Dallas Cowboys – Pre-Season Outlook


by Mandolin Hooper

There it is. That all-too-familiar combination of optimism and skepticism. As the summer days grow hotter, that growing sense of nervousness. As September inches closer, the silently-repeated mantra, “Don’t mess this up, guys.”

For when Maxwell Anderson wrote, “One hasn’t got time for the waiting game,” he was writing about every offseason of these post-dynasty Dallas Cowboys.

Quincy Carter replaces Tony Banks. Bill Parcells retires. The practice facility collapses. Doctors play around some more with the indispensable quarterback’s spine.

It’s always something. Something to make you say, “Let’s get this show on the road already.” And God knows, it’s always a show.

We’re saying that even louder in 2015, especially wanting to get on the road after last season’s undefeated record on foreign ground. Well, undefeated except for that last one when Dez Bryant was too good for the rules.

Speaking of that “Dez” fellow, we can all breathe easy after the eleventh hour signing that will make him the face of America’s Team through 2020. Not that anyone ever seriously doubted that outcome, but jeez, Jerry, go easy on our hearts.

If the Cardiac Cowboys give you reason to drink in the fall and winter, they sure as hell give you reason to chain-smoke in the spring and summer.

How good can this Mystery Defense be? How much can first-round talent Randy Gregory contribute if he fell to be a second-round pick? How much will Tony Romo’s healthy offseason involvement further this already far-along offense? Where does La’el Collins fit into this beastly line? Will Greg Hardy be as dominant as in years past? Does Morris Claiborne sleep at night? And for the love of all that is holy, is Byron Jones a cornerback or a safety?

Look. Here’s the thing. We know this team is good. We know this team is great. We know the defense got a good bit better on paper. We know they have the greatest wide receiver since (and maybe even including) Randy Moss. We know Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If you don’t believe me, get your iPhone out and ask Siri who the single best is and I guarantee you she ain’t gonna say Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck or Tom Brady. We finally know they can do it in December – last year’s 4-0 record should prove that. We know so much that we don’t even need to know the answers to most of those questions.

So shhh, take a Flexeril and hurry up and wait until September.

“For it’s a long, long while…”

The reason that my local smoke shop is sold out of Old Golds is because I remember what happened the last time anyone looked at Dallas’ chances in a positive light in these hot and humid months.


Head coach fired, which was fine by me, because I still say Wade Philips was to Bill Parcells what Barry Switzer was to Jimmy Johnson – an incompetent coach winning with another man’s roster.

The hopes of being the first team to play on their own turf in the Super Bowl being dashed as loss after loss piled up.

So yeah, color me nervous.

Color me predicting a regression back to that good ol’ 8-8 or even the Dave Campo days of 5-11.

Color me predicting Tony Romo and Jerry Jones grinning from ear to ear, holding that Lombardi Trophy over their heads as proudly as a southern belle holds God in her heart.

Color me scared and excited and confused and confident and, obviously, conflicted.

Color me counting the days as they dwindle down to a precious few until September 13th.

Don’t worry. Tony’s not holding the kicks anymore.

But you know it’s still gonna be a helluva good show.

That’s what the Dallas Cowboys are here for.


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