Will Cowboys' Optimism Give Way To Stark Reality?

Wednesday, September 5th 2007, 10:48 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ A different sense of anticipation is surrounding the Dallas Cowboys this week.

Stark reality can quickly replace the rosy optimism that only got fueled by decisive preseason victories.

Heading into Wade Phillips' real debut at home Sunday night against NFC East rival New York Giants, there are already a few potential problems:

_ There are missing pieces on defense, with the status of starters cornerback Terence Newman (right heel) and linebacker Greg Ellis (Achilles' tendon) uncertain for the opener and maybe longer.

Backup linebacker Kevin Burnett (ankle) is also hurt.

_ Add to Newman's uncertainty the unexpected release of veteran Aaron Glenn, and the Cowboys have big questions at cornerback.

_ Glenn's departure not only eliminated a nickel corner, but took away a 14-year pro and locker room leader who didn't fit Phillips' criteria.

_ Quarterback Tony Romo goes into the season without one of his primary coaches, with new quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson serving a five-game NFL suspension.

_ Terry Glenn didn't play any preseason games in Garrett's offense after arthroscopic surgery last month to remove loose cartilage from his knee.