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DMN: No excuses should be Cowboys' mantra


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No excuses should be Cowboys' mantra

Too bad it's still is "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, about dem boyz"

As the Cowboys embark upon the 2007 season, let it be known this is the year of no excuses.

Not a single one. From anybody on the roster.

The majority of players have made it clear they're glad former coach Bill Parcells decided to retire for a variety of reasons. They've made it clear they like Wade Phillips' relaxed atmosphere. And they've made it clear they like Phillips' aggressive approach on offense.

Nothing's wrong with any of that. They're certainly entitled to prefer one coach's methods over another.

But if the season ends with anything less than a Super Bowl win, let's not hear any excuses about what went wrong. This is not to suggest this is a Super Bowl-or-bust season for the Cowboys – it can't be when Dallas hasn't won a playoff game since 1996 – but the players have made it clear they expect to compete with the elite teams in the NFC.

And they should. There's plenty of talent on the roster and no dominant team resides in the NFC. :laugh: (insert no evil monkeys pic)

The players have the coach they want, the scheme they want and the atmosphere they want.

Now it's time to take care of business. :rolleyes:


Cowboys players have responded well to the approach of coach Wade Phillips.

Q: I see a lot of NFL players getting in trouble now. The Cowboys have mostly been trouble-free when they had the tough disciplinarians as coaches. Do you see a trend of players getting in trouble from teams where the coaches are considered "laid back" and do you think Wade Phillips may be one of those coaches?

Joe DaValt

TAYLOR: Nope. Keith Davis was shot twice in separate incidents with Parcells as coach. Don't get me wrong, the coach makes a difference. The organization makes more of a difference. The Cowboys decided as an organization – led by Jerry Jones' decision to hire Calvin Hill to start up a program to keep players out of trouble – that they didn't want players with a history of legal or off-the-field issues. They stopped drafting players like that and stopped signing players like that in free agency. The result: fewer incidents.


Q: Who are a couple of players that aren't quite good enough to make the Cowboys' final roster, but another team would love to steal away from the practice squad?

Bernard Henry

TAYLOR: Two guys who quickly come to mind are cornerback Jacques Reeves and receiver Sam Hurd. I wouldn't be surprised if either guy made the team, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were released. If the Cowboys keep five receivers, you figure Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton and fourth-round pick Isaiah Stanback make the team. That means Miles Austin and Hurd will battle for the final spot. Austin is bigger, faster and stronger, which might give him a slight edge. As for Reeves, you figure Anthony Henry, Terence Newman and Aaron Glenn have made the team. That leaves Reeves and a pair of seventh-round draft picks fighting for one or two spots. Reeves is scheduled to make $850,000 this year. If he is not significantly better than one of the rookies, the Cowboys may opt to go younger and save money.


Q: I think the Cowboys' win-loss record this year will depend largely on the performances of both their offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line, which seems a bit unsettled, still paved the way for 425 points in 2006. The defensive line underachieved last year. The skill players on offense and the depth at linebacker look good enough to make the playoffs in 2007. Your thoughts?

Pierre Fréchette, Montreal

TAYLOR: You could say that almost every year because the NFL is all about running the ball and stopping the run. On the offensive line, Leonard Davis is an upgrade over Marco Rivera. Defensive ends Marcus Spears and Chris Canty should be better in their third season, and that should make the defensive line better.


Q: I'm comfortable viewing Patrick Crayton as our future starter when T.O. and/or Terry Glenn retire, and for now we bask in the luxury of a very high quality No. 3 receiver. He brings the same value to the offense that Jay Novacek had in the mid-1990s (and the same number, coincidentally).

Tim Williams, Plano

TAYLOR: Obviously, I think he's a valuable player. It's hard to find guys who effectively work the middle of the field, but he's one. You need toughness on every team, and he helps provide the Cowboys with that.


Q: In your recent chat, you mentioned that Anthony Spencer would start by Thanksgiving. Am I correct to assume that you meant he would start in place of Mr. Ellis?

Thad Bartholow

TAYLOR: If Spencer starts, it will be at Greg Ellis' outside linebacker spot. He doesn't have to get double-digit sacks, but he needs to be a difference-maker for the Cowboys to have an effective pass rush this season.


Q: I've seen a lot of talk about how Roy Williams will be used near the line in the new defense. I don't have film to look at, but it seems to me that most of Roy's coverage problems usually occurred when he was forced to pick up a receiver near the line of scrimmage and then run with him. The best coverage plays I remember from him were when he was back in coverage, playing center field, and could watch the QB and make a break on the ball. Am I crazy?

Blair Pearce

TAYLOR: No, but I'm taking the same approach as Roy on this issue. Let's just wait until the preseason and the first month of the season to get a real feel for how the Cowboys are going to use him. I believe Wade Phillips is going to place him close to the line of scrimmage, but I've got to see it before I believe it.


Q: Remember Manny Lawson? Is there a reason the Cowboys didn't draft him? Like Bobby Carpenter, he wouldn't have started and could have made the switch gradually.

Chris J., Toronto

TAYLOR: He would've played the same position as DeMarcus Ware because the Cowboys didn't think he was big enough to start on the strong side, where he'd have to deal with tight ends on a regular basis.


Q: Has there been any talk or are there any plans to rekindle the rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins on Thanksgiving Day? It really doesn't matter where they play or what the records are, those games were always classics.

Albert L. Craig, Washington, D.C.

TAYLOR: The NFL is trying to get even more teams to play on Thanksgiving Day, so it's doubtful they would lock in a game that matches the same opponents each year – even if the Dallas-Washington rivalry is one of the best in sports. They do, however, seem to play every few years on Thanksgiving Day.


Q: What do you think the chances are the Cowboys will keep two kickers next season? They could use Martin Gramatica for field goals and their rookie kicker (Nick Folk) for kickoffs. What are your thoughts?

Bruce K. Magnuson, San Antonio

TAYLOR: I would be quite surprised if the Cowboys kept two kickers on their active roster, but not if they put Folk on the practice squad. A guy has to have a special skill like getting touchbacks most of the time to justify keeping two kickers.


Q: One thing that leads me to believe that the Cowboys will be good this year is that their roster looks fairly complete. There is not one person in the top 53 that I think should obviously be off the team. That has not been true in the recent past when you watch guys like Tyson Walter and ask "why is this guy in the NFL?"

Mike Myers

TAYLOR: You make a good point. Obviously this isn't a flawless team, but the Cowboys don't have a lot of bad players on the roster. Frankly, that's the first step toward being really good. The key is to have a roster with no bad players. Then you need to add some greatness, which is what this team is currently missing.

:laugh: :laugh:Classic Poke Fan Mantra to end on :applause:

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Please, they have a ton of built in excuses which will be pulled out en masse if they struggle.

Here are just some of the things you can expect to hear after this season:

1. New Head Coach - Year two is when it will all kick in.

2. Rookie Offensive Coordinator - He was feeling his way through the process but this year he knows his personnel and will really hit his stride.

3. Inexperienced QB - This was his first full year starting and with a new offensive system you had to expect some growing pains.

4. New Defensive System - We all know it takes a year to become comfortable.

5. Wow it feels good to get TO out of the locker room. He was such a cancer and the team will really start to come together now.

6. I can feel it. The offensive line is actually going to be a strength this year instead of the debacle it has been for the last umpteen years.

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As for Reeves, you figure Anthony Henry, Terence Newman and Aaron Glenn have made the team. That leaves Reeves and a pair of seventh-round draft picks fighting for one or two spots.

So let me get this straight behind Glenn is Reeves and two seventh round rookies?! OMG - Boys fans had better pray Henry and Glenn hold up!!

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