Tim Cowlishaw: Brass has backed Cowboys into a corner MINNEAPOLIS – Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones faulted the defense. They could have added the names of Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones to the list of those responsible for a 35-17 loss to Minnesota in the Metrodome. The Cowboys didn't have the defense to cope with Randy Moss, who found a new way to humiliate Dallas for not drafting him. You can fault Pete Hunter and Tony Dixon and a non-existent pass rush. You can also fault the men in charge of fixing those problems in the off-season – holes that were obvious to every Cowboys follower. In the season opener, this wasn't the instant death Moss has delivered in previous meetings where he averaged 25 yards per catch and more than 125 yards and two touchdowns per game. It was a dominant performance just the same, and it was one that outlined fundamental Cowboys weaknesses that simply won't disappear when Moss does. The Vikings scored touchdowns on four straight possessions in the second and third quarters, covering 299 yards on those drives, to take the Cowboys out of the game. Moss was the major reason that last year's No. 1-ranked defense looked more like No. 31 in the season opener. After watching Hunter get lit up in the preseason, it was easy to imagine the NFL's most dangerous receiver running free in the Dallas secondary. That didn't happen much, only because the Cowboys committed a safety to double-team Moss on virtually every play. But that left the rest of the defense short-handed to stop a very average running game and the highly effective scrambles of quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Even on a day in which the Cowboys held Moss to 27 receiving yards, he scored twice – both short catches against the Cowboys' only hope at corner, Terence Newman – and he threw a 37-yard pass to Marcus Robinson and picked up 47 yards on two pass-interference calls. "We did our best, but they made some big plays," said Hunter. "We did a great job of containing [Moss] early, but we knew it was a matter of time before they went to him." That was really about all it took – Culpepper finally going to Moss to get things under control for Minnesota. The Cowboys won't see Moss again, at least not until the – well, let's not even use the P-word at this stage. But the Cowboys will see capable receivers every week, not to mention the Eagles' Terrell Owens a couple of times and the Redskins' Laveranues Coles a couple of times and the Steelers' Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress and the Saints' Joe Horn and the Bengals' Chad Johnson and whoever Green Bay's Brett Favre wants to showcase and on and on. If Mike Zimmer has to constantly provide safety help, then a team that gets absolutely zero pass rush from its front four won't be able to keep the Cowboys in games. Jones said the plan was to pressure Culpepper into mistakes or at least incompletions. The pressure never came. Culpepper threw five touchdown passes, was sacked twice (in truth, he was scrambling and was tackled at the line of scrimmage for no loss) and completed more than 70 percent of his throws. The unit that has saved this team so many times couldn't hold up its end Sunday, even when Vinny Testaverde and Antonio Bryant and, yes, ReShard Lee, did their part for the offense. But until further notice, the Cowboys' secondary is the worst it has been since the 1992 draft brought Kevin Smith and Darren Woodson to town. Hunter and Dixon are not NFL starters, and yet they start for the Cowboys. Help is on the way at safety but not right away. Darren Woodson can't play until the sixth game. There is no help coming at corner. Asked if the team's problem there is acute, Jones said, "It seems that way. I don't believe we've got any answers personnel-wise." Both Jones and Parcells were particularly troubled by the Vikings' two long touchdown drives in the third quarter that effectively negated the good things Dallas was managing on offense. "Those long drives, you would think we'd have been able to step up and make a play to stop them," Jones said. "We couldn't do it." Said Parcells, "I told the defense they went from No. 1 to No. 32 and they did it in one week." And they did it because Parcells and Jones didn't do much to address cornerback and pass rush concerns that were hanging out there all off-season.