Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Keeping one foot on the ground

The Cowboys are 4-0.

Those few words have power: the power to send a city, and beyond, into a euphoric tizzy. The power to make millions of fans giddy with excitement. But also the power to make them a little irrational. OK, a lot.

I'm already hearing those other two words being tossed around a little too lightly: Super Bowl. Playoffs? Fine. I expect this team to make the playoffs. I've also heard people openly wonder if Tony Romo is on par with Manning and Brady. I know getting carried away with kneejerk reactions is fun but it's a little early for the Super Bowl talk. My mission, and I do choose to accept it, is to keep the Cowboys fan grounded, even if it is only by the little piggy that went 'wee, wee, wee all the way home.'

They haven't played anybody. Their opponents have a combined three wins. Three. Can we at least wait until after the New England game?

They haven't played a good defense. But what about Chicago? Quite simply, they aren't that good. They are ranked 15th in yards allowed and 21st in points allowed, and they are the best of the bunch the 'Boys have seen so far. The Cowboys offense has looked good, but how much had that had to do with their opponents?

The offense. Don't get me wrong: they have looked great. But they are using the pass to set up the run and they aren't going to be able to do that every week, and certainly not in the playoffs. When the pass is taken away from them, with they be able to consistently run the ball? Maybe, but it is not a given.

Special teams.The special teams unit is losing the field position battles, particularly on punt coverage. So far, the offense and defense has been able to handle it, but again, against a good team, they are putting themselves in a hole.

Injuries. They are starting to get some players back who were injured in the pre-season, but how much longer are they going to be able to plug guys in? The Cowboys were one of the healthiest teams in the league last year, but I fear that streak is due to end.

The schedule is favorable, and the team should finish with a great record. I predicted 13-3 when the schedule was announced last spring and I still expect that to happen. But let's hold off on the Super Bowl talk for a few more weeks. In fact, here is a rallying cry for Cowboys' fans: 'Remember the Mavericks!'


Knotwurth Mentioning said...

Dealing with big expectations is one of those things that sports' fans simply don't do. In Ottawa, the Sens' fans are the perfect example: On a yearly basis, the team collapses in the playoffs. And yet, every year the fans find some sort of hope within the fact that the team is doing well in the regular season.

Truth be told, those little factors are of incredible importance, particularly when the time counts. In football, especially, one game and it's over. The lacking special teams, while not a concern over the full season, could come back to haunt them just when they need it most.

Winning the big championship is always so much tougher than anticipated. But then, I suppose those faithfuls should be allowed their optimism, since it's often the only thing they have going for them! ;)

PJ said...

I was amazed they won last night. I didn't think this team could survive such a horrible start by Romo. They fact they won that game says more to me than who they've played. I think that Buffalo played over their head, but the Cowboys showed incredible resiliency to come back. They still need to score in the first quarter. That would be nice. And I still think they get throttled this week. I'm very torn though.

Chris said...

I think the Buffalo game completely justified this post. People who are talking undefeated season (moreso for the Pats) need to slow it down a bit. Strange things happen, even in games you should win easily.

Having said that, I haven't made up my mind about this week's game. If the Cowboys had won easily, I would have picked the Pats. Maybe this was a wake up call for the 'Boys? Maybe they beat NE? Not that they need to; a strong showing, starting in the first quarter, would be sufficient.