NASHVILLE, Tennessee – What felt unattainable after Week 1 now looks promising after Week 2.
The loss/win/win/loss pattern the Dallas Cowboys have dutifully followed for years running remains the best way to the ultimate goal of 8-8.
The Cowboys have an NFL record four straight seasons of .500 in their sights, and it is once again theirs for the taking. The Cowboys visit the St. Louis Rams next Sunday, and host the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. After September, the Cowboys should be 2-2 with a chance to blow it in Week 17.
All sarcasm aside, the Cowboys' 26-10 win against the Titans on Sunday is the joys of the Jerry Coaster this team has taken you on for roughly a decade.
Twice since the 2003 season have the Dallas Cowboys been completely out of it by the start of December:
2004: This was Bill Parcells’ second season, and the team was 4-7 by the start of December.
2010: This was the season Wade Phillips was fired after a 1-7 start.
Other than those two dismal years, the team has been around the playoff chatter every time since ’03.
At a minimum the Cowboys do maintain the ability of holding our interest for nearly the entire duration of the regular season, making every game count in the standings more than draft order.
Granted, paying close attention to all of this can be hazardous to your health and drive you to drink, but thus far in 2014 the Jerry Coaster is humming just fine, and 8-8 is still attainable.
OTHER WEEK 2 POST OP OBSERVATIONS
Kicker Dan Bailey (find Dan Bailey on Twitter here) is the pound for pound best player on the team. It sounds silly that a kicker should receive this type of love, but along with right tackle Tyron Smith, Bailey is this team’s most consistent player.
Bailey was 4 for 4 on field goals, and is one of the top three in the league at his position.
He has missed two kicks in his last 18 games, and is kicking at a 91.3 success rate in his career.
He will be part of a larger discussion but the way linebacker Rolando McClain (click here for McClain's profile on NFL.com) is playing is serving as a legit substitute for Sean Lee. McClain looks like the No. 8 pick in the draft.
For the majority of the season, people will fear McClain’s interest in the game and his ability to remain injury free, but through the first two games of the season he has been everywhere and the team’s best front seven player.
Against the Titans, he had a sack and as athletic of an interception that could happen. He should have had been able to allow to return that interception for a touchdown in the second half but the refs blew the call.
In two games, he has 12 tackles, one pass break up, one interception and one sack.
Jake Locker is the second coming of Vince Young. The Titans starting QB is big, athletic and he can move but he is not an accurate passer. Locker was 18 of 34 passing for 234 yards with two interceptions.
Other than the opening drive of the second half, Locker struggled throughout and he needs to do more to convince Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt he has a guy who can save his job.
Cowboys corner Orlando Scandrick is closer to returning if the NFL and the NFLPA can agree to a new drug testing policy, and when he does come back from his four-game suspension Sterling Moore is going to make the secondary crowded. Moore is making himself noticed by making plays in the secondary and at the line of scrimmage.
On Sunday, Moore was credited with five tackles, one tackle for loss, two passes defended and one forced fumble.
Because the Cowboys invested so much in Morris Claiborne, Moore may not be a threat to start but he is going to take snaps away from somebody.
Cowboys right tackle Doug Free struggled badly in the first half and allowed at least two of the four sacks to Tony Romo. The outside first step taken by a handful of Titans' pass rushers gave Free fits. Asis the case with many right tackles, space is the enemy.
On the other side, however, Tyron Smith cleared space for DeMarco Murray on many of his long carries.
One week after Mo Claiborne and Brandon Carr each played zone coverage most of the game, both corners were allowed to do what they are better suited to do - play near the line and use their hands to press.
"We talked about it on the bench - how we would be rather be closer to the line of scrimmage rather than play zone," Claiborne said. "Coach did a great job of mixing it up and kept us down more than we had last week."
Should you re-watch the game, try to find Dez Bryant on the Cowboys' first snap from scrimmage. The Titans lined up two corners on him at the line as if Bryant was a gunner on special teams.
The Cowbys travel to St. Louis in Week 3. The last time the Dallas Cowboys played in St. Louis was Oct. 19, 2008.
This was the infamous game before hand then Cowboys corner Adam "Pacman" Jones said, "They're the Rams, dude."
The Cowboys were without Tony Romo, and backup Brad Johnson quickly showed he was done.
The Cowboys scored a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead, and the Rams scored three first quarter touchdowns and 34 consecutive points to win 34-14.
This was one of two wins for the Rams that season. The Cowboys finished 9-7.
Facebook Mac Engel