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Sun Shining In


When the moon is in the Seventh House
  And Jupiter aligns with Mars
  Then peace will guide the planets
  And love will steer the stars
  This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
  Age of Aquarius

Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick), along with strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh, but after that "hope to get good results from two or three players," meaning Alan Ball, Mike Hamlin and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. 

And of course, the decision to put all their kicking eggs in David Buehler's lap, knowing they have "burned the boats" by making last year's NFL touchback leader the only kicker on the 80-man camp roster without having seen him make an NFL field goal yet. 

"Unlike the $2 million kicker," Jones said in reference to the debacle of signing Mike Vanderjagt on 2006, "we're going to go with how it looks and feels, and don't want to clutter the works. And if there is a concern after preseason, we'll go from there."  

Meaning, while there is no direct competition for Buehler here in camp, he's basically competing against every out of work kicker or soon to be out of work kicker out there. 

Plus, Jones kept prefacing his optimism with the word "today," knowing how quickly clouds can come rolling in once practice begins and injuries become inevitable. The trick, he says, is to figure out how to properly prepare a veteran-laden team but reduce the chances of major injury during these next six weeks and five preseason games. 

Predictions? No chance. Not with Jerry nor with Wade. 

The escape clause: Work on becoming a better team tomorrow than they are today. In other words, keep trying to improve one day at a time, and do not - do not - let the enormity of bettering last year's record, winning more than one playoff game and appearing in a Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium become overwhelming - adopting the monotonous mantras of quarterback Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. 

Boring, maybe, but true that. 

See, winning 11 games is not easy, and you can't do so in August. Assumptions based on last year's success can be damning. There is probably no need to point this out, but the Cowboys have not won 11 or more games in consecutive seasons since 1994 (12-4) and 1995 (12-4) when they had gone on a streak of winning at least 11 games for five consecutive seasons (1991-95). But prior to that, you would have to trace back to 1980-81 to find consecutive 12-win seasons, and who knows, the strike-shortened 1982 season might have prevented an incredible streak of nine consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins. 

That just doesn't happen today anymore. 

Just putting together 11-win seasons is not easy in the NFL. In fact, going back to 2006, only three teams have been able to win at least 11 games in consecutive seasons. Indianapolis has a current streak of seven going, dating back to the 2003 season. The Patriots had a streak of three, from 2006-08 and San Diego had back-to-backs in 2006-07. 

But that's it. So that ought to be sobering for any big heads out there. 

And one other thing: There seems to be this sense of worry because after the Cowboys' 13-3 season in 2007, they fell to 9-7 under similar same expectations in 2008. But let's remember a few things. The Cowboys went 1-2 that year with Tony Romo out with the fractured finger. They basically played without Kyle Kosier the entire season. Terence Newman only played 10 games that year. Marion Barber struggled through injuries. And Adams battled through a terrible hand injury, along with a banged up shoulder. 

Jerry remembers all too well. 

Even so, this team seems different. More mature. No phony leadership. More talent at running back, wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, linebacker and safety. No divisive players. And maybe best of all, more continuity and security on the coaching staff. 

The air is clear, at least to start. 

So come on, let's hear it for now. 

Let the sunshine in.      

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