Well, as you might have noticed, I was away from the computer today so I couldn’t update the blog until now. So when I got back online this afternoon - what do I see? Why, it’s another Cowboy taking a veiled shot at Bill Parcells.
BTB-regular Dunkman posted it in a diary, here. Thanks Dunkman for taking up the slack while I was away. Anyway, here is Bobby Carpenter’s semi-shot at Parcells.
"It's tough because Bill [Parcells] doesn't always communicate everything really well," Carpenter said. "It was tough for me trying to get a feel for what was going on and what they expected out of me and what their goals were for me to be out on the field. They have done a good job this year of communicating what they want and what I need to do to get better."
That’s not too bad, but when are guys going to quit bringing up Parcells’ name to explain away any problems we had last year? This is getting ridiculous. And I got news for some Cowboys fans, Wade Phillips isn’t going to wave his magic wand and say the words "aggressive scheme," and suddenly everybody on the defense is going to be a Pro Bowler. Magically, we don’t have a bad player on defense, they are all superb and it was just Bill Parcells and the schemes fault that they didn’t make plays. That’s pretty absurd.
Wade Phillips isn’t a miracle worker, he can’t just walk in and say "I’ll put you in a position to succeed like Bill Parcells didn’t" – and everything will be hunky-dory. Look, I want to be optimistic in the offseason, but every year after we complain about the lack of success in the previous season, we find a scapegoat. This year, it’s Bill Parcells and the scheme. According to some, everything will be just wonderful once the new Phillips 34 is in place. But the fact is some players will step up and perform in this defense, but others won’t. This is going to be a work-in-progress, and while I’m hoping for the best, I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that just because the defense is changing, were going to be the ‘85 Bears or the 2000 Ravens.
For the record though, I am thrilled that Wade is an attacking coach on defense. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish, but I'm also not going to beleive that every player will suddenly be that much better because of the scheme.
Back to Carpenter, it looks like he’ll get a chance to compete at ILB, and may be in on passing situations. I would love to see the kid finally find a position and make the most of it. He’s got size and athletic ability, maybe the move to the middle is just what he needs.
Carpenter has been moved back inside, where he began last year, and enters the season as a backup. But he's not expected to struggle there like he did in Parcells' scheme. New coach Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense allows more flexibility to play with an aggressive style. Carpenter believes this scheme fits him better and is closer to the role he starred in at Ohio State.
Plus, it’s not like Bradie James couldn’t use a little competition in the middle. Big contract or not, if he doesn’t produce he could see his role reduced. Akin Ayodele turned in a better performance last year, especially later in the season once he began to understand the 3-4 defense, than James. Bradie’s play went in the other direction, on a downhill trajectory as the season progressed. Time to pick it up.
Speaking of new things on defense, our new DC Brian Stewart thinks that Ken Hamlin’s confidence and ability to direct traffic will give the Cowboys secondary something they didn’t have last year.
"I think Hamlin brings an awful lot to us and the reason why he does is that when you have a young guy (Watkins) who has to tell an All-Pro like Roy Williams, 'Do this,' and, 'Go there,' and, 'Back up,' and, 'I got him,' he may not say anything," Stewart says.
"But when you got a guy (Hamlin), a seasoned (four-year) veteran who has been a starter in this league and has played well, he doesn't mind saying things like, 'You get back. I'm coming down.' That's what Hamlin brings to us – he's a good communicator and also a very good player."