Tony, Tony, He's Our Man

Staubach (1971), Beuerlein (1991), Troy Aikman (1992) and Quincy Carter (2003) - had at least started more than one full season. And White, hey, at least he had started games in the WFL and had backed up Staubach four full seasons before taking over in 1980.

It's not like they had thrown their first NFL pass one week and started a playoff game 12 weeks later. See what I mean about not being fair?

But you know what? If the past five games are any indication of how the Cowboys' defense will perform against the defending NFC champs up at their place, then you got no choice but to perform as a real NFL quarterback Saturday night. Buddy, you got to do your thing.

The Cowboys can't win this game with Bill Parcells & Offensive Associates calling a scared game. Not even if it's raining, and that's a 60 percent chance. Not unless the Cowboys' offensive line suddenly awakens in the running game, and what are the chances of that happening, since the Cowboys haven't rushed for more than 94 yards in the past three weeks.

Man, you gotta throw, and here's hoping you can throw with those weatherproof gloves on. (Hey, here's a tip: Go buy some Scotchgard. We used to spray that stuff on our jeans to stay dry back when there wasn't enough money to buy like real ski pants.)

Because the Cowboys are going to need you to throw the ball, and throw it effectively, and I'm guessing Parcells would take your line from the Detroit game - 23 of 32 for 321 yards, two touchdowns, one interception for a 111.6 QB rating - in a New York minute.

He needs you to throw, if for no other reason, the Seahawks have a crippled secondary. Their top three corners are out - starters Marcus Trufant and Kelly Herndon, along with third corner Jimmy Williams. They must now start safety Jordan Babineaux and rookie Kelly Jennings (one NFL start), and there is a possibility former Cowboys corner Pete Hunter, who has played in all of seven games over the past three seasons, could come in on the nickel. My gosh, he's going from possibly guarding our nation's border one week to guarding Seattle's line of scrimmage the next.

To exploit this perceived weakness, or to take advantage of whatever head coach Mike Holmgren decides to do to camouflage this weakness, the Cowboys will need you to step to the plate. None of this incessant dump-off stuff Parcells tried to get by with when Carter completed 21 of 36 passes for a grand total of 154 yards - that's a pitiful 4.3 yards per attempt - in the 29-10 loss at Carolina in 2003.

You see where a "bus driver" gets you in the playoffs.

Here's the other deal. You just got to hang onto the football back there. Two hands, right? Your mama would have whooped you back in Burlington had you brought home the loaf of bread like that, waving it all around silly and all. Seven fumbles in the last five games can't cut it. You saw what happened when you dropped the ball four times against even Detroit.

Now I know, it also would help if your offensive line stepped to the plate; realized this is a playoff game and picked up its intensity, not to mention play. Those guys have let you down, dude. There's all this talk about how you've been struggling. But no one pauses to consider how you've been sacked 12 times in the past four games. I don't think you've gotten stage fright back there. Or taken the time to think about why you've suddenly had to run the ball 14 times in the past four games, presumably to save a sack. I know you're confident, but no way you think you're Vince Young. I think I know you that well.

Plus, tell the big guys Seattle has registered only seven sacks in the past seven games. Maybe that, if nothing else, will shame them into helping you out.

And as for those interceptions of late, eight in the last five games? Look, getting an aggressive throw picked now and then, no problem. But no excuse for those loopy desperation ones, or those Our Fathers you've being throwing up of late. Can it.

Oh, also, hey, don't worry about Seattle's famed 12th Man, and all the noise they can be stir up at The Q. We've got your back in the press box. We'll make sure not one of those 67,000, rain-depressed folks steps foot onto the field to mess up your reads.

Well, that's about

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