PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08: Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after he sacked Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys won 20-16. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
In many ways, Wade Phillips and company will be fighting an uphill battle in 2010.
The Cowboys of next year will be going against not only the third-toughest schedule in the league (as determined by ESPN), but also against some mountainous external expectations. These, fueled in part by the fact that Dallas will play host to Super Bowl XLV, may be as Drew Pearson called them "an injustice"; but they're also a reality.
The Cowboys themselves, as they should, are doing their best to ignore these expectations--another task in itself, considering their utter ubiquity in Dallas.
Cowboys' nose tackle Jay Ratliff, in an appearance Thursday on ESPN Radio 103.3's Galloway and Company, went so far as to describe the expectations as a "trap." Indeed, this may be an accurate assessment, considering what happened in 2008--but we won't open old wounds.
"Nope," Ratliff said, when asked if he thought about the Super Bowl. "I’m not talking about it and I’m not thinking about it. Right now, I’m just thinking about training camp and then when the time comes, I’ll be thinking about the game we’re playing that week. But, I’m not looking ahead, I’m not falling in that trap, not going to happen. And we have a very mature team and I’m pretty sure the other guys won’t either."