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Mick Shots: Moving On Past The Belly-Aching


FRISCO, Texas – OK, enough is enough.

        Time to turn the page.

        Yep, no matter all the belly-aching going on, the Cowboys are 0-1. Nothing they can do about that. And you'd better hope they are moving on.

        On to those New York Football Giants, up next, 7:20 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium. And do you realize this will be the seventh time since 2009 that the Cowboys have either opened the season against the Giants or played their NFC East foes in the second game of the season.

        How about that shot to kick things off today.

· Listening Up: Here is one way to know that the head coach has the ear of his team. When guys have been asked about what they need to do to throw down a better offensive performance, they have basically parroted what Jason Garrett has been saying since the 16-8 loss to Carolina on Sunday: We have to get off to a better start and not spend the first four possessions of the game digging ourselves out from behind the chains. Garrett said that right after the game, again on Monday and once again Wednesday. And he's dead on, since the Cowboys faced during their first four possessions third-and-26, second-and-17, second-and-17 and third-and-11, thanks two 10-yard penalties and two sacks. Said Ezekiel Elliott, "It's tough to run the ball when you're second-and-17."

· Giant Problems: If you happened to watch the Giants' 20-15 season-opening loss to Jacksonville, they had the same problem the Cowboys had: Protecting their quarterback. Eli Manning was only sacked twice, but he was hit another four times, and can't tell how many other times he found himself scrambling out of the pocket to avoid pressure. The Giants finally resorted to rolling Manning out, trying to give him an opportunity to throw down the field. Evidence of that is Manning completing 11 passes to Odell Beckham Jr., with a long of 24, but only averaging 10 yards a catch. Lots of underneath stuff out of necessity.

· Saquan Watch: Now, you can tell right off the bat how talented Giants first-round draft choice Saquan Barkley is, but the Giants offensive line surely suppressed his performance, too, in the opener. Yes, Barkley did get loose for that 68-yard touchdown run, and it says he began his rookie year with a 106-yard rushing performance on 18 carries. But get this: On his other 17 carries, Barkley gained just 38 yards. Certainly tough sledding against the Jaguars defense. At halftime, Barkley had eight carries for 12 yards.

· Parallel Performances: Sure thing, the Cowboys offense struggled mightily in the first half against Carolina, totaling just 60 yards. The Giants struggled, too, with only 95, against Jacksonville. Fortunately for both teams, their defenses were playing well. The Cowboys trailed just 10-0 and the Giants 13-6 at the half. Know on the Giants' 62-yard field goal drive before the end of the half, 45 of those yards came compliments of interference calls on the Jaguars trying to cover OBJ – one on Barry Church and one on Jalen Ramsey.

· Did You Really: Cowboys new kicker Brett Maher seems to be a quite cordial guy. Patient. Well thought out answers. But did I really hear someone ask him in the locker room on Wednesday if he was, Glad to get that first miss out of the way? Seemingly stunned, Maher composed himself to say, "I don't want to miss ever." Never. None. And certainly not your first NFL career attempt.

· Where's Leonard: Against that Giants defense, Jacksonville scored points on three of its first four possessions, taking a 13-3 lead with one of those field goals coming after a hands-to-the-face penalty nullified a touchdown. Most of that was with running back Leonard Fournette on the field. He went out with a hamstring strain late in the half. The Jags only other score came on an interception return.

· QB Files: No one will dispute that Dak Prescott suffered through a rough season-opening performance, throwing for just 161 yards and finishing with an 82.4 QB rating. That mark ranks 18th in the NFL after Week 1. But get this, there were 16 other quarterbacks with lesser ratings. And some of these guys you might recognize by only their last names: Manning, Carr, Roethlisberger, Bradford, Ryan, Foles, Stafford, Garoppolo. And not sure I've ever seen this before: Buffalo starter Nate Peterman, who completed five of 18 passes and was intercepted twice, finished with a 0.0 QB rating in the Bills' 47-3 loss to Baltimore. No surprise, the Bills announced Wednesday that rookie first-round draft choice Josh Allen will start this week against the Chargers.

· Lasting Shots: There was an eight-time Pro Bowl safety on campus here Wednesday. No, not Earl Thomas, the subject of all kinds of trade talk. He was retired Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, who was quite discreetly on a tour of The Star with some friends until a member of the Cowboys front office asked me if that was Troy Polamalu standing there. I shrugged, couldn't tell, but one of the guides standing by shook his head. Next thing you know, Polamalu, who retired after the 2014 season, was on the outskirts of the locker room hugging it out with Kris Richard … Did you notice Cowboys first-round draft choice Leighton Vander Esch, over his 17 snaps in the game, played all three linebacker positions as a rotation guy? … When Garrett was asked if the team will have more urgency to win Sunday to avoid an 0-2 start, the head coach brushed the question off by saying, "Hopefully we have the kind of urgency that allows us to win every week."

Yeah, you had better hope so, too.