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Parcells press conference 12/18/06

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Thoughts about the Owens spitting incident? We don't condone that kind of stuff, the league will take action. I'm aware of what it is, I think the commissioner is trying to be strong on things like this; this will be one of them. For the record, Owens was fined $35,000 with no suspension

More on Owens: I said I don't condone it, I don't know what else to say.

Have you talked to Owens? I haven't seen him. He won't be suspended to my knowledge, I don't know about further action to be taken by our team. If we did something, I wouldn't make you aware of it.

Have you seen this kind of thing in the past? I've seen losses of composure in players, it's not the first time this kind of stuff has happened, it's happened to some of my players.

Thoughts on the defense? We settled down in the last 25 minutes, the 4th down play was a good play. Vick makes you do things the normal QB wouldn't make you do. We took the approach it was better to cover the receivers tight, or try to, and use extra people to keep him from buying time or hurting us with his feet. It cost us two long passes, but it wasn't enough to beat us. If we had to play them again, we wouldn't do anything appreciably different.

Why can't you cover the FB in the flats?  The problem is we've had two different players who have made two mental errors, two weeks in a row. We are just not doing it, we tell them "you got this guy" but they don't do it.  If you have first in the flats [coverage] and they don't take them, then it's a mental error. Those are correctable things, I just hope we correct them soon.

On the defense giving up so many points? Look around, its happened to San Diego, to the Colts, the Bears gave up 31 yesterday, but if it happens at the wrong time you lose.

The offense can't just outscore people; it will cost us too much to do it. The other night we had a ball tipped and they get the ball on, what, the 10-15 yard line. You can't do too many of those. Earlier in the year, against the Eagles, it was 10-0 from turnovers before the national anthem played. You can't keep clawing back from those.

I don't think we can just go out and say we are going to do this or do that, we need balance, and eventually we can get to what we have to do. We can't just approach it in one way, teams will adjust.

Were you surprised at how things turned out for you on Sunday? I was pleasantly surprised that things went the way they did on Sunday. Next Sunday, it could be the reverse. I think this is the biggest game of the year for us and for them and we'll see where we go. I'm just glad we're in the tournament, the players worked hard; I just hope we can finish well. We got a few guys beat up, I purposely gave them some days off, hopefully to regenerate their legs, three days off gives them a chance at that.

Didn't you know about the injury to Owens' tendon? I misunderstood that question after the game, I though it was a question about a game injury, and I thought you meant Miles Austin, who hurt his hand. The Owens injury was weeks ago, I knew about it.

How do you reconcile the Owens who takes one for the team with the other Owens? I try to make a habit not to talk about him, that's all you guys want to talk about, I have interest in other things. I don't reconcile anything, I don't pass judgment. My job is just to get him to play up to his potential on the field.

Is it a direction that you have to sit here and talk about him? I'm not having to do it, I'm just being polite and answering the questions. I wouldn't voluntary talk about it. It's a story, I understand, but it was two days ago.

But how do you balance the two different Terrell Owens? I balance them better than you do. I just try to keep balance myself.

So you're a glass half-full guy on this? That's your words. I don't know how you reference that into the conversation.

Has the finger played a role in his drops? I don't know.

Why did you start Watkins? I wanted to get him back in there. He did OK, he got out of position once, and turned another guy loose, but they didn't find him. I'm not sure how we'll do it this week, we'll see.

Why is Barber so effective at the end of games? The other teams are tired. It's good to have a closer. Having a closer is an important thing, I think.

What about Julius? I'm hoping Julius can get back on track, he missed some reads that looked good on film but he had his mind made up to do something else. I spoke to him about trusting his reads more. I've done everything to keep him from being tired. He does have over 250 carries, that's quite a few, but in the last month he might not have even 60 carries.

Have you thought about switching it up? No switch-up, having a closer is important, Marion is  in a good role. He's productive. I'm going to keep it the way it is.

Why not start Marion to wear down the defense earlier? There are two sides to that coin, he may get worn out. I'm concerned about having him available to do what he does. That last drive might have been the biggest drive of the year, the one with 8 minutes to go.

That's what we did with OJ Anderson, Curtis Martin could do it, he just kept going like that bunny. Now that kid in San Diego is unbelievable, the one in KC too, and Rudi Johnson in Cincinnati. He hangs in there when you need him, it's important to have that.

Miles Austin on kick returns? We're at the top of the league in kickoff returns, at least in the NFC, he's been a good find for us. He's a young, green kid; athletically he has a tremendous amount of potential. How soon he will get down the road, I don't know. I know the high school he played at was lower level competition, and at college it was the same. But athletically he has what is needed. What he's doing now doesn't require a lot of thinking or adjustments. Some players can expand the role, others regress. Kickoff return is simple, his coverage on special teams is good, too. He's a strong kid.

What's his injury? He's got a crack in one of his bones [on the hand] but he can play, with a cast or with a splint.

The last drive? The Romo throw to Terry was big, that got us started. Once we got down there in their 35-yard line, I wanted to score a TD badly. But you try to milk the clock at the same time. If we kick a FG we are only 6 up, maybe that's not enough. Once we got the off-tackle play going, they couldn't try anything new to stop it, they had already tried everything. We did run it to the right and to the left several times.

Jacques Reeves injury? Reeves dislocated his elbow, we got it back in, just a matter of time before he can play. He was reaching for a guy on a tackle and Fowler knocked him into the runner, it was just bad luck.

Eagles offense? I'll have more on the Eagles this Wednesday. I've looked at their defense and our last game with them; I just started on their offense. Jeff Garcia knows the offense there; he knows the play-caller, so the adjustment isn't difficult. They do things slightly differently with him in there. Some of their receivers have come along and they have the two-headed running situation.

Do you gain confidence because the NFC looks like it's weak this year? I think the teams in our division, Washington included, can compete with anybody in this league. I don't say because a team is playing Washington they got a break. They have a competitive team. The Giants and Eagles are competitive, and we are, too. Our division is competitive, and I don't feel that way about all the divisions.

Is the 2nd seed important? It's very important if you can get it, you play 33% less games. But first things first, we have a tough opponent coming here, they beat us once this year, they are playing well, they've won three in a row, they have confidence.

How important is momentum going into the playoffs? It's pretty important, but if you ask me about having a healthy team or momentum, I'd rather have health. But a team playing well is psychologically ready to go in the playoffs.

Injuries? Reeves will be on the list, I don't know about Hoyte. We have some other nicks but I won't know until Thursday.

Was it hard to root against Sean Payton on Sunday? I didn't watch that game, it didn't have much effect on us, I was watching some other games. (Pause) But no, it wasn't that hard to root against him. (laughter) He was probably rooting for us.

Gramatica's FG? That was big kick. I've been happy with the young fella, it was a difficult situation coming here with the pressure and not much game experience lately. He's been excellent at practice; he's missed two kicks in practice. That was a big kick the other night; I'm happy with him, his kickoffs have been good, too.

I just found out the Owens fine is $35,000. Are you surprised? No, I told you I knew what it was.

Do you think that's a lot?  The commissioner is trying to send a message about this stuff. Look at the Knicks thing the other night. This stuff can get out of control. I'm an old-fashion guy, and there are things going on in sports today that I don't like.

Will the team now be doing anything extra to Owens? Talk to your moles.

Another T.O. question: I'm not talking anymore about it.