Yesterday I was going to write one more article about Bill Parcells. I was going to lay out the insanity of the argument that New Orleans somehow exposed the blueprint on how to beat this defense. I admit; I was taken in by that argument during the end of the season when the Cowboys looked very inept. Then I thought about it some and tried to wrap my head around the argument.
The argument I’ve heard goes that Parcells’ scheme was so archaic, so utterly unchangeable, that it was a relic of 1980’s football and couldn’t win in the new millennium. But here’s the funny part, I guess opposing teams have been total idiots for over 20 years until the moment New Orleans and Sean Payton exposed the double-secret blueprint to beating a Parcells’ defense. It’s not like they didn’t have plenty of film on the Parcells’ 3-4 defense. I guess the Colts could’ve used that plan earlier in the season when Parcells’ archaic and useless 3-4 scheme held the high-powered Colts to 14 points and sent them to a loss. I guess the defense that had us 8-4 going into the final month of the season was a mirage.
Do I think Parcells and Zimmer could’ve made some adjustments down the stretch? Sure. And they did. We forget that the Cowboys used Bobby Carpenter as a spy on Mike Vick from the defensive tackle position in a game. We forget that for the Lions game we played a lot of 4-3 defense because we just weren’t generating enough of a pass rush without Greg Ellis. I guess the fact that they went on the road in a playoff game, held Seattle to 21 points and had the team ready for victory isn’t important.
The point is the players are just as responsible as any coach for the collapse at the end of the year. Yet, some players are unable to accept any personal responsibility for their own shortcomings. I’ve also noticed some of the biggest complainers are guys that Parcells placed a lot of faith in. He passed on Steven Jackson and Kevin Jones and drafted Julius Jones. He chose Marcus Spears in the first round. Maybe the crushing burden of expectations got to them.
Or more probably, they, along with some other players just tired of Parcells’ style. It wasn’t the scheme; it was the constant needling, the limited carrot and the unlimited stick that Parcells used to get production that may have worn thin. But it’s easier to say the failings were because the coach used them wrong, instead of saying they couldn’t handle the abrasive style of a demanding coach or that their game wasn’t up to par.
There’s probably a lot more in the equation than we know. But to boil it all down to Bill Parcells’ scheme and his inability to win with it in the "new age" of football is hard to believe. I mean, if it was so easy to beat this archaic scheme, why did it take until New Orleans beat the crap out of us for other teams to catch on?
I’m not a Parcells apologist; he made some mistakes while here. For sure. But I also find the argument that his scheme is somehow responsible for our failure to win big an over-simplistic cop-out meant to absolve the players of responsibility. And we as fans want to absolve them from responsibility because they will be here in 2007 and Bill Parcells won’t. So if we are rolling-out the same basic roster this year, we need to believe that they can win, and the easy way to convince ourselves is to lay the blame of last year at Parcells’ feet. Too simplistic for me.
And let’s not forget, our young and talented QB didn’t exactly play that well over the last month, either. I have faith that Romo will become a franchise QB, but he certainly had some growing pains over the last month of the season that we didn’t see in his first month. But the offense was generally very good last year, so I won’t try to push it all off on that. Collectively, as a team, the Cowboys failed over the last month when they had succeeded pretty well up to that point, playing the same scheme that Parcells has employed forever.
But here’s the good part, Wade Phillips is here and maybe his approach will rejuvenate the players. Maybe his attacking style will improve the defense and create big plays and big opportunities. And if that happens, I’m sure we’ll here more of the "it was Parcells fault, see, here’s the proof." Again, a simplistic approach to a complex problem.
Which leads me to the reason I wrote this even though I decided to pass on it yesterday, an article by Gil LeBreton that takes on the issue of bashing Parcells by the Cowboys.
It's all about the disrespect. For most modern, underachieving athletes, it's all about passing the blame and teeing up the head coach, whenever possible, as the scapegoat.
We media love this. When there's a change at head coach, we trawl, trawl, trawl the locker room for dissenters, hoping to find the slightest answer that smacks of previous dissatisfaction with Life Under Bill.
It’s true; the media does search for juicy quotes that it can plaster on its pages to up its readership. And some Cowboys have taken the bait.