It seems Bill Parcells has been hard at work from his undisclosed location deep in the bowels of Valley Ranch. The man seen less often then Punxsutawney Phil during the spring months has been a turns screening, crying and, we can hope, scheming:
-- He's done some rearranging of the staff, hiring Chris Palmer to replace Sean Payton. He has yet to fill the vacant LB coaches job and is likely waiting on Michigan DC Jim Herrmann to make a decision.
-- Parcells showed his emotional side to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, admitting that he was deeply moved by former LB Harry Carson's nomination to the Hall of Fame,
"I've been crying for five minutes. God, am I happy. Harry is so deserving, and I couldn't be happier for anyone. It's unbelievable.''
Think King has Parcells on his speed dial? In the same story, King took a swipe at the Metroplex scribes and us uppity Cowboys fans. Listing Dallas at #13 in his top 15, he wrote, "some anti-Cowboys bias by the Hall of Fame."
I told you these guys are thin-skinned and defensive. All the more reason to keep riding them. It works.
And one more thing before I let King off the mat. Will one of his editors ever tell him to lay off with the personal stuff? I don't care where he drank Starbucks coffee or what he had for lunch. I don't care how his daughter played in her high school basketball game. And I especially don't care to read his film reviews. I teach film and television courses and while I won't foist my opinions on you, I can assure you the guy needs to keep his day job.
He's the primary football writer for the biggest sports magazine in the country. He gets six figures to write but two pieces a week. And yet he lards them with filler from his personal life. Is NFL football so empty that he needs movie reviews to fill his space?
What's worse, he's spawned copycats. Other sportswriters now feel liberated to tell me what they did the night before and drop in little bits about their girlfriends. There are fewer less interesting people to me than sportswriters.
Back to Parcells.
-- The coach spent some time on the phone yesterday with new Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. Parcells probably called to congratulate Tannenbaum, whom he hired when he ran the Jets.
I find it hard to believe the two didn't discuss personnel. The Jets are far over the cap and have many expensive veterans they may cut. Expensive veterans who were drafted or signed by Parcells, like OT Jason Fabini, and C Kevin Mawae.
The most intriguing name remains DE/OLB John Abraham. It appears more likely the Jets will franchise him, since Tannenbaum went out of his way to complement the Jets' rush king, who had a nasty exchange with the front office when he was franchised last year. The linked story mentions San Diego, Cleveland, Houston and Washington (aren't they interested in everyone these days?) as interested parties. I think Dallas would show some as well. Abraham has 49 sacks the last five seasons.
-- This remains nothing but conjecture on my part, but the Rocky Mountain News reports that Broncos HC Mike Shanahan will use his time coaching the AFC squad in Honolulu this week observing possible free agents. The article lists pass rush among the areas where Shanahan is looking for an upgrade. And Dallas has some guy named Glover who was just named to the squad yesterday...
-- What's going on at the University of Michigan? Secondary coach Ron English left to join the Bears staff. OC Terry Malone joined Sean Payton's staff in New Orleans. Dallas and other unnamed teams are after DC Jim Herrmann and today comes news that the Patriots are considering hiring Wolverines QB coach Scot Loeffler. Has Lloyd Carr developed a serious case of cooties?
-- One more reason I'm bullish on Ohio State OLB Bobby Carpenter. Back in November, Scout's Inc.'s Todd McShay rated college LBs by versatility, seeing who was best overall against the run, pass and and as a rusher. Carpenter came in number one, earning this review:
...no linebacker in college football wears as many hats as Carpenter does at Ohio State. First-year co-defensive coordinators Jim Heacock and Luke Fickell have done an impressive job of recognizing and maximizing Carpenter's wide array of skills. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound senior is listed on the Buckeyes' depth chart as a strong-side linebacker, but he can be spotted ...playing the roles of an inside linebacker, a defensive end in a three-point stance and a slot-cover corner in nickel and dime personnel packages.
After eight games played, Carpenter has accounted for 42 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss with eight sacks and two broken up passes. He has the frame, base and power to anchor when taking on opposing tight ends at the line of scrimmage vs. the run. Carpenter is at his best in the passing game when turned loose upfield, but he also has surprisingly fluid hips and straight-line speed when asked to cover tight ends, running backs and even slot wide receivers one-on-one.
Sounds like an ideal 3-4 SOLB.