There are pluses and minuses to starting your season three full days ahead of the rest of the league.
It's nice to get a little extra rest come Week Two, but that's balanced by less time to go from making cuts at the end of August to playing a game in the first week of September. It's nice to get to play spoiler to a defending Super Bowl champion, but that's balanced by the interminable wait for a second game.
That game really needs to get here because we really need something other than the Giants game to fuel our thoughts about this Cowboys team. More than a week of writing, thinking and contemplating what that win means has led some people to take flight from reason.
Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com, for one. He's decided to declare Jason Garrett's overhaul of the roster since taking over as head coach a smashing success on the back of just one game.
"This is not just a different team, it has a different vibe. The victory over the Giants provided Garrett's team with tangible, irrefutable evidence that his process works," Taylor writes. "It doesn't mean the Cowboys will win the NFC East. Or go to the Super Bowl. Or even the NFC Championship game. What means is that if the Cowboys play to their ability and maximize their potential, they're capable of beating the league's best teams."
It sounds good, but the truth is that is exactly the same place the Cowboys were in last year. And the year before that and the entire Wade Phillips era and so on and so on and so on. The Cowboys have always been capable of beating the league's best teams and they've done it on more than one occasion in recent years, even as the seasons themselves have gone up in flames.
Beating the Giants doesn't prove anything is different because the question has never been about what the Cowboys are capable of when they play their best. The question has been their ability to play their best for 60 minutes a game, 16 times (or more) in a year. That has been the question about Tony Romo, it's been the question about the rest of the offense and it has been the question about just about every Cowboys team since Jimmy Johnson left and Jerry Jones became the king of kings in the organization.
The Cowboys of last week were tougher, more physical and much more resilient than the ones we saw at the end of the 2011 season. Declaring those less appealing Cowboys dead and gone for ever is beyond premature at this point, though.
Unless Taylor's going to write this same column after the Cowboys lose three straight games in agonizing fashion, it's just puffery based on the smallest of possible sample sizes. That doesn't mean he's wrong, but it does mean that you can't say that a "process" is successful until you've reached an end point more meaningful than the second week of a season.