Giants

OK, two NFC East losses in a row. The Giants game is still a toss-up, but the Philly game I feel a little better about. They are just not the same team they’ve been in the past, so I would probably revise that one if I could. But, before you boo me off my own blog, here’s what I had after that.

W - 11/18, Washington
W - 11/22, NY Jets
W - 11/29, Green Bay
W - 12/9, at Detroit
W - 12/16, Philadelphia

Oh yeah, I was feeling good here. Five straight wins for the pokes. That puts us at 10-4. But, the Green Bay game should be an interesting one, I didn’t think they would be this good. Washington is also a lot better than I expected. Then there’s Detroit, who are better than I thought and who beat us last year when they stunk. So these games are a lot more dicey than I figured they would be all those months ago.

So how does it end?

L - 12/22, at Carolina
W - 12/30, at Washington

Boo. No losing to Carolina late in the season. Anyway, that was my path to an 11-5 season. At that time 11-5 seemed like a great record, but now, we’re 6-1. If we go 11-5, that means we go 5-4 the rest of the way. That doesn’t sound all that great for the rest of the season. At least 12-4 would be better, but 13-3 sounds good.

The secondary – If we could just get the pieces of our secondary healthy and on the field for and extended stretch, we might have a championship defense. The run defense is stout. The pass rush is getting better, and with Ellis healthy and motivated and Spencer learning, it should continue to get better. So the secondary probably doesn’t have to be great, but a solid "good" rating would be enough, especially with our offense. To get to where we want to go, we need a secondary to play better than it did in the Patriots game. Anthony Henry and Terence Newman on the field starting and Newman shifting to the slot for Jacques Reeves in the nickel is the ticket.

Tank Johnson – I know some people are skeptical about how much Tank will add, but everybody will probably concede that giving Jay Ratliff some serious rest can only be a good thing. But I think Johnson will bring more than that. He is quick, everybody talks about his explosive first step, and that might be perfect for the Phillips 34. After a few games of getting acclimated, I think we’ll be talking about him making some plays for us. A two-headed monster of Rat and Tank would be sweet.

Terry Glenn – I don’t know, I’m starting to think he won’t be able to come back. I don’t have any evidence or anything, just a gut feel. If he could come back and be effective, that would be like adding Ellis to the defense. We would be that much better on offense. But if he can’t come back, or can only come back in a minimal role, then Patrick Crayton will be a key guy down the stretch. Having two go-to receivers like Owens and Witten is great, having three puts you in a different class.

Hatcher and Barber - I'm not going to make a stink about starting Jason Hatcher and Marion Barber, but at least give them the majority of the plays. Ride your best players, Wade.

Offensive line - This offensive line is playing good football. Romo is mostly getting all the time he needs and the running game has been serviceable, and sometimes, especially late in games, it can be brutal. Leonard Davis was a great free agent signing. No one talks about it, but Davis has solidified a group that is among the better lines in football right now.

Favorite plays - Here are a few of my favorite moments so far this year:

Sam Hurd going in for the TD in the opening game against the Giants to secure the 45-35 win.

Tony Romo courting and averting disaster on the snap over his head against the Rams.

Marion Barber’s run to avoid a safety was simply amazing. Bonus plays from Barber: any play where he punches a defender in the helmet.

Nick Folk drilling the game-winner in Buffalo, and Sam Hurd and Tony Curtis on the onsides kick to set it up.

Chris Canty blocking the FG, Pat Watkins running it in for the TD against the Vikes.

What’s on your minds as we wait for the bye week to pass?

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