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Cowboys draft class making strides

Yesterday's press conference was dominated by questions about the rookie class. You can find the results of that Q&A by Todd Archer, here.

In the Cowboys' 38-28 win at Atlanta last week, Carpenter picked up the first 1 ½ sacks of his career, Hatcher had his second sack in four games and Watkins had his second interception of the season.

"I didn't even think of that," Carpenter said. "That's pretty good, isn't it?"

Great kid, don't get cocky. Seriously though, now that Carpenter is contributing, that means our 1-3 picks are seeing a lot of time on the field. We lost our #4, but our #5 pick is starting at FS. Our #6 is still learning, one of our #7's is sitting out with injury, that's not bad. But I was amazed the other day at how I'd forgotten about our other #7, Pat McQuistan.

Parcells brought his name up fleetingly in the press conference yesterday, and I realized that we haven't talked about him in months. A lot of that has to do with the recent improved play of Flozell Adams. Remember, there was a time early in the season, when Parcells actually said that McQ might see time if things don't improve. I remember watching the mountain-man at camp and thinking that guy is tough. He would really mix it up, even though his technique left a lot to be desired. After one year in the Cowboys system, McQ might be a kid to watch for next year.

In my view, this draft class could be very good. I have high hopes for Hatcher and Watkins, and now Carpenter is picking it up. Fasano looks like he'll be a solid #2 TE, something Dallas needs to run its offense. And McQ is the unknown, but he has a chance.

But like Parcells says, you gotta get down the road some before you can judge them. True, once the game slows down for them, then you can really see what you got.

"Everybody says the game starts slowing down and you can see things clearer," Carpenter said. "The only thing I can compare that to for people who don't play the game it's like when you first start to drive. The first time you're behind the wheel things are flying around you on the highway. Then after a couple of days you get used to things and after a little more time eventually it becomes second nature."

MB3 is getting recognition around the league. Heck, even my mother asked me on the phone about this Barber kid after seeing him against Atlanta. When the 4th quarter arrives, tired defenses get a dose of the closer. And they don't like it.

"In the fourth quarter, he is like a closing pitcher," Crayton said. "Linebackers and safeties do not like hitting him. You see them getting up slow after they hit him. You don't want to hit a guy like that when you're tired. It hurts."

Barber is the Cowboys' late-game punisher, zapping the will out of defenses. He has fans clamoring for him to start, but he remains suited to being arguably the best backup in the league. Barber leads in the NFC in rushing touchdowns with 13 (15 total) and gets the carries over Julius Jones when it matters most in the game.

Barber has experience in sharing the spotlight.
Quietly, Barber sticks to his role and has learned to make the most of sharing the load. He learned that at the University of Minnesota, sharing with current New England rookie Laurence Maroney and former Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage standout Tellis Redmon.

"My man Maroney, he didn't start and he went in the first round," Barber said. "It doesn't matter. My dad always said one touch or 20. I just think about making the most of the opportunities I get."

Barber's dad, former Jets fullback Marion Barber Jr., has had a big impact on his son. He taught him how to run hard and take advantage of every carry. The son is also delivering on his father's best advice.

"It's all about staying disciplined and keeping yourself at a level and trying to separate yourself somehow," Barber III said. "That was a big thing he influenced in me."

Don Banks is giving out some holiday gifts.

A brass spittoon for Terrell Owens, who has been known to take aim in the wrong direction from time to time.

A kicker to count on for Bill Parcells. If he didn't already bleach his hair that shade of blonde, the Cowboys' kicking woes the past few years would have turned the Tuna's hair albino white.

Maybe we already got that kicker, since its the Christmas season, we employed an elf to handle that duty. (OK, that was uncalled for).

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