Practice Makes Perfect?
Tony Romo is healthy. Terrell Owens is happy. And, at 2-0, the Cowboys’ Super Bowl train is preparing to leave the station. OK, let’s not get carried away.
In their last game the Cowboys scored only one more point than the Rangers’ 30 from the other night. But, truth be told, the pre-season has been so far, so great. We’ll get a little -- I stress little -- better idea of the team we’ll see September 9 against the New York Giants when Dallas endures its “dress rehearsal” exhibition game against the Texans tomorrow night in Houston. The starters are expected to play three quarters, then only sparingly in Thursday’s pre-season finale against Minnesota.
Not that matters, but Texans coach Gary Kubiak said last week that Dallas was “playing the best pre-season football in the NFL.” Which is akin to saying Bill Parcells is a swell guy when he’s sleeping.
The Cowboys went 3-1 in the ’89 pre-season before stumbling to 1-15 and went 2-3 in ’92 before going 13-3 and winning the Super Bowl. Still, you can’t totally discount their hot August.
The Cowboys have gotten the ball to T.O., protected Romo, rejuvenated running back Julius Jones and, on defense, have suffocated the Colts and Broncos to only 84 yards on 34 rushes. The Broncos were so impressed they accused Dallas of breaking some pre-season code, otherwise known as playing too hard and too good.
If you’re into fake football, Saturday’s game is important for 2006 No. 1 draft pick Bobby Carpenter, now moving back to outside linebacker in an attempt to get on the field. And the pre-season’s best competition will also continue, as kickers Martin Gramatica and Nick Folk try to earn a leg up on the job. Gramatica booted kick offs into the end zone last week, while Folk, the team’s 6th-round draft pick, nailed a 52-yard field. Mike Vanderwhoo? --Richie Whitt