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News: Cowlishaw: Cowboys' strategy proves Parcells in no hurry to leave

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Tim Cowlishaw: Cowboys' strategy proves Parcells in no hurry to leave
    01:59 AM CDT on Sunday, April 25, 2004

    IRVING – The top running back in the 2004 NFL draft slid right into the Cowboys' mitts Saturday afternoon. Then Oregon State's Steven Jackson slid right on into a St. Louis uniform when Dallas traded down 21 picks.

    The real news Saturday was more of the same stunning news we have seen this entire off-season. Short-term fix-it man Bill Parcells is with the Cowboys for the long haul.

    That's the only way to make sense of Parcells' off-season maneuvering, which, to Cowboys fans' delight, finally provided a replacement for Troy Hambrick with Notre Dame running back Julius Jones.

    The Cowboys didn't make Jones their first selection until 42 other names and four other running backs had been called. Why the long wait?

    Because in trading out of their first-round slot, the Cowboys captured Buffalo's 2005 first-round draft choice. That's great news for Dallas fans for two reasons.

    One, Buffalo hardly looks like a team ready to play lights out in 2004. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe is going into the last year of his deal, and he looked to be on his last legs in 2003. Also, the Bills, in making that deal with Dallas, drafted Tulane quarterback J.P. Losman, a definite project.

    That means the Bills will get less out of their first-round pick than most teams that made selections. In a division with Super Bowl champion New England, Miami and the New York Jets, the Bills easily could be in position to supply Dallas a top-10 pick in the next draft.

    "It's got an opportunity to be a significant pick," said Jerry Jones, who went on to articulate the second reason this deal should please Cowboys fans.

    "It speaks to the fact that Bill is as interested as I am in a longer-term building process. We're looking not just at next season but years beyond."

    Parcells acknowledged as much late Saturday night after the Cowboys had added offensive tackle Jacob Rogers (Southern Cal) and guard Stephen Peterman (LSU) to the mix.

    "It's never easy to drop out [of the first round]," Parcells said. "I think we're looking at the long-range view here."

    Parcells said he tried to evaluate what kind of record Buffalo might produce "about 10 times. You know that New England and Miami, that's two teams in the division that should be better. And I think Buffalo split with the Jets last year.

    "So you try to do that, even though you never know what will happen."

    When Parcells signed a four-year contract to coach for Jones, the consensus was that he would go for a quick retooling, be here three years and hit the road.

    Now this team, if picks and pieces are falling into place, shouldn't be hitting its stride until the 2006 season, Parcells' fourth year. That's when next year's two first-round selections will be in their second season. Consider the progress Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams made between years one and two.

    How good is Julius Jones as the next Cowboys back? Obviously, there are plenty of question marks. This was a weak, weak running back draft with no backs chosen in the first 20 spots – unheard of.

    Jones is small, but he produced some nice totals against good teams while playing for a shaky Fighting Irish squad – 11 carries for 72 yards against Washington State, 24 rushes for 262 yards against Pittsburgh, 18 carries for 84 yards and a 22-yard TD run against Rose Bowl champ Southern Cal.

    His arrival reminds us that Parcells passed on stopgap Corey Dillon as a replacement for Hambrick. Quincy Carter's status at the top of the depth chart (still enough to boil the blood of about 50 percent of Cowboys fandom) reminds us that the patient Parcells passed on Mark Brunell as a similar quick but short-term fix.

    A team that needed more help than most 10-6 clubs is getting better ... slowly. Keyshawn Johnson is an upgrade from Joey Galloway. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley should be more productive than Ebenezer Ekuban, but not necessarily by much.

    Jones has a better pedigree at running back than Hambrick, but he's a rookie.

    This is not a team ready to make a Super Bowl run in 2004.

    In its own bizarre way, that's a good sign for Cowboys fans. Parcells' work is not close to being finished here. It's just getting started, really.

    "In my heart, I have to approach this for the long-range view, if I'm going to be honest and forthright with the Joneses," Parcells said.

    And the big deal for a 2005 first-round pick tells us he's not anxious to pack up and leave.

    E-mail tcowlishaw@dallasnews.com
  2. jamez25

    jamez25 Active Member

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    Consider the progress Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams made between years one and two.

    Roy was better as a rookie.

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