Let's lead off with a what proved to be Wednesday's "sure to be discussed on national outlets" Cowboys story:
Will Allen: Everything "Tight" In Dallas
The former veteran safety went on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, declaring that the Dallas clubhouse featured a "very micromanaged atmosphere," was "very tight" and cited a lack of "the relationship and the bonding between players and coaches" for creating a vibe at Valley Ranch that’s "not fun for anybody." In perhaps his most damning statement, he said,
I think that's the rift that you get, and everybody wonders why Dallas can't finish, why Dallas isn't completing everything it needs to. The players are great. The players are tremendous. The coaches are some of the best in the business. You just need a cohesion there that allows players and coaches to really execute and do their jobs and it's not something hanging over their heads, that if they mess up you're going to get cut or you're not going to play or not going to do this.
Is Allen lifting the veil covering the Cowboys organization or is this a case of sour grapes by a guy who was cut early in the campaign?
Ex-Teammates Respond to Allen's take - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The always-reliable Todd Archer went in search of reactions to Allen's morning diatribe. One of my favorites was this, from The Senator:
"Yeah, we can't do much right around here, I guess," tight end Jason Witten deadpanned. "You'd rather have it that way than country club."
Nice; I vote to re-elect....
In all seriousness, if there is some credence to Allen's claim, and that "tightness" inhibits the Cowboys; performance, who is blame? Garrett, for being too rigid? Jerry Jones, for his off-season desire to make things "uncomfortable" for everyone else in the organization?
Lest we get caught up in the hoopla over an ex-employee's comments, we must remember that, on Sunday, we have that most crucial of contests: the divisional road game. How is the week shaping up?
Injury Report - Ware, Hatcher and Claiborne Are Limited - Charean WIlliams, Star-Telegram
The best news we've had for awhile is this week's developing injury report. Yesterday, every player on the team practiced, save for LBs Sean Lee and Justin Durant. That means the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Mo Claiborne, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher and Nick Hayden are taking practice reps in preparation for Sunday's tilt. That's superb news, especially for the team's beleaguered defense.
Giants Vs. Cowboys: When The Giants Have The Ball - Ed Valentine, Big Blue View
The fine gents at BBV get continue to crank out great game-week content. This time around, we are treated to a detailed overview of a match-up New York has to feel confident about: the Giants offense vs. the Cowboys defense. At first glance, it would seem that the NY Football Giants, who abused Dallas' D in game one, would have the advantage. But for this:
Monte Kiffin Believes Bye Will Help Cowboys D - Todd Archer, ESPN
From the venearable DC: "There’s no [such] thing as magic," Kiffin said. "We’ve just got to do a better job. We’ve all got to do a better job."
Given that we have a division opponent on the docket Sunday, and that the Giants were Dallas' week one opponent, the upcoming game serves as a litmus test of sorts, one that can measure the progress of the team as well as of individual players. Indeed, several of the Mothership's scribes explored this angle:
Williams More Comfortable to Offset Austin This Time Around - Nick Eatman
Eatman makes the point that Sunday in New York will effectively be the first time this season that the Cowboys have had a fully-functioning Austin and WIlliams on the same field. While Austin will return from injury, the key is that Williams has grown into his role in Miles' absence - to the degree that he is a markedly better player than he was the first time the Cowboys squared off vs. the Midgets.
Oh, and the Cowboys are 4-1 with Austin and 1-4 without him...
Frederick Sees The Improvement From First Game Vs. New York - David Helman
In a similar vein, Travis Frederick can use the season opener to measure his growth. Indeed, he says he hardly recognized the guy playing center game one:
"To me, when we first flipped on the film a little bit last week and saw it, it looked like there was somebody different out there playing, in my eyes."
Here's to not recognizing the guy on this Sunday;s game tape when you look at it at year's end, kid
Position Focus: Rookie Center Has Stabilized O-Line - Bryan Broaddus
Broaddus' review of the offensive line serves as a nice reminder that they are stronger across the board - nowhere moreso than at center, where first-rounder Travis Frederick has plied his trade at a rate far beyond what should be expected from a rookie.
And now for something completely different...
Why Cowboys Fans Are Victims of Their Own Memories - Bob Sturm
The Sturminator pens an essay in which he argues that Cowboys fans are biased because of the franchise's stellar history:
The point is that there is no more blessed fan-base in the NFL than the Dallas Cowboys fans. Your franchise - if you are 50 years old - has given you Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Two QBs that are so fantastically wonderful that Don Meredith, Danny White, and Tony Romo - guys who would be the best QB in several franchises histories - don't even get a moment to celebrate behind those two giants of the sport....
Do you know how many franchises have never had a RB as great as Tony Dorsett? Almost all of them. But, here you are, who just a few years later had Emmitt Smith break every record in the book.
In most cities, the statue for the great superstar WR would go up. Here, you don't know how Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and someday, Dez Bryant would all fit on statues.
As a result, Sturm opines, that success had ruined the game for Dallas fans. Wins are dissected as if they are losses, and losses are cataclysmic events. Bad losses? Arma-freakin'-geddon.
Jimmy Johnson Make Hall of Fame Semifinal List For The First Time - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
One of the reasons for the Cowboys' rich history is Jimmy Johnson, who I believe to be the best head coach in Cowboys history (yes, I realize this is sacrilege to many if not most of you). Every decade or so, a coach comes along who changes the way the game is played. In the 1980s, that was Bill Walsh; in the 90s, it was Johnson. In particular, he forever altered the way teams think about the draft, and the value of draft picks. Plus, he won. Big. Dude deserves to be in the Hall.