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Phillips: It's About Urgency, Not 'Window'

IRVING, Texas --Is the "window closing" for this Cowboys core?

The answer is yes. That's not an indictment. It's just math.

Every year that passes without a deep playoff run is a missed opportunity, and many of the Cowboys' key veterans -- Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff -- are now in their 30s. DeMarcus Ware will turn 30 in training camp.

They're still in their prime, but primes don't last forever. That's the point Jerry Jones was making in his comments to NFL Network this week.

"I do feel real pressure because we do have players not only in Tony Romo, but Jason Witten (and) DeMarcus Ware, to leave out several that are (also) in the prime of their career. And we need to strike and strike soon with those guys," Jones said.

"Jason Garrett feels exactly the same way about it and understands how urgent it is. Candidly, you're looking through rose-colored glasses if we all don't realize that now is the time to compete on the field."

Jones' remarks seemed to be directed at himself as owner/general manager. There's only so much time left for him to surround Romo and Co. with the right talent. Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray and Tyron Smith will be looked upon to lead that supporting cast.

If the window wasn't closing, the Cowboys wouldn't have signed Brandon Carr to a $50 million contract and inked six more free agents. They wouldn't have traded up eight spots in the draft to select consensus top defensive prospect Morris Claiborne.

Truth is, the NFL leaves its window cracked longer than any other sport because of its salary cap-driven parity. Stay healthy, catch a few breaks, win your division -- and you've got a chance to play deep into January. The Cowboys still have that chance.

Romo and Garrett said it best Wednesday, though: you must practice and play with a sense of urgency no matter how much success you've had as a team. You think the world champion Giants are approaching the season like they've got another four years to win a Super Bowl -- the span between their last two titles?

"You never know when all that stuff is going to happen, so you just play every year as if it's an urgent day," Romo said. "Forget about thinking about the end of the year or two months away. You've got to get better today. Whether you're a rookie or an 11-year veteran around here, you've got to do that same approach."

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