Bill Parcells admitted that fear of failure has driven him this offseason, but expressed satisfaction with the Cowboys organization, his coaching staff, and his draft. He was also guardedly optimistic about the progress he has noted in his veterans this offseason.
In a 35-minute press conference Friday afternoon, Parcells dropped subtle hints about rookies who interest him and revealed that the key veterans who were injured this past season are healed a full two months before training camp.
Perhaps the most revealing portion of the session was Parcells' admission that it was last year's failure that has driven him this offseason. "It's a tremendous fear that I have, and I've always had it...I don't care how many games you've won. You're not winning now, so you suck.... I've always believed in this game that success is never final, but failure can be."
Despite the poor performance in '04, Parcells believes the organization is stronger than at any time in his tenure. He cited uniformity in the scouting department, stating, "I couldn't ask for anything better [from them]. After three years, they're trying to bring me players I know I'll like." Parcells also cited satisfaction so far with his new coaches. He admitted that his distance from the college game made it harder for him to locate up-and-coming assistants, but again credited a scouting staff that now has the responsibility of locating promsing young coaches, in addition to players.
Parcells also credited Stephen and Jerry Jones for the job they accomplished in signing key free agents. He defended his practice of bringing in former players like Drew Bledsoe and Aaron Glenn, citing their professionalism. "You know what Aaron is going to do," he said. "He's going to be ready. He's a pro. That's why he's a 5'8" guy who's played eight years."
Parcells then gave a position by position assessment of his club. Here are some key excerpts from the rundown:
On the offensive line: Parcells cited the current depth the team lacked in years past. He praised Flozell Adams and Larry Allen for their conditioning, noting that Adams has lost a lot of weight and is "darn near ready to go." Andre Gurode has been moved to center, where he will battle starters Al Johnson and Tyson Walter for playing time. Parcells made the move because Gurode no longer has a chance to start at right guard. This indicates optimism that the recently-signed Marco Rivera will be healthy for camp.
The move also suggests that second year men Stephen Peterman and Ben Noll could be ready to challenge for playing time. Though Parcells did not single out any linemen for praise, he did say he had some second year linemen who were much farther along in their development. He mentioned that Peterman looks healthy, after suffering multiple ligament tears in a knee last preseason.
The right tackle position will be the focus of the upcoming preseason, but Dallas does appear to have options. Parcells did note that he was intrigued by sixth round pick Rob Petitti, who in his words, "has got potential to play."
At safety Parcells said it was too early to know if one of the youngsters could handle the job and that he would have a much better idea after camp closed on Sunday. He did mention that Dallas was prepared to work out a couple of veteran safeties before training camp, though he did not offer any names.
At running back Parcells cited backup running back as a key need entering the offseason and reiterated that Marion Barber was an important pickup for the club last weekend. Parcells dropped a second hint about a rookie, saying that undrafted free agent Tyson Thompson has a chance to stick, if he can get his mind around the pro game.
At receiver Terry Glenn is apparently healthy. Parcells said he was confident in the talent of his corps and attacked the notion that the Cowboys lacked speed. Glenn, Quincy Morgan and Terrence Copper were all players Parcells cited as being "fast enough."
On the defensive front seven Parcells made it clear that Marcus Spears was not drafted to play tackle, even though he has the body to do so. Spears' responsibilities as a rookie will be at end. His biggest task right now is losing weight. Parcells joked that he would not play "Chubby Checker" at end, and that Spears needs to get back to his college playing weight.
As for top pick Demarcus Ware, Parcells confirmed much of the conjecture on this board, that Ware will play some at end and some at outside linebacker. Ware in fact lined up as an OLB when Dallas practiced to 3-4 sets. Ware will also get some time as a 4-3 DE, but will be limited in this role, probably to sure passing downs. Parcells mentioned that he learned with Willie McGinest that 250 lb. players don't hold up well playing every down against 300 lb. tackles.