All Is Not Lost

tough loss," Parcells said of Sunday's stunner at Qwest Field, "but this time of year with where this division is right now, I think when you lose a couple of games like we've lost them, then - I told the players today that everyone thinks, 'Well if you just did this you would have won, or if this just happened, you would have won.' So everyone has the answers, where as if you get beat by three or four touchdowns you don't hear any of that. 

"But the fact of the matter is, the only thing that makes any difference is the result, and that's what the players have to deal with, the result of a difficult loss. the result and the psychological approach they take after that is really what's going to determine where they go. It's not that game, or that thing they didn't do, it's where you go." 

Now we're talkin'. Does this team not give you hopes of improving the second half of the season? Does it not sound reasonable the return of Jones, the maturation of Torrin Tucker and possibly Petitti, the growth of Barber and Thompson and the incorporation of Peerless Price into the offense will make this a better team? This year? 

Does this defense, save the final two minutes of games, not excite you? Just consider what the Cowboys have done, limiting each of the past three offenses to no more than 13 points; going the past 17 quarters giving up just three touchdowns; allowing just eight-of-51 third-down conversions over the past four games, Seattle's three the high; and moving up to the seventh-ranked NFL defense heading into the Monday night game, right up there with the likes of Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Washington, Chicago. That's high cotton for this bunch. 

So see, it's not where you been or what you've done at this point as much as it is about where you are going. That's why this Arizona game is so important, because certainly a team with aspirations of playing games after New Year's Day is better off 5-3 at the bye break than 4-4, and knowing, right at this moment, six of the eight games in the second half come against teams currently with winning records. 

"So this is an important game for us," Parcells said of playing the Cardinals. 

Now he will tell you the start to the second half is brutal, having to play three games, beginning with the Nov. 14 Monday night game in Philadelphia, in 11 days. But if you look at it like this, since the Cowboys will have two weeks to get ready for the Eagles and 10 days to get ready for the Giants on Dec. 4, the Cowboys actually have three games in like 34 days following Sunday's Game 8. 

That's good, because they certainly are not without their problems, unsure of just when Jones will return, the two youngsters playing offensive tackle and now Shaun Suisham, another off-the-street kicker, taking over for Cortez, booted to the curb on Monday after his 29-yard miss, and according to Parcells a lackluster week of practice this past week and a horrible pre-game warmup. 

This will be Parcells' psychological approach with the team, starting this week. Don't worry about spilt milk. What's done is done. But do what you can not to waste any more calcium opportunities. 

Carry on, and hope you don't still need a comb-over.     

MICK SHOTS

     
  Told you so, the Cowboys would rue the day kicker Billy Cundiff tore that quad muscle the final day of training camp. Oh, everyone wanted better than Cundiff, but you ended up getting worse - especially when it came to Cortez fitting into the team. High-strung kickers will teeter off the high wire. 
  The Cowboys have nearly shave a touchdown off the average points they were giving up, going from 24 after the first three games to a current 17.7. And no more than 17 would be the goal. 
  And as long as we're looking ahead, Torrin Tucker, who did a decent job Sunday, had better get ready. That will be

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