A Total Waste of Good Health

Fergie's 15 and probably six more from Glenn, that now swells the count of missed starts to likely 28 for the season. And to think, there still are 15 more games to play - more injuries to be had. That's nearly 3½ times the number of starts they missed last year and more than the Cowboys missed overall from last year when counting those special-teamers. 

Good gosh - these numbers only startling, though, when compared to last year, not to what the NFL norm is. Or what the Cowboys' norm has been so far this decade. 

Let's review. Get this, in 2000, a 5-11 season, the Cowboys finished with seven starters on injured reserve, and wait, let me grab my calculator to add up the missed starts because of injury . . . uh, try 70. In 2001, another 5-11 season, the Cowboys finished with four starters in IR, totaling 50 starts. In 2002, another 5-11 season, four more for 59 starts. In 2003, a 10-6 season, well lookee here - only one starter on IR, and 16 for the entire season. In 2004, try four more finishing the 6-10 season on IR for a total of 39 missed games. And in the 9-7 season of 2005, it was three starters on IR for 31 games. 

They say injuries are part of the game, and Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips certainly knows that better than most, being this is his 31st year of coaching in the NFL. So that is why he spent time last week preaching to his players about "no excuses" and that there is "no crying in football." 

"I think they got the word . . . they heard me say it, no excuses," Phillips said of last week's emphasis. "We'll just play with the players we have, no excuses if you lose. 

"But will it hurt you? Of course." 

Somewhat encouraging would be, of all these current injuries so early in the season, Ferguson is the only starter out for the season. There is hope Newman will be back, maybe as a nickel contributor as early as Sunday. There is hope Ellis will be back, possibly at some point this month. And Glenn opted for the less invasive surgery so he possibly could salvage at least half of this season, if not more - providing the scope to remove the torn articular cartilage behind the kneecap is successful. 

Plus, with those players out in the season opener - OK, Ferguson played maybe a quarter - the Cowboys still won, and will go into Miami with a 1-0 record and leading the NFL in total offense and passing offense. Not bad, not bad at all. 

At least this is somewhat encouraging. 

But last season, man, the pits. Makes you literally shudder over the wasted opportunity.     

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