Owens confident Dallas will be ready despite slow preseason start

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens scoffs at any notion that there is reason to worry about the Dallas Cowboys after losing their first two preseason games.

"We'll be fine once the season starts," Owens said Tuesday. "I promise you."

So, no concerns that the first-team offense was mostly ineffective in the second game after scoring a touchdown on its only possession in the opener, without a pass from Tony Romo to T.O.?


The Cowboys' Terrell Owens is one of the best wide receiver options in fantasy football according to NFL.com's Michael Fabiano:

» 1.: Randy Moss, Vikings
» 2.: Terrell Owens, Cowboys
» 3.:Reggie Wayne, Colts
» 4.: Braylon Edwards, Browns
» 5.:Andre Johnson, Texans

"I mean you can never really get a full or a great assessment just by playing a few plays here, a quarter," Owens said.

That is expected to change Friday night in the third preseason game, when coach Wade Phillips plans to play his starters into the second half against the Houston Texans.

Owens has three catches for 20 yards, all coming within a span of five plays on the same drive in the second game. And that possession netted only 24 yards after being bogged down by three penalties.

"Once the preseason is over, I think it's almost like another switch is turned off and another one is turned on," said Owens, who caught a Cowboys-record 15 TD passes last season. "We can't really gauge by how the season may go just by the way the preseason goes."

They better hope that's true, because the Cowboys have had two mistake-filled and penalty-plagued games against San Diego and Denver, not that kind of performances anticipated for a team with such high expectations.

Despite the disappointing finish last season with the home playoff loss to the New York Giants, the Cowboys did win 13 games and were the NFC's top seed.

Dallas has basically the same players from a year ago and is considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Owens and Romo are among seven Pro Bowl players back on the Cowboys offense that averaged 366 yards while setting numerous team passing records and scoring the second-most points in the NFL (455).

And, don't forget there were also five Dallas defenders and a kicker who went to Hawaii.

While Owens expects the Cowboys to be ready for their Sept. 7 opener at Cleveland, he's trying not to get too far ahead of things.

"Obviously everybody wants to win the Super Bowl," Owens said. "My goal is different. My mentality in a sense is I want to win a Super Bowl, but we can't win a Super Bowl without winning a playoff game. So my thinking is let's win a playoff game."

The Cowboys have gone 11 seasons without winning a playoff game, though Owens believes that might have been changed last year had he gotten more chances against the Giants.

After catching nine passes for 212 yards with four touchdowns (all at least 22 yards) in the two regular-season victories over New York, Owens caught only four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in the playoff loss -- all in the first half.

"If you go back and watch that game, I felt like I could have done more," Owens said.

Owens insists that he was capable of doing more despite having missed the regular-season finale because of a high ankle sprain sustained in the 15th game of the season. He had three weeks between the time he got hurt and the playoff game.

"I just tried to make the best of the opportunities that were thrown at me," Owens said. "It was just like when I played in the Super Bowl with the Eagles, I told the coach if I am on the field, treat me as if I am 100 percent. I don't think (the Cowboys) did that at that time."

Notes: Owner Jerry Jones said he's not interested in signing WR Joe Horn, cut Tuesday by Atlanta. The Cowboys are without WR Miles Austin (sprained right knee) for 4-6 weeks and waived WR Terry Glenn at the start of camp. ... CB Terence Newman (groin) said he is "getting stronger" and is ready to get back to practice after being sidelined for three weeks. Coach Wade Phillips has said, without being specific, that Newman could practice this week. ... The Cowboys will practice Wednesday night at Texas Stadium, a public event marking the start of their final season in the venue.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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