News: Eatman: From the Foxhole, Parcells sounds off....

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  1. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    From The Foxhole, Parcells Sounds Off

    Nick Eatman Staff Writer
    April 30, 2004, 8:15 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas - Another small chapter opened for the Cowboys Friday, with the first appearance of 20 new rookies taking part in the start of a three-day mini-camp at Valley Ranch.

    The new faces, such as Julius Jones and Jacob Rogers, participated in their first practices with the Cowboys, along with the other six draft picks and 12 rookie free agents.

    While they were not made available for comment Friday, head coach Bill Parcells found his way out of his spring "foxhole" to address several pressing topics, including the possibility of three players in a Cowboys uniform next season.

    For now, it appears guard Larry Allen will be in Dallas.

    It doesn't look as good for running back Troy Hambrick, who could be on his way out.

    And as for recently released quarterback Kerry Collins, Parcells all but ruled out the Cowboys signing the former Giants veteran this off-season.

    Other than a short 15-minute press conference he held on draft day, this was Parcells' first media briefing since the ended in early January. And it was to no surprise Allen was the hot topic.

    The Cowboys have been discussing trading the veteran left guard, and as recently as draft day, but for now the eight-time Pro Bowler still remains with the club, and his status very well might not change for this season. After allowing Allen to seek a possible trade and even visit two clubs - Detroit and Oakland a week before the draft - the Cowboys seemingly are leaning against making a trade and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Allen no longer will be allowed to visit with other teams.

    "He is on our team and I expect him to be at mini-camp (in June)," Parcells said. "He will be invited to mini-camp. We will see what happens from there. I expect him to perform and do a good job conditioning-wise, we will go forward."

    But the Cowboys' off-season conditioning program began in early March without Allen participating, that mandated by Parcells, who said he didn't think having the guard working out with the rest of team was a good idea.

    "I just didn't think it was wise to put him there," Parcells said. "There were some other things that needed to be attended to. Hopefully, he's had some time to do that. I hope he will be ready to go and the slate will be clean. But it's going to be different this year and he knows that. He understands that."

    The Cowboys drafted two offensive linemen on the first day of last weekend's draft, including LSU guard Stephen Peterman in the third round. But while it appeared Peterman could be the possible replacement to Allen, Jones said that might be premature.

    "I don't think there is anything resolved with this issue," Jones said during Friday's practice. "We've looked at some options. But Larry is still on our roster. And we're hoping he can come back and make a contribution for us this year."

    While it appears Allen still has a future in Dallas, the player he blocked for the most last year could be on his way out.

    Hambrick, who still has not signed his one-year, $628,000 restricted free-agent tender, might be on the trading block.

    Both Parcells and Jones confirmed the possibility of moving Hambrick to another team has been discussed, and that drafting of Julius Jones last week sanctions the move.

    "I told Troy I wanted to be fair with him," Parcells said of a meeting he recently held with the four-year veteran. "I told him if we drafted a front-line runner then we might consider doing something with him. He knew that in advance. We sat down and talked about it. I told him also if I could find a spot that is better for him then we would do that.

    "But if we got to a point where we decided not to do (trade him), then I would go by what I see and how he performs when he comes in. Troy's been in all off-season. He's been working pretty good, to his credit. He's got to do that. He knows that. So that would just be down the road."

    Hambrick, in his first full season as the starting tailback, rushed for just 972 yards, averaging only 3.5 yards per attempt with five touchdowns.

    The Cowboys were looking for more speed and elusiveness from their backfield, and adding Julius Jones could be the answer. The club was criticized nationally for passing up on both Steven Jackson and Kevin Jones with their No. 22 pick, electing to trade down with Buffalo and add another second and fifth-round pick this year, along with a No. 1 pick next season.

    But even if Julius Jones takes over as the starting back, it wouldn't necessarily rule out a return for Hambrick, who has started nine games at fullback in 2001, and finished second on the team in 2002 with 17 special teams tackles. Parcells not only said last year he could envision Hambrick more as a fullback, but said he wanted more production from his running backs on special teams. However, by starting every game at tailback, Hambrick was not used to cover kicks last season.

    While Allen's chances of returning seem decent to good, and Hambrick's are starting to fade, the possibility of adding veteran quarterback Kerry Collins seems to slim, at best.

    "I don't think we will be headed that way. Actually, I'm pretty sure we're not going to be," Parcells said of Collins, who was released by the Giants just three days after acquiring No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning. "I like the kid, I don't know him well, but he's done a good job with New York. He certainly has done a good job with New York. I don't think anybody could dispute that."

    Collins has ties with Cowboys quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach Sean Payton, who was Collins' offensive coordinator for three seasons in New York. Collins has even said publicly Payton was the biggest reason for turning his career around in 2000, when the Giants advanced to Super Bowl XXXV.

    "Sean has talked about him throughout the year," Parcells said. "Sean thinks very highly of him and likes him very much. But there are considerations here besides that, you know, and you just have to make them.''

    But with that, the Cowboys aren't ruling out bringing in a veteran quarterback, even one from a New York team. But Parcells chose not to discuss a possibility of reuniting with Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who is expected to be released by the team on June 1. In fact, while talking directly his former quarterback, Parcells refrained from even using his name since Testaverde still is property of the Jets.

    Testaverde played under Parcells two seasons with the Jets, guiding New York to the AFC Championship Game in 1998, just two seasons after the club finished 1-15.

    "I don't know what the availability of some guys are," Parcells said of free-agent quarterbacks. "I know there has been some speculation about particularly one guy here, but he's on another team so I have nothing to say about him. I think there is a chance that there will be some veteran quarterbacks available at some point in time, there already is one, you know, Collins, so when that comes whoever they are you have to look it on a case-by-case basis."

    Parcells said the Cowboys are not looking for another starting quarterback, saying Quincy Carter is still his guy, for now.

    "I've got a year invested in Quincy and a couple of these other kids here, so I'm just hopeful they can improve," Parcells said. "But in the meantime, if we get some chances to do something that might serve us better, then we might do it."

    So throw that one on top of a whole list of maybes, could-be's and possibly's Parcells is sure to toss out from now to the start of training camp.

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