Mickey Spagnola - Email
May 12, 2007 7:04 PM Change Font Size A A A A
IRVING, Texas - Yeah, yeah, I know what's on everyone's mind, and telling ya, been asked this 1,000 times, but now I've got some definitive answers to:
What's the difference between Wade Phillips and Bill Parcells?
Well, now that I've seen a practice or two, the Cowboys opening a three-day mini-camp on Saturday with two practices, an open locker room session and a Phillips press conference, man, can I give you guys some succinct answers to these differences.
First, the Cowboys practiced outside - in the brilliant sunshine out here Saturday at The Ranch, and on real grass no less, that is until the afternoon practice when a 20-minute hail storm unleashed, sending the team scurrying indoors. But heck, you know Bill, he liked being cooped up in that indoor structure. We'd have probably been indoors in the first place.
The first word out of Phillips' mouth during his press conference was "Terrell." Not "he." Not "the player." No sidestep of the issue, Phillips actually poking a little fun at himself for saying on Thursday he wasn't sure if Terrell Owens would be allowed to practice today by starting off with "Terrell is going to practice, and caught the ball to clear that up, and caught it very well, by the way."
Cute, and believe me, Bill never did much cute.
Oh, let's see, what else? Oh, the photographers and cameramen were allowed to film the 90-minute workout in T-shirts, shorts and helmets along the sideline of the practice field, not from the track behind the south end zone, where Bill sequestered everyone, presumably because of his paranoia of something secretive showing up on TV that would give an opponent a competitive advantage.
Also, no whistle. Wade is back to the air horn to signal the change in practice periods.
The rookies? Hey, they had stars on their helmets, unlike the homogenized look of the Parcells era until they made the team.
And the biggest of all? I don't recall first-round pick Anthony Spencer running a cup of water to Phillips at the break.
Now, that about cover it? What you were looking for?
Come on, football practice is football practice, especially one without pads. Regardless of what you might think, Parcells wasn't exactly out here biting heads off this time of year. Why I don't even think he had an asthma field.
Now I'm sure you have been hearing about the more "relaxed" atmosphere out here, and presumably that is a good thing. Well let me tell you, nothing out here was "relaxed" when Jimmy Johnson was around, and I seem to remember some winning going on during his five years.
Now guys might say they like this scheme better or that offense better, but, here, let's defer to Tony Romo, you know, that Cowboys starting quarterback who doesn't seem to have suffered any mental affliction from having the field-goal snap in the one-point playoff loss to Seattle slip through his hands.
He pointed out how Parcells was more talkative in the off-season, and how he would take a few more playful jabs at you, his way of letting you know he cares. He did, though, say, Parcells probably was more "stern" in the meeting, but was quick to point out "you can win with different coaching styles."
And when asked about some guys saying Phillips style of coaching or his defensive philosophy or offensive philosophy will make them better players, Romo scoffed:
"It's always time to produce. You don't have time in this league to sit around and make excuses . . . Look, we weren't very good before he got here, and we got a chance to be pretty good this year."
So come on, let's get on to what's really important heading toward this 2007 season, but remembering this was only the first practices of a mini-camp, and much can change between now and, oh, the July 25th start to training camp in San Antonio.
T.O., er, "Terrell," will not be an invalid after dual surgery to reattach the tendon at the tip of his right ring finger. He ran fine. He ran his routes just fine. And he seemed to catch everything thrown his way. OK?
While the Cowboys didn't waste any time getting a look at first-round draft choice Anthony Spencer, sending the Purdue defensive end right out there with the first-team defense at left outside linebacker, Phillips called Greg Ellis, last year's starter who still is rehabbing from surgery to repair his torn Achilles, "our starting outside linebacker."
Let's see, veteran safety Ken Hamlin, signed to a one-year deal this off-season, opened at free safety with the first-team defense.
Everyone's been wondering about the backup center? Well, best I could tell, behind Andre Gurode was Cory Procter, and yes, Pat McQuistan was working at left guard behind Kyle Kosier, with Joe Berger at right guard. The two backup tackles were rookie Doug Free left and veteran Jim Molinaro right.
And backup nose tackle? That would have been Montavious Stanley and then rookie free agent Ola Dagunduro from Nebraska, with Jason Hatcher working at second left end and Jay Ratliff at second right end.
As for Bobby Carpenter, he mostly worked back inside, although Phillips said he had been working outside most of the off-season, "but we're going to move him around." And working inside with him was Kevin Burnett.
No, Isaiah Stanback did not participate in the workouts, continuing his rehab with the trainers. But the guy seemed to be running pretty well while still recovering from surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury. And, off to the side, he began working on catching punts, something he's not done in a while. Well, he's raw, but you could tell he has good instincts and good hands. Plus, I noticed with the former quarterback catching punts, all you need is one ball for the drill. Because he simply throws the ball all the way back to the punter on a fly.
Let's see, what else? No change in the running back rotation, Julius Jones working with the ones and Marion Barber the twos, and just know Tyson Thompson was out there taking his turn, too, so evidently he's recovered from the fractured left ankle suffered halfway through the season.
Now there wasn't any official field-goal kicking going on, but Phillips did refer to Romo as the "former holder," and when Romo was asked about who will inherit the holding job, he said he wasn't sure, but just knew "it's not me." The little kicking that did go on off to the side, punter Mat McBriar did the honors, but I'm told Brad Johnson is pretty proficient at the task.
As for the young quarterbacks, hard to tell yet with Matt Baker and Matt Moore, although I'm told Baker recently won the long-drive contest among the golfing players. And will be interesting to see what they think of Tarelton State quarterback Richard Bartel, here for the weekend on a tryout status. The former SMU quarterback who briefly left college to play minor league baseball in the Cincinnati Reds organization is 6-3, 230 - pretty stout guy.
OK, that about got it for one day?
Oh, one last thing. If you're wondering what Terrell had to say, well, sorry about that, but he kept, if you can imagine this, a low profile Saturday. He didn't hold court in the locker room, and wouldn't even bite the bait walking from the indoor structure to the locker room following the second practice when asked if he expected to workout today. Mum was the word, flashing the look as if to say, of course I was going to work out.
Hmmm, imagine all that.
So starts another new year again