Sunday, June 21, 2009

No, the Cowboys don't appear to be going away

June 20, 1:42 AM · Gordie Jones - Philadelphia Eagles Examiner

When last we left the Dallas Cowboys, they were serving as roadkill for the Eagles, the Birds joyously trouncing their hated rivals 44-6 in the 2008 season finale.

The Eagles, as a result, went to the playoffs – and nearly the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys went home, having seen a season that began with so much hope and hype – remember “Hard Knocks”? – wind up in the dumpster.

Since then, there has been surprisingly little buzz about Dallas, especially in comparison to last year and the year before. Sure, the Cowboys' new stadium has attracted plenty of attention, but the team? Not so much. Now the NFC East focus is on the Birds and the Giants. Now the consensus is that they are the cream of a division that will be its usual rugged self.

But there is plenty of reason to believe that the Cowboys will be more dangerous than ever, not the least of which is the addition-by-subtraction move to rid themselves of Terrell Owens.

The Daily News’ Rich Hofmann noted in his blog Friday this Yahoo Sports story about the move, in which Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones (Jerry’s kid) expresses the opinion that quarterback Tony Romo will be a more effective leader without Owens there to undermine him.

It remains to be seen how the rest of the equation adds up. But there is some reason to believe that Roy Williams will be a better receiver in a non-T.O.-centered offense (as long as Romo and tight end Jason Witten don't have too many secret meetings, of course). That running back Felix Jones, limited to six games as a rookie in ‘08 because of injury, will be a major factor. That the defense can still be a force.

And as a result, there is plenty of reason to believe Dallas will be right where it usually is – in the middle of the division race.

Which might not be what you want to hear. Just wanted to give you an early heads-up.