Parcells dismisses notion of big game for Cowboys

Updated: October 8, 2003, 7:08 PM ET

IRVING, Texas -- A chance to remain in sole possession of first place in the NFC East. An opportunity to beat division rival Philadelphia for the first time in four years. It's a BIG game for the Dallas Cowboys, right?

"No, absolutely not. It's just game No. 5," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said Wednesday. "It's a divisional opponent and that puts a little more emphasis on it. By the same token, it's really not relevant right now, I don't think."

Parcells doesn't want the Cowboys (3-1) to get too excited about a three-game winning streak. And he's not worried about a six-game losing streak against Philadelphia (2-2), which has won those games by an average margin of 23 points.

"History doesn't mean anything in football, but the lesson does," he said. "I'm big on what causes you to lose in football. Take that and look at it ... you can find the answer. You can learn if you use it to your advantage."

If the Cowboys lose Sunday, it won't break their season. They're guaranteed another week with at least a share of the division title, which they have outright for the first time since 1999. They started 3-0 that season before losing to Philadelphia.

But winning against the Eagles would have positive ramifications, and more than just in the standings after three straight 5-11 seasons.

"If we want to get where we expect to get, we have to beat them. We know what Philly has done to us," said receiver Joey Galloway.

"It's another step to building more confidence," said tight end Dan Campbell. "And that's an extra game up on a division opponent, which makes it that much more special."

Dallas hasn't been in position to pick up its fourth win this early in the season since 1999.

Last year, the Cowboys didn't have their first chance at win No. 4 until the seventh week of the season, then lost four games in a row. Dallas didn't win its fourth game in 2001 until week 12, and until week 10 in 2000.

The Cowboys have won three straight games since starting the season with a 27-13 loss to Atlanta. That streak started with wins in New York against the Giants and Jets, both teams Parcells previously coached.

Campbell believes the Cowboys have already played a BIG game: the 35-32 overtime win at the Giants after losing the opener to the Michael Vick-less Falcons.

"You kind of almost feel like it was one of those things where it was going to be make-or-break, whatever we did with the Giants, to an extent," Campbell said. "I'm sure a lot of people were a little scared of what they thought might happen when we played the Giants. But we made up our minds after that (Atlanta) loss, it doesn't have to be that way anymore, it's up to us what happens.

"Everybody bought into that, and they've bought into it since. And that's why we're winning right now."< ^Extra points:@ Rookie TE Jason Witten, who broke his jaw Sunday against Arizona, was at the Valley Ranch practice facility Wednesday. His face was all puffy and he was taking his lunch through a straw. ... With Witten doubtful and TE James Whalen still questionable (strained leg muscle), TE Tony McGee, an 11-year veteran waived on the final cut before the season started, was re-signed. "I certainly wouldn't re-sign a player if we didn't have some intention of maybe having some role for him. He's a guy who knows our system," Parcells said. To make room, the Cowboys released DT Michael Myers, whose only action this season was a start in the first game. ... Dallas released CB Jeff Sanchez from the practice squad, and re-signed DE Colston Weatherington to the five-player unit.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index