Season's false start threatens Parcells' sophomore spell By RAY BUCK Star-Telegram Staff Writer IRVING - I'm guessing Bill Parcells didn't come out of retirement for this. Monday, he walked away from the videotape and looked as if somebody had run over his dog. In actuality, Parcells' dog just never showed up Sunday against the Vikings. The result -- a 35-17 blowout -- would've made Phil Bennett see a brighter shade of purple. I mean, Daunte Culpepper was still pitching touchdowns deep into the fourth quarter. It was easy. It was excessive. It was five touchdown passes. The James Gang had a better day in Minnesota than the Cowboys' secondary. At this rate, Culpepper will throw 80 TD passes this season and break Dan Marino's NFL record before Thanksgiving. Parcells made it a point during his Monday postmortem news conference to disperse the blame. He was critical of the offense, the defense ... and the Australian Rules holder. "I'm hard-pressed," Parcells said, "to find one guy who played up to his potential." Sure, it's only one game. Unfortunately, these games count. The running game is full of question marks. The defense has taken a standing eight count. And now Parcells' second-year magic appears in jeopardy, and has perhaps run its course. "Leave the funeral hearse in the garage," Parcells warned Monday. Fair enough. But give me a team that doesn't treat a jolt of momentum just before halftime like an unwanted curse. Give me a team that can score more than four points every 100 yards of total offense. Give me a team that can get one ... lousy ... takeaway. OK? The Cowboys have not forced a turnover in their last four games: Final two of the 2003 regular season, playoff loss to Carolina and Sunday's little non-violent peace march through the Twin Cities. "Defensively, if we play like that," Parcells said, "we're not going to win any games." As in 0-and-16, as in never before "achieved" in NFL history. That's unlikely to happen in this era of expansion and parity. But a total meltdown such as the Cowboys experienced Sunday can make a man imagine crazy things. Parcells is mindful of how 16 teams will wake up this morning wondering if they'll win a game this season. That's the mentality of a season-opening loser. Despair and doubt, followed by panic. Of course, it's too early to panic with 15 games remaining, as long as the problems are properly identified and the fixes can be made. Based on what we've grown accustomed to over the past few years, Mike Zimmer's scheme isn't the problem. Based on what Parcells is saying now, we'll have to live with inexperience in the secondary. He isn't shopping there. Cowboys fans, we all need to take it one day at a time. A new defensive tackle, former Raiders starter Chris Cooper, arrived over the weekend. Hello, Chris. Can you help us? The Cowboys, most likely, are the only team in the league that hasn't forced a turnover since Dec. 14. It's a long-running problem that goes back to when Dave Campo coached here. The same Dave Campo will get his first chance as Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator to scheme against his old team when they meet Sunday at Texas Stadium. Maybe by then, the Cowboys can find a running game, attack the red zone and avoid turning the ball over. Remember, this lousy start is a team effort. Parcells said so Monday. A year ago, the Cowboys lost their season opener to Atlanta, then won their next five games. At one point, they were 7-2. Sunday, they floundered badly when the team's best playmaker, Roy Williams, spent most of the game off the line of scrimmage, like a mile away, worrying about Randy Moss. Moss caught his ninth and 10th career touchdown passes against the Cowboys, anyway. This much we know: The 2004 Cowboys need to be cracking heads on defense, not turning heads on offense. If the offense has to carry this team, it's inviting trouble.