Jean-Jacques Taylor: Parcells likes a lot about Stewart
05:22 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Defensive tackle Daleroy Stewart, entering his third NFL season, made the first 17 tackles of his career last season.
But Cowboys coach Bill Parcells has big plans for him.
That's because Parcells likes his toughness. And his tenacity. And his work ethic.
It hasn't always been that way.
It's not that Parcells didn't respect Stewart. He simply didn't know much about him.
After all, Parcells has little regard or use for players who spend too much time in the training room as Stewart did when he arrived in the NFL because of a shoulder injury he suffered as a college senior.
But he gained the coach's respect last October.
Stewart had a sprained ankle that made him questionable for a game against Detroit.
Parcells worked him out personally about 7 a.m. the day of the game and implored him not to play if he couldn't last the entire game.
Time after time, Parcells asked Stewart if he could play.
Each time, Stewart said he could play.
Then he went out and recorded two tackles and a quarterback pressure in a win over the Lions.
That's the day Parcells knew he could count on Stewart. And that's why he has big plans for him.
Is Randal Williams' slow development as a wide receiver related to poor coaching?
Lamont Epps, San Diego, Calif.
I wouldn't think so. Randall played at New Hampshire, a small school. He was an undrafted free agent and this is his fourth NFL season. He has yet to catch a pass. He has great physical skills, but he's still learning to be a football player. He has improved each year, but now it's time for that to translate onto the football field.
With all of the questions regarding the heir apparent to Darren Woodsen, has anyone discussed the idea of moving Dexter Coakley to safety? His strength has always been his speed and ability to make things happen in the field, and it would appear Bradie James could step in at linebacker. How hard would it be to transition to the position?
Brad Key, Bartlett, Tenn.
Dexter played safety in college, but there's no way he could play safety in the NFL because he's not fast enough. Coakley has enough trouble keeping up with running backs who run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 let alone trying to keep up with receivers who run 4.3. The closer you get to the line of scrimmage the less speed you need. The game also looks completely different at linebacker than it does at safety, where everything is in front of you.
I recently read where Bill Parcells was considering using Julius Jones on kickoff returns. Given the high incidence of injury on special teams, why would they risk their only potential franchise running back? Teams put their stars back there all the time -- Dallas did it with players like Joey Galloway and Herschel Walker, but I just don't get it. Shouldn't they develop other young players to do this, not ones they're counting on to be possibly the main cog in their offense?
Guy Desonie, Conway, Ark.
I understand your point, but let me tell you a little story. My first year on the beat I wrote a story that suggested the Cowboys were stupid for using Kevin Williams on kick and punt returns because of the injury factor. Before I could get off the field the next morning, former special teams coach Joe Avezzano cussed me out before he rattled off a series of statistics that showed there is no high incidence of kick and punt returners being injured. They do get hurt from time to time, but the ratio is really no greater than any other player.
I have a simple enough scenario. All I hear about is that Quincy Carter and Vinny Testaverde are the odds-on favorites to become the starting quarterback against the Vikings. What would happen if Drew Henson came out during training camp and during the preseason games and looked liked the better of the three? What would Parcells do?
This scenario is not going to happen. For now, he's the fourth-best quarterback on the roster. He should improve significantly during the season as he gets used to playing pro football. For now, though, there's no chance he will start the first game or beat one of the other two quarterbacks out.
Looking into your crystal ball, who do you think will be the biggest surprise in the last cut the Cowboys will make before the start of the season?
Jim Lollar, Austin, Texas
Fullback Jamar Martin. He's a terrific blocker, and he can help a team. But if he doesn't get the job done on special teams, he's going to be looking for a job.
There is much debate on Quincy Carter and whether he is a long-term answer to Dallas' quarterbacking needs. How do you believe Parcells and Jerry view it? Is he the answer or do they have a longer-term plan for either a trade for a veteran QB (via free agency) or a particular college recruit they are targeting?
Bill McLeod, Larkspur, Calif.
You have the same problems a lot of fans have. You want an answer right now. Unfortunately, there is no answer. The Cowboys have no idea who their quarterback will be in September 2005. If Carter plays great this year, there's a good chance he'll be the starting quarterback next year. If he doesn't, it could be Vinny at 41 years old. Or it could be Drew Henson. Or it could be someone else. There will be no answers on the situation at quarterback until the Cowboys know whether Carter can do the job.
As the team becomes more successful, will Parcells and Jerry Jones maintain a good working relationship?
Lonnie Anderson, McAllen, Texas
Who can answer that question? Jerry and Bill have each have said they're committed to the organization and to making sure their relationship works.
Have you seen enough of Stephen Peterman or Jacob Rogers to form an opinion as to whether either can earn a starting position this season?
Nope. Practice is fine, but you can't really tell about players, especially linemen, until the preseason games. I do know that Parcells likes each player. I would be surprised if they didn't play this season. The question is how much are they going to play.
What's your take on the competition between Dexter Coakley and Bradie James ?
It's going to be a great battle, but I think Coakley will win the job. His experience, especially in the passing game, should be the difference. But James is going to give him a run for his money. He's big, physical and explosive. When he's on the field, you notice him.
Does Dallas have a team philosophy or long-term strategy?
Will Young, Ashburn, Va.
Parcells and Jones are trying to build a team with staying power. Once the Cowboys become a good team, Parcells wants them to stay good for eight or nine years before another lull occurs. The Cowboys are building a power team that will be able to compete in all types of weather. They want a team comprised of big, physical players who play with intensity, have a passion for the game and make few mistakes.