* If you think it's too early to say the Cowboys are a critical point of the season then you would be wrong. Being 2-2 after four games is a huge disappointment. They should be 3-1 headed to 4-1 with the hapless Chiefs up next. But the Cowboys are 2-2 and looking like the middling team they are.
The season is far from over and they have time to get it right. But looking at the tough late season schedule and the competition in the NFC for playoff spots, the light must come on now.
The Bears, Vikings, Packers, Falcons, Saints, Eagles, Giants, 49ers and Cardinals will all be factors in the NFC playoff chase. It's unlikely a 9-7 team makes the playoffs. To get to 10-6, the Cowboys must go 8-4 the rest of the way. Remember they have still have home games against the Falcons,Eagles, Redskins and Chargers. More importantly they still have road games at Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, Green Bay and Washington
.Considering the way, the Cowboys looked Sunday it's not a given that they beat the teams they are supposed to beat like the Saints, Raiders and Seahawks.
What about the Cowboys so far gives anyone hope they will lose just four games the rest of the way?
So yeah, this is a critical time. The Cowboys need to do something to build hope inside and outside the organization.
* Tony Romo is not comfortable with this new game manager, bus driver role. He has not found middle ground between being a gunslinger and playing smart, mistake free football. They Cowboys don't want him to be reckless but they also dont want him to be scared to make plays. He doesn't look downfield anymore because he's scared of making mistakes.
* You want to know why Romo targeted Champ Bailey so much on Sunday? It's simple, Romo is a right handed quarterback and throwing to that side of the field is the easiest throw to make. Go back and think of all the plays the Cowboys have made this season. Most have come on the right side of the field. It wasn't about thinking they could beat Bailey, it was the easiest throw and simplest read for Romo. That is a problem. He must use the whole field.
* Roy Williams may or may not be a No. 1 receiver. But he is better than what he's shown so far this year. Romo still doesn't trust him. Williams is a guy you through to when he is covered. A suddenly gun shy Romo is now only throwing to guys who are open. If there is no separation, Romo is not throwing the ball. That is not reality in the NFL. You have to have trust and throw to guys who are covered or throw them open. Its high schoolish to think you only throw when a guy is open. Also that Williams often plays on the weakside is hinderance between I stated earlier, Romo is favoring the right side of the field. There is no way Patrick Crayton should be getting as many passes as Williams. That is the only explanation.
* What's going on with Marty B? He is not the beast he was in the preseason. But before you try to blame it on some Martian karma or misplaced moon rock, this aint on Marty B. This is not about him not doing what it takes or not being focused because of his outside interests. He is doing a good job in the run game _ save for the critical holding call against the Broncos. Romo is just not targeting him in the passing game.And the Cowboys are not designing plays to get him the ball. Simply put, we were sold a bill of goods in the preseason.
* Linebacker Keith Brooking is a player and a leader. He is passionate and he cares. He is who I thought Zach Thomas would be. Thomas didn't become a leader last season because it was his first year and he deferred to the tenured Cowboys. Brooking has come in in his first year and has already established himself as a leader. If the Cowboys turn it around it will be because of some of the work that Brooking is doing on the field and in the locker room.
* Keep an eye on Jay Ratliff's snaps. He thrived last season partly because Tank Johnson was capable of enough to give him rest. Ratliff is playing more this year with Johnson gone. He has been a beast so far this season. But it could take its toll later in the season. Remember Ratliff is an undersized nose tackle. So there might be some wear and tear.
* Don't look now. But cornerback Mike Jenkins is looking more and more like the guy the Cowboys picked in the first round last season. He is making plays and he starting to develop a swagger about his game.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.