This is going to be a big game. You can already feel it. The 2-0 Dallas Cowboys are now considered the challenger to Chicago’s NFC dominance, especially with the New Orleans Saints reeling and most of the other 2-0 teams still being eyed with suspicion. The winner of this game will be considered the big dog for the immediate future. I realize that what happens in September may be a distant memory come December; a season is not decided in the first month. On the other hand, I’d rather be rooting for a team that is stocking away victories than one that is struggling to find its footing. The confidence a team can get from games like this can be a catalyst for bigger and better things.
This game will test the Cowboys offense, it’s a measuring stick to see if it’s really as good as it’s looked, or have we just been beating up on bad NFL teams. Miami’s defense is supposed to be good, but I’ve watched both games they played this year and they are not on the level of Chicago’s defense. This is a real defense, if the Cowboys offense can score on these guys with any regularity then you can say we really got something.
Throw in the fact that the Cowboys have to go on the road and we are once again the Sunday night game, and you got all the elements for an exciting game that will mean a little more than other regular season games. I know they all count the same, but the psychological edge that comes with winning a game like this elevates it just a bit. One of the leagues most potent offenses against one of the leagues stingiest defenses, a battle for supremacy in the NFC and bragging rights in the conference for at least one week, all on national TV for the whole nation to watch. It all sounds good to me. Only one thing left to do – win the game.
Tomorrow I’ll have a preview of Chicago and how Dallas can attack them.
Tonight, let’s get caught up on the news besides the Tank. If you ever need to catch up, just find a Nick Eatman article, he’s got all the facts.
Eatman reports that we re-signed Nate Jones and put him back on the 53-man roster. He also files this on Terence Newman:
"We are lot more positive about his chances this week," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said of Newman on Wednesday. "There are no guarantees obviously, but he moved around a lot better."
Newman practiced on a limited basis again Wednesday, and it's likely he will again be a game-time decision for Sunday night's game at Chicago.
I sure hope Newman can play; I finally want to see what this defense can accomplish with him in the game. I know Chicago’s offense is weak, but getting Newman back on the field would just make me feel better. To finally get that first game behind him and know that he’ll be OK is big with me.
Jay Ratliff gets some praise in light of the recent signing.
"Ratliff is playing outstanding," Jones said Wednesday. "I had one of our coaches tell me in practice that Ratliff might be our best down lineman. So Ratliff is someone that I've got a lot of hopes for, long-term hopes for."
Let me straighten it out for you Jerry, it’s not that he might be the best down lineman, it's that he is the best down lineman we got. Although Chris Canty showed some renewed vigor in the last game.
As a couple of you guys reported, the NFL fined T.O. for his recent movie production.
The NFL fined Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens $7,500, a figure he simply termed "a good chunk of money" Wednesday, for his touchdown celebration last Sunday against Miami when he simulated spying on the Dolphins' sideline.
My opinion: You know the rules and you know its coming, so don’t whine about it. He also cost us 15 yards and we can live without that. As for the overarching question of the NFL becoming the No Fun League – I guess it might be a generational gap or maybe I’m just an old fogey – but the game was plenty of fun for me when I used to watch it without a WR doing a dance, or calling on cell phones, or rowing a boat or any of that other stuff. I really don’t need a player grabbing the spotlight with a crazy routine for me to celebrate a TD for my team. Is it harmless? Mostly. Until something happens and fights start breaking out or someone crosses the line somehow. Anyway, it’s really not a big deal to me, except for the 15-yard penalty – that’s a big deal. I imagine that it's not a big deal to Owens either - except for the 15 yard penalty because coach didn't like it. Celebration is cool, I’m just saying to the celebrators to consider that it took all eleven guys for that play to work, so celebrate with that in mind. Next time start something new T.O., go jump on your o-line for making the blocks. Instead of the Lambeau Leap we can call it the Leonard Leap, the guy's as big as a stadium, so why not?
Chicago MLB Brian Urlacher paid Jason Witten a huge compliment today by saying he's in the class of the two starting tight ends the Bears have faced this season: San Diego's Antonio Gates and Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez.
"He's more like a receiver when he's running routes," Urlacher said of Witten. "He's a good blocker also. But running routes, he's fast; he's a big guy; he gets open."
Wow, Gates, Gonzalez and Witten. Up next week - they’ll be playing Ozzie Newsome and Mark Bavaro.
Dallas leads the NFL in points inside the 20 with 47. The Cowboys have converted only 55.6 percent of their plays inside the 20 into touchdowns. But they have scored on every one of their nine possessions. Only Pittsburgh and Detroit (10 each) have had more chances inside the 20.
Then again, we’re averaging 41 points a game so it’s hard to complain.
OK, so it’s not a total Tank-free post. Mickey Spags talks to Calvin Hill about the newest Cowboy.