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Monday, September 20, 2010
Updated: September 21, 8:58 AM ET
0-2 Cowboys hold players-only meeting

By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- There was no card playing or loud talking at Valley Ranch on Monday.

The Dallas Cowboys have no time for games and laughter.

A players-only meeting was held Monday afternoon, led by veteran cornerback Terence Newman, to address concerns about the team's 0-2 start.

Will the meeting help?

Phillips I'm trying to do whatever we think as a staff that we need to do better to get this turned around. That is what coaching is.

-- Cowboys coach Wade Phillips

That won't be known until Sunday afternoon after the Week 3 game against the Houston Texans.

Following the players-only meeting, a team meeting and more positional group meetings, a testy coach Wade Phillips met with reporters.

At one point, Phillips told a reporter he didn't like his line of questioning.

This is the first time in four Septembers under Phillips that the Cowboys have struggled. They were 2-1 last season, 3-1 in 2008 and 4-0 in 2007.

Things have changed.

Two losses by a total of 13 points have the Cowboys with their first 0-2 start since 2001.

"I'm going to try to do something," Phillips said. "I'm trying to do whatever we think as a staff that we need to do better to get this turned around. That is what coaching is."

Phillips would not go into specifics about what those changes would be, but there are several areas that need work.

The Cowboys have committed 18 penalties in two games, sixth most in the league, are 28th in running the ball at 69.5 yards per game and have already missed two field goal tries.

There are some positives.

Dallas is fourth in total offense (395 yards per game) and second in passing offense (325.8), and it has held opponents to a 16.7 conversion percentage on third downs.

However, the bottom line is wins, and the Cowboys have none after two weeks.

Phillips said last Friday's practice at Cowboys Stadium wasn't done well and it most likely carried over into Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Newman noticed the same issues and mentioned it to reporters following the loss. Fellow cornerback Mike Jenkins felt the team was buying into the hype of being a Super Bowl contender and took the Bears for granted.

Newman, along with several other players, felt a meeting was necessary to make sure these things don't happen again.

"Yeah, definitely," defensive end Igor Olshansky said. "It's always good when you have those [meetings] and they make a difference. You got to be respectful of each other in a meeting, but it's always for the greater good."

It's uncertain whether a players-only meeting will work or if every player is on the same page with it.

"A meeting is not going to do nothing," safety Gerald Sensabaugh said. "You just have to make plays. That's how I feel about it. Talking is nothing. You have to show what you can do out there on the field. We are grown men. Why do you have to give grown men a speech? We're grown."

Backup quarterback Jon Kitna, a 14-year veteran, said a winless team needs to talk about things as a group to help get itself out of difficult situations.

"It's an urgent situation; 0-2 is an urgent situation," he said. "I don't think there is any overreactions. I think every feeling is legitimate that each individual has, so all sides need to be respected. When it comes down to it, it's an urgent situation."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.