Big Push Needed To Get Better

the troops on the Cowboys bench after the first-team defense gave up touchdowns to the Broncos on their first two possessions.

Good sign, very good sign.

Not sure if the Cowboys made some defensive adjustments after that or if the Broncos lost interest, but in the next five possessions the Broncos' first- or second-teamers could only manage one field goal. Decide for yourself.

The Cowboys will need more of the same from someone on offense and special teams, someone with enough self-confidence willing to rally the troops; someone the guys will to listen to; someone with some NFL cred.

And this must be genuine, and knowing Greg, you'd firmly believe his was and not staged for the benefits of Hard Knocks. Sorry, human nature sometimes makes us do silly things just to get on TV. Come on, guys know when they are mic-ed up and the cameras are following them; others know which guys are mic-ed up, meaning who to hang around with when.

So to me, this coaching staff, which will ultimately get the credit if there is success and unmitigated blame if this team is only good at the end of this season, can only push and prod so much. They can only X and O so much.

At some point the players must take ownership of this team - responsibility for if good turns into great - and Phillips' style, less overbearing and domineering than Bill Parcells, leaves room for the players to lead.  v  Now this doesn't have much to do with Friday night's third preseason game, 7 p.m. (CDT) at Texas Stadium against the Houston Texans. The Cowboys don't need any Knute Rockne speeches or any of those Jimmy lip-smacking, hair-raising tirades for a mere August contest.

These now well-rested players just must go out and play efficiently, especially the first groups, since Phillips says they will play nearly or all of the first three quarters. Cut down on the penalties. Cut down on the mentals. Cut out any lingering apathy associated with preseason.

Just take the next necessary steps to getting better, and really there are no excuses this time, not like this past Denver game where within a week's time the Cowboys road trains, buses and planes traveling between three different cities; slept in three different hotel beds; played or practiced on four different fields; and worked out of four different locker rooms.

Heck, wore me out and I didn't have to practice, let alone play.

The score becomes rather insignificant to the work in need of accomplishment. Winning or losing pales in comparison to the performances of some guys the pressure is on just to make the team or show they are capable of compensating for Friday's absence of four significant contributors - Terence Newman, Kevin Burnett, Anthony Spencer and Miles Austin, all nursing injuries or rehabbing repairs. Especially since there is a good chance at least half of those guys won't be there for the Sept. 7 opener in Cleveland. Who knows, maybe more.

So there might be a lot of slogans going around for this year's Cowboys team, one much is expected from nationally, locally and within The Ranch halls. But beware, because standing pat on merely good won't get it. Yep, clever this push for great - to get better.

Maybe Terrell Owens, he of the iPractice and iCompete T-shirts he now sells, needs to print up another one up to pass around, and not the one he promised to outfit the media in: iLie.

The newest one simply needs to be this:

iGreat.

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