It's completely fixed now, right? Just like it was completely broken before?
In media veritas est. The truth is in the middle. There. That exhausts my retention of high school Latin.
All is not well at 1-2. Just as all was not lost at 0-2. That win over the Texans--however resounding--was a tonic, not a cure-all. As we enter the bye weekend, some random and highly subjective assessments through three games after the jump.
This defense could be memorable. Not '85 Bears memorable (or maybe not 2010 Steelers memorable, for that matter), but high among the best in Cowboy history. Uh, yes, my informed fandom goes back to the original Doomsday. Sure, there were the hiccups and blown assignments in that Week Two loss to the Bears. But aside from that, the Dallas D has been dominant. Jay Ratliff is really the guy that enables Wade Phillips to weave his 3-4 magic. Anthony Spencer is vectored toward the full-blown superstardom already reached by fellow outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. Yes, I'm concerned about Keith Brooking's inconsistency, his big plays notwithstanding. Terence Newman shows no signs of depreciation now in his eighth NFL season, and in fact seems more comfortable and assertive than he was a year ago. Mike Jenkins had a rough day against Chicago, but is as physically gifted as any corner in the game not named Asomugha or Revis. I'm nowhere close to losing my longterm optimism about Orlando Scandrick. Gerald Sensabaugh is prepared, mature and mentally tough. Alan Ball is exactly what I thought he'd be---just fine. And those rookie safeties Danny McCray and Barry Church provide dependable versatility. This is the defense's fourth year under Coach Phillips, who now has all the parts and levers to unleash his system's full fury.
Offensively, I'm going to try to remain patient with the Cowboy running game, and I hope Jason Garrett will, too. Yes, a heavier Felix Jones appears to be a somewhat less explosive Felix Jones. Tashard Choice needs more touches to be effective. The 'Boys were finally able to their master plan last Sunday at Reliant: Grab a two or three score lead and let "The Hammer" fall in the fourth. Similar "keep the lead, kill the clock" scenarios are the key to Marion Barber's rushing stats. Run it early. Run it late.
And let Romo reign in between. Yep, Tony turned in a stinker versus the Bears, consistently throwing behind open receivers. But last Sunday we got a look at how good life can be for the Cowboy passing game. Romo, well protected and leveraging a running game that was at least viable enough to make play action legitimate, completed 77% of his throws for 284 yards and no picks. Miles Austin, proving last year was not the least bit flukie, is established not only as the team's number one receiver but also as one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL. Roy Williams, despite his critics---like me, for example--nevertheless is off to an impressive season start, illustrated by those two TD grabs against the Texans. I give Roy credit for always being a willing, even enthusiastic, downfield blocker and for obviously working hard to correct his primary deficiency--an inability to make a quick, clean release off the line of scrimmage. Texan cornerbacks Brice McCain and Kareem Jackson can no doubt attest to Williams' significant improvement in that part of his game. We've now seen what Uber Rookie Dez Bryant can do, both as a big-play receiver and a take-it-to-the-house punt returner. Romo, throwing to Austin, Williams, Bryant and Jason Witten? Nigh impossible to mess up, one would think. Providing that aging, patchwork offensive line can keep Number Nine vertical. No Romo, no season. Getting and keeping Kyle Kosier and Marc Columbo healthy--or at least healthier, could be the key to the 'Boys' postseason prospects.
I was relieved, for the moment, by David Buehler's pair of field goals in Houston. I said relieved, not convinced. I'm a long way from sold.
It seems to me the Tennessee Titans are an ideal post-bye opponent for the Cowboys. The Titans are physical, focused and well-coached--a team that will command the 'Boys' full attention when they reconvene early next week.
Three games deep. Will the Cowboys consistently be as good as they looked in stretches against the Texans? Probably not. But were they ever as bad as that 0-2 start made us fear? Definitely not.
In media veritas est.