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Parcells on Owens: "He's doing OK, he really is"

It's been noted by many people who watch Dallas closely - including me - that the Cowboys and Bill Parcells ignore Terrell Owens off the field, and welcome his production on the field. It's seems to be the only method to his madness, choke off any potential fires from oxygen before something starts to flame out of control. Owens is going to talk, and do stuff, and make people mad - he's got John Clayton just flat-out making stuff up. But Dallas just doesn't care. One day they might, but right now, they don't.

Everybody had their pre-conceived notions about Owens, and mine were confirmed. I didn't like Owens all that much as a person before he came here, and I still don't. I could make a list of what I consider his "transgressions" and it would include some items from this year. But that ground has been covered, and it never leads to any agreement. Somebody else might not have a problem at all with his behavior. So Owens is an athlete who engenders passion among the fans, and a lot of it is negative. But he's a person, and a person can have incorrigible behavior, and still deserve the opportunity to make his living. I don't have to like Owens, "the person," but he deserves the be playing in the NFL, and as long as that's true, he might as well be catching 11 TD's for the Cowboys than some other team.

Now, lest anybody thinks I'm ignoring the elephant in the room, there is one exception. If Owens' behavior starts to affect the team and its play on the field, then you have a different problem. Owens moves from the "annoying co-worker" category to the "hurting the company co-worker." I think it's fairly safe to say that so far in Dallas, Owens has done nothing but help this team. His teammates don't seem to have a problem with him, and even Coach Parcells doesn't seem all that bothered, although I'm sure he wishes some of the off-the-field stuff would go away. But what is more important to Parcells, winning or proving a point, a point that probably doesn't need to be made? Parcells is using logic and letting real-time events be his guide.

Logic tells you that coming down hard on Owens as a coach, an organization or a player, only has more negative results. The guy doesn't respond well to criticism. You don't coddle him either, because that just leads to a greater sense of entitlement on Owens' part. So logic tells that you that if you're just focusing on results, and not a sense of morality, that basically ignoring the guy except in a way that benefits you, is the best choice. And real-time events show that for at least this year, the strategy is paying dividends. Sure, the bobble-head press yapping on ESPN will play their morality card, their "what is right and what is wrong" sermon will thunder from your T.V. set. But they have no stake in the equation. They're just showing you that they're fighting for truth, justice and the American way. But the truth is they just don't like the guy, and they have a stake in perpetuating that feeling. Controversy makes for entertaining storylines.

The Cowboys franchise has money in the pot. They went all-in on this move, so they're playing their hand the best way they can. As coach likes to say - the time to worry is before you place the bet. You can debate the wisdom of bringing Owens here in the first place, but now that he's here, the Cowboys need to win. And they need to do it with Terrell being Terrell, because that will never change. Only the way you react to him can be changed. The Cowboys are trying their own method, and they're winning so far.

Here's Parcells on Owens, as told to the Philadelphia media.

Parcells said he just doesn't sweat it anymore. If Owens breaks a rule, he gets fined. And everybody moves on.

"Being a senior citizen now, I take a little different approach than when I was younger," Parcells said. "I'm not trying to prove who's the boss or set up a rigid line of demarcation. I'm trying to coach my team. I tell them what's important. I do have rules and I enforce the rules. If someone is late, I fine them and there are no exceptions. We're a no-excuse outfit."

More from Tuna:

"I approached it with this philosophy: It's my job to make it work, if I can," said Parcells. "It's not been without a few bumps in the road, as I'm sure the people in Philadelphia can attest to.

"It'd be easy to go in there with a negative attitude and say, `Hey, I can't do this.' But nothing was going to be accomplished by that, so I've tried the best I can do make everything work."

Parcells said Owens has had few problems with his teammates, once both sides got to spend some time with the other.

"The players had to get to know him, too, and see what's what," said Parcells. "I think everybody kind of had their periscope a little bit.

"But by and large, I think everybody kind of gets along. I've got some good kids on the team as far as their personalities. I don't have a lot of flamboyant characters. They're pretty solid guys, so I think they see things for what they are and we try to make the best of it."

My guess is the most important relationship is the one between Owens and Romo, judging from the past.

Here's Romo on Owens:

"All I know is the T.O. that I deal with on a daily basis, and that's a guy I like and I enjoy being around and we talk football all the time. The guy wants to get better and he wants to win, and that's no different than the way I play the game."

Tuna's final word on the issue:

"He's doing OK," said Parcells. "He really is. Not without a few problems here and there, but he's doing OK."

Uh-oh, the defense called the dreaded players-only meeting. Whenever you get one of those, something is going wrong on your team.

Tired of a three-game slump that has seen the defense allow 90 points, veteran defensive back Aaron Glenn called a players-only meeting for the defensive Wednesday.
Glenn, linebacker Bradie James and nose tackle Jason Ferguson spoke during the 10-minute gathering.

The meeting wasn't a scream-fest. Players talked about how they felt about each other, their slump, and what is ahead of them.

"It was just to reiterate to do the things how we started off the season," linebacker Akin Ayodele said. "Sometimes just coming from players it helps the message. We understand the next two games, if we play like we're capable and better, we'll be fine going into the playoffs."

Let's hope it worked. Maybe they talked about the "first in the flats" coverage that has caused so much controversy over the past two weeks.

A little late to the game, but Todd Archer offers up his assertion that Terence Newman was snubbed. I think we all agree.  

The biggest snub, however, goes to Terence Newman. OK, he has just one pick on the season and only 11 pass deflections, but he has allowed only two touchdown passes since 2004, according to the coaches' breakdown.

If the players and coaches got it right with Ware, then they missed with Newman. Quarterbacks do not look his way often. He plays the slot, which is the toughest job for a cornerback. Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall should not have made it over Newman, and that's not just because he was beaten by Owens for two scores last week when the voting was completed. Hall has struggled giving up the big plays all season. Teams are not afraid to throw to his side.

Newman was disappointed not to be named this year. He wanted to be recognized by his peers. After games, he had heard good things from receivers and quarterbacks, but evidently it didn't translate into the voting booth.

There's always hope for Newman and the other Cowboys. They could be named as alternates depending on injuries or need once the Pro Bowl comes around.

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