Now Is The Time To Get Defensive

perspective, until Tony Romo threw for 4,211 yards last season, Anderson's total would have been second in Cowboys' history. Anderson also threw 29 touchdown passes, and until Romo threw 36 last year, that would have tied the Cowboys' single-season high.

We got all excited last season when Terrell Owens broke the team's long-standing touchdown reception record of 14 by one. Well, Cleveland's Braylon Edwards finished with 16 TD receptions, those two going two-three in the league, only trailing Rand Moss' 23.

There is more. Owens finished with 81 catches last year. Edwards had 80. Owens finished with 1,355 yards receiving. Edwards had 1,289, ranking them fifth and seventh, respectively, in the NFL. Owens averaged 16.7 yards a catch, Edwards 16.1, and they were the only two receivers in the NFL's top 43 in receptions to even average 16 yards a catch.

And when it came to rushing yards, why Jamal Lewis went for 1,304 yards. The Cowboys haven't had a running back rush for more since Emmitt Smith did so (1,397) in 1999. Plus, Marion Barber's team-leading 10 rushing touchdowns last year were but one more than Lewis' nine.

So if you thought the Cowboys had a formidable offense last year, well, the Browns weren't too far behind. And frankly, I would not put too much stock in their 0-4 preseason record, just the second time in club history they've gone 0-4 in the preseason. Nor would I worry too much about the Browns not having won a division title since 1989. They got it going on . . . at least on offense.

Just think about this: Of the Browns' 10 wins last year, seven of those came at home, meaning they lost only one home game in 2007, that the opener, leaving them on a current seven-game home winning streak.

This would not seem the opportune time to land on the banks of Lake Erie with injuries leaving one offensive hand stuck in your back pocket. Again, I'm not saying Jason Garrett won't find ways to move the ball effectively with the offensive likes of Romo, Barber, Owens, Crayton, Witten and Felix Jones as his primary weapons.

Shoot, with all that, a third receiver could play - Stanback still might, practicing on Monday - and never touch the ball.

But sometimes you've just got to win a game scoring fewer than the Cowboys' 28-point average of 2007, and the Cowboys checked in less than 28 last year only six times. They finished 3-3 in those games.

Catch my drift . . . defense?

"Now it's time to be focused," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said, "and it's about results."

That's right, results, as in team results. Those football-scoring dudes on the other side of the ball might need a helping hand come Sunday in Cleveland. And when the defense essentially adds a Tank Johnson - OK, he played last year but only for half a season, and now the real Tank is here - Pacman Jones, Zach Thomas, first-round pick Mike Jenkins, fifth-round pick Orlando Scandrick and a healthy Terence Newman and Anthony Henry to four returning Pro Bowlers, you ought to get results.

And that would be the surest cure for a short-handed offense.

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