Pacman, Cowboys Realize Their Vulnerability

sports hernia, a specialist scheduled to make his determination after examining the Pro Bowl corner. Either way, the Cowboys will be without Newman for like four-to-six weeks if he has the surgery - maybe more - or at least another couple weeks if the strain to the lower abdominal wall is just that.

And if for whatever reason they are without Newman and Pacman, we are talking about a whole lot of young guys taking over a secondary on a team with designs of winning the NFC East and making noise finally in the playoffs. No wonder trainers were seen fussing over Alan Ball's foot during warm-up drills before practice on Thursday. He could become someone you need to learn all about. Seriously.

As it is, even if Pacman is playing, the Cowboys will now be bringing in rookie Orlando Scandrick to play the slot, something their fifth-round draft choice did in the season opener when Newman still wasn't comfortable enough to play and again this past Sunday. And if they want to continue using their four-corner alignment, that means when first-round pick Mike Jenkins takes over at right corner for Anthony Henry as he moves to the slot there will be two rookies on the field.

And let's not forget how many young guys are back there at safety now, what with a combination of Courtney Brown and Keith Davis having to compensate for the injured Roy Williams and Pat Watkins.

But if Newman and Pacman are missing, that means you likely would have either Scandrick but probably Jenkins starting at left corner, then Scandrick coming into the slot on the sub-package and if they still wanted to move Henry inside on the four-corner dime defense, then Ball would be coming in at right corner.

Talk about vulnerability.

The Cowboys ought to thank their lucky stars they decided not only to take a cornerback with their second first-round pick in this past draft, but also use their fifth on a cornerback they had a much higher grade on. Because without those two youngsters, who are mighty talented by the way, this team would be in the same fix they were at cornerback last year.

So again, all those who were begging for the Cowboys to foolishly use a first-round pick on a wide receiver not worthy of a first-round pick, please raise your hand. And don't lose track of the fact cornerback, to me, is the second hardest NFL position for a rookie to transition into next to quarterback.

Now none of this is suggesting the Cowboys deserve some sympathy for being in this Pacman predicament. They knew exactly what they were getting themselves into when making this trade with Tennessee.

In fact, they understood so well not only did they place a security detail on Pacman most everywhere he goes, and not only did they give him a list of local establishments he's not allowed to frequent, but Jerry Jones revealed here Thursday how he has direct control of Pacman's finances. To me, that sounded as if the guy receives an allowance, and maybe he needs one because it's my understanding after not playing last year - and you guys have heard about his homes in Nashville either being foreclosed upon or up for sale - he has basically nothing when it comes to money.

So the Cowboys put some severe stipulations on him, and despite all that, he still acted foolish enough to earn a visit from the police, no matter how severe or minor the incident was. And because of that, as Jerry Jones said when asked about how seriously the NFL is taking this, he said, "I think they take it very seriously, very seriously."

Because of that, guarantee you Pacman will be squirming all weekend, or at least he should be. Because of that, and coupled with Newman's injury situation, the Cowboys will be squirming all weekend - and you hope they have not lost track of the game against Arizona that needs to be played on Sunday.

They are in this together more than we ever realized, and their vulnerability now a shared concern from this point forward.

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