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Injuries Continue To Smear The Big Picture

if you look at the big picture, what's taken place this season is almost frightening. 

  Let's start here: No matter what you think of safety Roy Williams, the Cowboys already have two Pro Bowl players on injured reserve, Williams and punter Mat McBriar. They've also lost backup receiver/special teamer Sam Hurd. Their absences, along with that of Felix Jones, who already had missed four games, will total 42 games by season's end. Breaking it down, that will eventually be 10 for Felix, 10 for McBriar, nine for Williams and 13 for Hurd. 

  Also consider this: Of the 80 players designated inactive in the 10 games so far this season - seven players, and an inactive third quarterback a game - 38 of those players (nearly half) were put down because of injury. 

  Let's continue with the rest: Kosier missed eight games, Newman six, Stanback four (if he plays Sunday), Anthony Spencer four, Romo three, Pat Watkins three and Austin three but certainly at least four since no way he gets back in time from his sprained knee for the Thanksgiving Day game.  

  And to top all this off, before Pacman Jones is supposedly eligible to play again, he will have missed six games during his "indefinite" suspension that had to last at least four. 

  Starting to catch my drift? 

  Add it all up - OK, get out the calculator for this - and throw in two games for Deon Anderson and a game each for Carpenter and Stephen Bowen, and the Cowboys will at least - at least - have injured or suspended players missing from a total of 83 games by my count, one certainly to swell over the final six-game stretch. 

  That's a slew. 

  That makes a difference no matter what you want to think. 

  Now this is not an excuse for the Cowboys being only 6-4, but face it, wouldn't you rather have taken your chances against St. Louis with Romo, Newman, Kosier, Felix, Spencer, Watkins, Williams, McBriar, Hurd and Pacman? 

  How about against the Giants with Romo, Newman, Kosier, Felix, Williams, McBriar, Hurd and Pacman? 

  See, singularly, these injuries don't seem as debilitating. You might say, "Come on, you ought to be able to win a game or two without your starting quarterback."  

  The Cowboys did, but just agame. You might say, "Come on you ought to win without your Pro Bowl cornerback." The Cowboys did, but just three of the six, and failed to win one he probably shouldn't have played in anyway. You say, "Come on, you ought to win without a starting guard." Well, they did, four out of eight. 

  And as hard as it might be to admit, you say, "Come on, you ought to still win without your suspended backup corner who ended up being your starting corner because of injuries to Newman." Well, the Cowboys did, but just two of the four games he's missed. 

  Collectively, though, and let's throw tight end Jason Witten in there for two games even though he somehow played through that fractured rib, these MIA's become another story. 

  As Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said in reference to some of his current injuries, "It changes with injuries certainly what you're going to do and how you're going to do it." 

  Basically, after the first three games of the season the Cowboys haven't been the same team everyone was picking to go 12-4 or 13-3 or win the Super Bowl. There has been a steady deterioration of talent - as every team experiences in this league - but logically the ones staying healthier have the best chance of remaining successful. 

  That's why I continually said the Cowboys wasted those early years of Bill when they were incredibly healthy but could do no better than 10-6 that first season and never won a playoff game in any of his four seasons. 

  So here we go, heading toward two games in fives days, then the four-game December stretch run, and just when it seemed the Cowboys were getting healthier they have another guy about to land on IR and yet another to be out two to four weeks - and both just happen to be two of their fastest offensive weapons. 

  And who knows what affect you-know-who's return will have. 

  Man, what else? 


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