Aikman seems to have been sent into a funk by the absence of tight end Jay Novacek, who has been out all season due to back ailments. "I'm frustrated," Aikman said, "and I recognize why we've struggled. Because of injuries and Michael's suspension, from training camp on the offense has never been able to establish any cohesiveness. Now, because everyone understands that we've been struggling, people are pressing too much."
Irvin's live-game suspension at the start of the season, after he pleaded no contest to drug-possession charges, remains an issue. Rumors began swirling around the league last week that along with Irvin, Williams and two other Cowboys had tested positive. Several TV crews spent the week hovering at Valley Ranch in case there was an announcement. "It's all bull," Williams said on Saturday. "You heard it from me first. I don't do drugs, I'm clean. It's been like a circus out here since Monday, people asking about me and Michael."
According to sources a positive test would violate the terms of Irvin's probation on his drug-possession case. Jones, who steadfastly denied reports of Lett's positive test before the defensive tackle was suspended on Dec. 3, was adamant that none of his players awaits a similar fate now. "Beyond what you see—and what we've seen is not pretty—there's nothing," Jones said. "We don't have vulnerability."
Based on the state of their offense, the same cannot be said of the Cowboys' Super Bowl hopes.