Players Have A Chance To Right The Wrongs

knows what he's doing and how to do it. Maybe Wade needs to be even more of his own defensive coordinator."

Two weeks ago against Tampa Bay, it looked as though that might be happening. The defensive intensity that day didn't seem to be matched in New Jersey last Sunday, but maybe the frustration of the offense carried over.

Except in St. Louis, Brad Johnson took his team down the field to start the game, giving the defense a 7-0 lead it couldn't hold.

Against Tampa Bay, the Bucs went out to a 6-0 lead. Johnson's offense was good enough to come back to win.

The point is, the offense wasn't any better in those two games. It will be next week, or at least it better be. But if they can't stop the Washington run better than they did in St. Louis or New Jersey, that offense better get back to scoring 35 in a hurry.

"That's our number one goal, stopping the run," linebacker Anthony Spencer said in the locker room Wednesday. "That's something we talk about all the time. We can't do anything if we can't stop the run."

And they can't do anything if they don't really, really, REALLY care. There are several differences in the NFL from Waters' rookie year of 1970 to now, and one of them is that no one made any serious money then, not by today's standards. And today, no one doesn't. Whoever the last player on the worst roster is can't make less than $295,000. That's the rookie minimum.

Has the money and the societal sense of entitlement dulled most players' sense of urgency, the drive to win that separates the best from the rest? Maybe.

What happens the rest of this Cowboys' season after this weekend's bye depends, given good health, on how many players want to realize the amazing opportunity they have. It depends on how many of them want to stretch and sacrifice. How many want to put "team" ahead of "me"?

The second half of the season provides the chance to be the most memorable couple of months of their professional lives.

It's all up to them. Who wants it?

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