Rookie standout Dez Bryant may be the Cowboys' biggest bright spot and reason for hope.
and live your fandom in the moment. Being a fan is all about feeling a part of something, and the Cowboys are in day-to-day, game-to-game mode.
"That's what coaching is. That's what playing is," Phillips said. "You didn't sign up and say, 'Only if things go good I'm going to coach and I'm going to play.' You signed up for the whole deal. And we're not going to stop right now and give up or quit or whine or even make excuses. You've just got to go forward."
So go forward, and be excited that Dez Bryant is a complete beast. Be excited that Josh Brent appears to be a seventh-round supplemental draft steal. Be excited that Brandon Williams and Sean Lee and Phil Costa and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are getting playing time. Look for the glimmers of hope.
And at the same time, pick up the microscope and focus in on the long list of guys who may or may not have a part in this team's future. Look analytically at players like Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Roy Williams, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, Bradie James, Orlando Scandrick, Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball and David Buehler. Which guys are worth keeping, and in what role?
Opinions will definitely fluctuate as the season plays out, but by the evening of Jan. 2, 2011, when the Cowboys and Eagles have closed out the regular season, everything will be much clearer. We'll know who played hard every game, and who can be a contributor going forward.
There's no reason to live and die on the final score every week now. Be glad when the Cowboys win. When they don't, feel free to wish they had. Either way, there's something to look forward to on Sundays for the next 10 weeks.
Because in January, when the ride is over and there's a potential work stoppage looming and the hope-springs-eternal feelings of training camp seem so far off, days like this will be sorely missed.