Just Win Baby Takes On Added Meaning

Tony Romo is out three to four weeks.
Terence Newman is out four weeks.
Sam Hurd is out for the rest of the season.
Felix Jones likely is out at least two weeks.
Mat McBriar is out for the rest of the season.
Kyle Kosier might be out at least another week.
Roy Williams might be out another week.
Who knows about Anthony Spencer?
Who knows about Pat Watkins?
Who knows about Flozell Adams?

Suddenly point spreads become more realistic, based on now not last season. Suddenly style points will be ignored. Suddenly brushing off the likes of Arizona, St. Louis and Tampa Bay, with only an eye to that Nov. 2 showdown with the Giants, will be canned.

The almighty Cowboys will be grubbing for victories, any kind of victories, no matter who they are against since the Emperor now has torn trousers.

Just the way it should be, and you'll be grateful for any they can deliver. You watch. Uppity just left the building.

"You want to go ahead and keep winning ball games," Johnson said of the backup's emergency role.

He would point out missing three games that 2002 season in Tampa Bay when the Bucs won the Super Bowl, and how his backup, Rob Johnson, won two of those games despite the Bucs never scoring more than 15 points in any of the three.

My point. You bet the Cowboys would take a 12-9 victory over the Rams this Sunday and a 15-0 victory over the Bucs the following Sunday, the scores of those games Johnson's backup won that year in Tampa Bay. The whole mindset will be changing around these parts.

Prior to Sunday afternoon, paralysis by analysis was starting to set in surrounding the Cowboys. My gosh, folks were starting to detail when Romo was smiling and wildly suggesting why he wasn't. Prior to Sunday, there was this feeling around here, maybe even with this team, that no matter what happens or how many mistakes were made, Romo would just sprinkle fairy dust on it all and everything would be fine.

Almost like Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals. Almost.

So now every little thing matters. Deon Anderson can't miss a blitz pickup again the first play in overtime. Tony Curtis can't get confused on punt protection. Mike Jenkins can't get out of his lane on kickoff coverage. Quarterback protection needs to make a 1-80 for the better so the quarterback is not getting blasted with Miles Austin running wide open in the end zone of a possession you eventually get nothing out of. Martellus Bennett simply cannot drop a can-of-corn touchdown pass - again. Running the ball more efficiently is no longer a lark but a must.

And 12 penalties in a game? Even if the other team commits as many, as did the Cardinals on Sunday, mark it down, it will be a loss.

Whatever margin of error the Cowboys once had, just like Pacman Jones' behavioral issues, has been eliminated. No mas. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might as well say his Cowboys now are operating on "a high wire without a net." Because they are.

So all this emotional talk is fine, all that hootin' and hollerin'. But the bottom line is tightening the circle, making sure all these rookies or second-year guys understand what's going on here; understand what's at stake and how fragile success in this league is.

"There is frustration from everybody, me too," Phillips said on Monday. "But we've got to do something about it. You can talk about it all you want to. We've got to do it in the meeting rooms, we've got to do it in the walk-throughs and we've got to do it in practices, and that's what we're determined to do. And I think our team is that way.

"Our team, I think they are going to react the right way just because of the way, the kind of heart and determination they have in those situations, that are dire situations (in games)."

And believe me, when you lose your quarterback for a month, your punter for the season, your situational receiver/special teams player for the season, your "wow" running back for at least two weeks and who knows who else for how long, this is some kind of dire.

We straight on that?

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