Despite recent hiccups, Cowboys carry 6-1 record into their bye week Print
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Monday, 22 October 2007 15:00
NFL Headline News

 IRVING, Texas (AP) -On a cold, wet Monday, Wisconsin native Tony Romo ventured out wearing shorts, sandals and a T-shirt. More importantly for the Dallas Cowboys, there was no bandage around his right hamstring and no hitch in his stride.
Romo is just fine and so are the Cowboys, who are starting their bye week with the best record in the NFC.
``I think we're just really happy to be 6-1,'' Romo said. ``Honestly, it's tough winning six out of seven games in this league.''
Yet for all their success, the Cowboys have only a one-game lead in their division. The New York Giants (5-2) and right behind them as are the Washington Redskins (4-2).
And guess what follows the bye? A three-game stretch against the rest of the division, starting with games at Philadelphia and the Giants, then home against the Redskins.
No wonder Dallas players were so happy about beating the Minnesota Vikings 24-14 Sunday.
``It's definitely big to get a win before the bye,'' linebacker Bradie James said. ``We feel good as far as being confident. And when we get back we'll be rested and ready to make a bid for the NFC East.''
Romo is confident he'll be ready to go, too.
He strained his hamstring shortly before halftime while trying to make a tackle on a fumble return. Actually, he'd already given up on making a play and was just trying to get out of the way of a violent collision when he ended up sliding awkwardly.
``I didn't play enough baseball when I was a kid,'' Romo said, laughing.
He didn't miss a play, but was obviously limited. After completing 28 passes in the first half, he hit only three in the second half. Several misfires seemed to be caused by Romo not being able to set his feet.
``I felt like if I put pressure on it, it was going to tear or something,'' he said. ``Trainers told me ... you're not going to hurt it any worse, so you just go out and play.''
``Playing through pain'' became another item checked off the list of Romo's accomplishments in his budding career, which celebrates a milestone Tuesday: the 1-year anniversary of him going in for Drew Bledsoe at halftime of a Monday night game against the Giants. The job has been his ever since.
``I tell you, he's a competitor, man,'' tight end Jason Witten said. ``That showed the team and fans what he's all about. He's a savvy player and a competitor. He really is tough. To go back out there the way he did really showed a lot.''
Romo expects he'll have to deal with some tightness and soreness for a few days. Coach Wade Phillips indicated he won't ask Romo to do too much in practice Wednesday and Thursday, just to be safe. Romo is confident he'll be ready to go a week from Sunday against the Eagles.
``I suspect just about any injury outside of a break or something you'd be fine in two weeks,'' Romo said.
Phillips is hoping the same will be true for some other things that are bothering his club.
The Cowboys have made things tougher on themselves the past three weeks with turnovers and penalties. They were still good enough to eke out wins over lowly Buffalo and Minnesota, but against New England the mistakes let a third-quarter lead turn into a 21-point loss.
``I don't think we're at our best yet,'' Witten said. ``Too many negative plays for us are holding us down a little bit.''
Coaches have compiled a list of things that need improvement and Phillips plans to make those the focus of this week's work. While the offense, defense and special teams all have things to clean up, Phillips added that ``all of our groups are 6-1.''
The bye also is a chance for other players to get healthy.
Cornerback Terence Newman can rest his foot and knee, and linebacker Greg Ellis can continue his recovery from a torn Achilles' tendon - although he looked healed while starting and getting two sacks Sunday.
Fullback Oliver Hoyte is over his neck injury and should return to practice Wednesday. Cornerback Anthony Henry could return next week, if not this one.
The Cowboys also will continue bringing along nose tackle Tank Johnson as he gets ready to debut Nov. 11. They still hold out hope that receiver Terry Glenn will come back from knee surgery.
``We could make a lot of excuses if we were losing games,'' Phillips said. ``I'm glad we're not losing because I don't want to be making those excuses.''
 

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