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Parcells press conference 12/07/06

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Everybody practiced.

Have you ever been this late in the season with no injuries to report? Plenty of times.

How did you first get in contact with Sean Payton when you hired him? I was living in New York so you can't help but watch and know about him.

What did you think about Fassel relieving him of play-calling duties? I don't know anything about that, you'd have to talk to Fassel. I was looking for offensive experience, the rules are prohibitive in terms of putting a staff together nowadays. Sean had an advantage with 8 staffs changing last year. I didn't have a lot of choices when I came here. Sean had NFL experience and could coach the QB's. People I respect in the Giants organization had good things to say about him. Sean wasn't overly experienced, I wasn't giving anybody carte blanche. He does a good job, he's creative.

The offensive line looks to be gelling in recent weeks? They're about two sacks away from being back to what they were 6 weeks ago. They're playing a little better, and we're getting rid of the ball.

Colombo? Colombo has done a good job. He gave up a sack because Romo stepped up in the pocket last week, but he's had no holding penalties this year. I bet you didn't know that.

Flozell? Flozell's been more solid as of late. He's just playing better. I don't think the knee had anything to do with his early play. It was poor technique, a lack of concentration. He's playing batter. I talk to him everyday. I said you better look at the backup to DE Will Smith, Smith is coming off injury, so you better know who will play if he doesn't play. I have no problem communicating with him. I'm pleased with his play.

Gurode? What is this today? I'm not doing a state of the union, you'll want to talk about every single guy, soon we'll be doing the practice squad players. Anybody want to talk about New Orleans, I've got film to go watch.

New Orleans offense? They're pretty diverse, they have a variety of weapons, different kinds of guys, I would like to have that myself. They have weaponry on the perimeter. Sean gets credit for Henderson's development, and credit goes to the scouting staff for finding Colston. Our East coast scout is still getting some grief on that one. Horn is a good veteran, too.

Does having only two QB's make you nervous? It does make me nervous, but I don't keep players that can't play just because it's a critical position. Matt Baker has made progress, I'm pleased with him. He's bright, got a good arm, he's accurate. I would say he's in the same place Romo was several years ago. He's competitive, and likes to play football.

If Romo was hurt, would you be comfortable with him as the backup next week?  No, I wouldn't be comfortable with him backing-up next week, but I'm working on that. I'm working on some contingencies.

Is it more important for the secondary to cover or the pass rush to get through against the Saints? I look at it like the Colts, you got to have both.

What happened with the 2-TE offense? What happened was I was counting on Pierce in the plans, then he got hurt. I thought he might be our 3rd TE, he could play special teams and catch the ball. Then I was hoping for more development from Curtis. When things happen like that you have to make alternative plans. We can't spread our TE's out and have one full-time at FB if we lose our starter to injury. It was a domino effect that created the idea of Hoyte at FB, new body interchangeable at the F-back.

Was Crayton's development part of that, too? I'm comfortable with Patrick, he'll block and catch and does a passable job in return game. That's valuable for a receiver. He's smart, plays more than one position. He's maturing as a player and a person, I don't know if he'll be a star in this league, but he can parlay his skills into a good career.

How about Fasano's development? I'm fine with how Fasano is coming along, he's tough, he's the most mature of our rookies. He doesn't miss a day coming here; he's in here on off-days, lifting weights. He's tough, he's had a few nicks, but he won't come out.

Did you want to keep Scott Fujita? I would've like to kept Fujita. He's playing the strong-side for them. He's athletic, a bright kid, I like him. But he and Sean had the same agent; sometimes you're fighting City Hall.

Did you mind when Payton kept coming after you're players? In all but one case he tried to do it the right way.

What was the wrong case? Keith Davis. He should've just called me and asked if we would match the offer. He got scolded for that one. I told him you're costing everybody money, just ask me if I'll match it. I told him I wouldn't do that to him. He called me later because he knew, and I appreciated it, he's a man. We have a good relationship.

What about with Tony Sparano? Hey, Tony is my coach, he's my coach.

But you didn't let him go for a better job in New Orleans? That's too bad, don't sign the length of the contract if you don't like it. Here's what was happening, by the way. Here's a little recent history for you. Teams were making up fictitious titles to say a coach is getting a promotion, so let him go. You had offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, or something of greater importance, it was a façade. The owners got together and passed a rule, you have head coaches and assistant coaches. If you're under contract I'm not obligated to give assistant coaches permission to talk unless it's a head coaching job. When contracts expire, they're free to go, when they're under contract, they're not free. In some cases you may want someone to call you.

It had taken me a while to get this staff in place. My responsibility is to this team not New Orleans or Payton. In Gary Gibbs case his contract was up, he got a better job and title. If his contract wasn't up he wouldn't be going anywhere. He's doing a good job for them.

Marion Barber? He's a diligent trainer, he works hard at practice tries to improve his skills. I consider that as part of the game. He didn't get it right away, but his background made it conducive to get it faster, his dad was a player, but he still had to go through it himself.

Is Deuce McCallister all the way back from his knee surgery? Deuce looks pretty much the same, but they don't use him wide as much now that Sean is there. He looks OK to me. He's a good power runner; we need to be a good tackling team. I haven't seen him yet so I can't comment on his knee, but he seems to be doing a good job.

How is Bledsoe doing in practice? Bledsoe is doing alright. You have a concern when these things happen. I hope that he's diligent in his preparation, we probably will need him sometime, I hope he's ready.

How about Canty and Spears in practice today? Canty and  Spears were alright. Were you the guy with the fisticuffs story, the alleged fisticuffs? They only fight guys they know.

Hollis Thomas' absence? I think Hollis was playing well. I watched film on the guy replacing him, he has good size. But it does affect depth, it doesn't help their inside game in terms of depth. He was playing the one technique for them.

Do you need to control the ball like against the Colts? I think we need to hold the ball. They've been prolific in moving the ball. We need to play good defense, but still do what we do, not at the expense of scoring. We didn't take the air out of the ball against the Colts. I'd say we slowed it down some. We didn't play at a snail's pace, but we weren't Jesse Owens either. Is that it fellas?

What about Jason Witten...? What is it, they give you a signal, give you a wink and you prolong the thing by asking another question? What about Witten?

You said you want him to be an all-around TE, how's that working out? Today's not a good day to ask me about that. (laughter) No, he's doing alright.