Wade's Even-Keel Approach Only Way To Go

Newman, Kyle Kosier, Felix Jones and Anthony Spencer - will at least miss the Giants game, with a good chance of that list of injured prime players expanding since tight end Jason Witten (ribs) and corner Anthony Henry (quad) seem on the wrong side of questionable at this point. 

  No wonder defensive coordinator Brian Stewart didn't act like the cat who ate the canary after his defense enabled the Cowboys to win a game scoring no more than 13 points for the first time in the past 58. 

  "I think it truly should be measured at the end (of the season)," is how Stewart stiff-armed those questions about the quality of his defense away quite deftly.  

  "That's the fairest way to do it . . . just (evaluate) us at the end of the season." 

  Of course, few want to accept that, or Phillips' very simplistic reasoning for the defense playing to a night and day difference from St. Louis to Tampa Bay. Why, it just had to be Wade becoming more involved in the defense or Wade waving off the normal Saturday walk-through practice at The Ranch or Zach Thomas and Ken Hamlin talking to the team. 

  It's like, come on, it just had to be something more than just playing better and executing, that's just too simple. But look, think about this: How many times do you think a player or three have spoken up and a team still loses? Afraid we never hear about those. 

  If football were as simple as only needing a talkin' to and, presto, you win, then please, sign me up. I'll volunteer to become the official jaw-flapper around here. 

  So to me, the best thing about Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay is perspective was not lost. There still is a long way to go and there still are a slew of prominent players injured and unavailable, no matter if the Cowboys are playing the Giants or the Chiefs. 

  "It's just big to get to five," Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. "You know, winning in this league is hard. 

  "But the star can't shine so bright you don't get back to the grindstone like we did this week." 

  Spears knows. He now sees 11 teams in the NFC standing somewhere between 6-1 and 4-4. He knows every team in the NFC East has a winning record. He knows if you take four division winners out of that 11, then seven teams legitimately are fighting for two wild-card spots. And on top of that, he probably didn't realize the four teams in the NFC East are the only teams in the NFL ranked in the top 10 offensively and defensively. 

  Man, you look down that road, knowing you still have to play four more division games (three on the road), along with games against division-leader Pittsburgh and the 4-3 Baltimore Ravens - that's six of the next eight games against teams with winning records - you might have an anxiety attack. 

  So maybe Wade is right. Steady as she goes. No swerving, no matter if the bank is high or the ditch is low, wild emotional swings from the leader apt to cause either panic or complacency. Just keep plowing ahead and count 'em up at the end. 

  And as boring as this may sound, maybe Hamlin is right, too, when asked about the importance of this Sunday's game with the Giants, saying, "It's important to win because it's the next game," then eschewing any idea that revenge for that playoff loss will be on their minds with an emphatic "No." 

  Maybe this is a good environment, because if the coaching staff and players reacted as most fans and media do, fluctuating from one extreme to the other on a weekly basis, these guys, with all that's taken place this first half of the 2008 season, already would have been on someone's couch, babbling something about their mamas. 

  So from here on out it's just best to keep it real, on this even keel.                                                                                       

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