Sports Outside the Beltway

Bill Parcells Press Conference

Bill Parcells finally spoke to the press yesterday, for the first time since the Terrell Owens signing. Looking through the transcript, it’s easy to see why he waited so long. He was asked variations on the same question over and over and over, even though he answered it pretty well the first time.

Sarah P. Henry transcribes the first part; part 2 is scheduled for latter today. Some excerpts:

So why’d you want to draft T.O.?

Parcells: He’s a good, productive player, for one thing. I’ve seen quite a bit of him. I think he can help us.

The other issues didn’t bother you?

Parcells: You always have some concerns about things whenever you acquire a player that you really don’t know personally. Contrary to what a lot of the people have been writing here, we work as a team here. We really do. With (Cowboys owner) Jerry (Jones) and (Vice President of College and Pro Scouting) Jeff (Ireland) and myself. And we make decisions as an organization, and we do it collectively. We do now more than ever. Whatever decisions we make then we all support that. And I support whatever decisions in the organization. I was part of it. I continue to be part of it. In the draft we worked real well together on. Hey now, I’m not saying we don’t have a difference of opinion every once in awhile about things. That’s just natural. But we sound it out and once we go, we’re going. And if we’re wrong, we’ll cut our losses, and we’ll go again. We’ve been wrong on a couple things here, but this talent acquisition is about 50/50 anyway. So if you can get about half of it right you’re doing pretty well. Lately, I’m pretty satisfied with that.

As a coach, you’ve never been afraid of a gamble. How big of a gamble is it to bring this guy into your locker room?

Parcells: I don’t view it as a gamble. I mean, I’m gonna make every attempt to work…it’s in my best interest that he’s successful. And it’s in his best interest that he’s successful. And so we really, I think want the same thing. I’ve always told all my players that. The problems I’ve ever had with players is when my expectations for the player are higher than theirs. That’s when I get hot. That’s when I get cantankerous, I guess would be the right word. But as long as a player’s got good work habits and is ready to go. Now, this player has been in a particular style of offense for 10 years. This style that he’s been in is going to change. He has quite a bit of mental work to do to get ready for that adjustment. And I’ve explained that to him. I said, ‘Hey, this isn’t gonna be just like rolling in and getting used to and running what you know. You’re gonna have a big adjustment to make as far as the offense goes.’ Now he’s been in the league for quite awhile, I don’t worry about him making that adjustment, but it is gonna be different. And in this offense you’re not going to catch 100 balls. It’s just not gonna happen. You have to be ready for that.

You said it was a collective decision, but did you approach this idea first or did Jerry?

Parcells: I don’t think that happens. When the season’s over we try to put our musts together and our needs together and we try to just… You never know how it’s going to unfold as the season goes on. I didn’t know whether he’d be traded. I didn’t know anything about what would happen. We did discuss it. We talked about it. And we try to put a plan in place to address some of our needs. That plan is not comprised individually. Now, I do give a very strong opinion on what we need to do from the football standpoint. Then we have the economics to consider of it. And we have the domino effect on other players on the team to consider. We talk about all those things every time we try to make a move. If we do this, this is what happens there and this is what happens here. And that’s what we did.


From a football perspective, how does he improve your team?

Parcells: Well he gives us speed outside. He’s certainly gonna command attention. I think that will be good for (tight end) Jason Witten and (wide receiver) Terry Glenn as well. It’s tough to cover them all. You can take one guy out of the game if you want to, I think. But it’s tough to cover them all.


Terrell’s been in a different offense until now. Do you change what you want to do because you talked about having him and Jason and Terry?

Parcells: We want to use the player’s assets. We’d be foolish not to try to do that. I have a general idea of what he does well from having played against him. But I’ve gotta just see, you know, what he thinks about things like I would any player that’s experienced. ‘What routes do you like? What do you feel comfortable with? What’s the routes you’re struggling with?’ You know, they all have ‘em. They don’t just come in and say, ‘I can do anything you want me to do.’ We go over things and say, ‘How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that?’ And I would do that with any player that was a veteran that we were trying to integrate in. I’ve done that over the course of my career. I remember vividly the day I got a player called Shawn Jefferson. OK? I said, ‘Shawn, what do you like?’ He said, ‘Sevens, eights and nines, Coach.’ That’s a tree route. Sevens, eights and nines. He said, ‘I can run those for you all day.’ I asked him, ‘Well, what about a four?’ He said, ‘I can run a four.’ I said, ‘Well, what about a six?’ He says, ‘I’m not in love with a six.’ So along the way I get an idea about what he can do, what he likes. I haven’t had that conversation yet with Terrell.

Since we last talked to you, you’ve extended your contract. Do you still see this as a year-to-year thing, or do you see yourself staying here for more than one more year?

Parcells: Well, I thought… And this is a ‘we’ thing, too. This is not just me. I don’t think it’s good to be a lame duck coach with people speculating about that. I think it’s good for business particularly, in the acquisition of players, for them to get the feeling that the coach is gonna be there for a while. I do that with that intention, and knowing full well that when you get to be my age, things can happen. I have to tell you I like it very much here in Dallas. I feel like I’ve been treated fairly here. I like the organization, I just, I like it. And I’m challenged by it. It hasn’t gone exactly the way I want it to go. I gotta tell you that. But I think we were a lot closer to being good than anybody really knows. We made a field goal here or there, and we’re gonna have 12 wins. This division is heating up though. I think everybody’s improved. I think it’s gonna be a very good division and highly competitive. And I don’t think there’s a hands-down favorite. I think the competition is gonna be very good. And I’ve looked at it closely.

So why the mystery in those terms? Why not just tell Jerry you’re gonna be here for two years?

Parcells: I don’t have any mystery. I signed the deal. I’m going with it. Who used the word mystery?

It seems like a mystery at the end of the season.

Parcells: Well, maybe you’re just confused by it. Maybe it’s a mystery to you. It’s not a mystery to me. I know what my intentions were. Why would that be a mystery? If I wasn’t intending to go on further, I wouldn’t have done it.

Apparently, part 2 will actually talk about something other than T.O.

Chad Peters gives a preview of that.

Update: Here’s part 2 of the transcript.

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