News: Jennifer Floyd Engel: A different read

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Cbz40, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    Posted on Fri, Aug. 06, 2004

    A different read

    The Cowboys' offensive plays won't change, but Testaverde will give them another twist

    By Jennifer Floyd Engel

    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    OXNARD, Calif. - "You want the good news or do you want the bad news?" Cowboys coach Bill Parcells asked.

    "Give me the bad news," Vinny Testaverde responded.

    "Well, the gig is up on you."

    "You giving me the boxing gloves back?"

    "You want them?"

    "That's what I came here for."

    And with that conversation Wednesday morning, the Cowboys' starting quarterback job switched hands from Quincy Carter to Testaverde. But to assume the offense is handcuffed by the switch is naive.

    Just as there is stuff the Cowboys cannot do with Testaverde that they could with Carter -- for example, do not expect a lot of naked bootlegs this season -- portions of the playbook were off-limits to the Cowboys with Carter last season.

    As good as Carter was in 2003, and he deserves plenty of credit for a 10-6 season and a playoff berth, he was running a dumbed-down version of the offense.

    The Cowboys were almost singularly a play-action passing team in 2003, a necessity because it solidified shaky protection and required that Carter only read half of the field. And it worked, especially early in the season. The problems came when the Cowboys fell behind in games and later in the season when opponents had plenty of film on Dallas. Play-action did not work as well, and the Cowboys were revealed as a not-very-good drop-back passing team.

    Testaverde is going to be able to drop back and read the entire field.

    "Vinny has got very good anticipation," quarterbacks coach Sean Payton said. "He has great vision, understanding with each route of where he wants to go by coverage. He's an anticipatory thrower. He's accurate and he's got good arm strength. And really the most important thing for our position aside from decision-making is accuracy."

    Accuracy was not one of Carter's strengths. Neither was decision-making. One of the Cowboys' biggest frustrations with Carter was, although he was a good scrambler, most of his interceptions came when he was out of the pocket and on the run. Testaverde throws better on the run.

    "We still have the same plays we had for Quincy," offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon said. "We run those same plays. Vinny is good at rolling out and throwing the ball. He did that when we were in New York. We got those same things here. Quite naturally, Quincy did those things well. I don't see those things changing."

    Testaverde does not buy into the theory that a quarterback has to be a Michael Vick-like scrambler to be successful in the NFL.

    "I've played 18 years and I've never been considered a scrambler and I've survived a pretty long time, so much for the myth," Testaverde said. "Just because I'm not a great scrambler down the field, it doesn't mean I don't have the quick feet to move around in the pocket to avoid the rush, to get rid of the ball quick, not to get sacks, to give the team the best chance to convert on first down."

    When Testaverde signed, one of the Jets' coaches called Cowboys offensive line coach George Warhop and told him not to worry because Testaverde was sacked only three times (actually six) in his seven starts last season.

    Which is not to say the Cowboys' offense does not lose something by losing Carter. Testaverde is not as mobile as Carter. Testaverde will not be as good on those rollout passes to tight end James Witten that were a huge part of the Cowboys' offense last season. Nor will Testaverde be able to cover up for frequent breakdowns by the offensive line like Carter did.

    "We've got to block for him," Parcells said. "Quincy could improvise a little more than Vinny can. That's certainly the case. I think these young kids will be able to improvise a little more than Vinny. The thing you're going to notice about Vinny, if you watch him for any time, Vinny is pretty hard to sack, because even when you try to tackle him, he's so strong sometimes you can't get him down."

    It is not a change of offense or the playbook. It simply requires the coaches to emphasize different aspects of it.

    Parcells said only 20 percent of the offense changes based on the quarterback. Which isn't to say just because something isn't emphasized for Testaverde it won't be used. The Cowboys will roll him out from time to time to keep defenses from just running to a spot in the backfield. They might even send him on a naked bootleg if warranted.

    "I'm not going to say he's the most elusive, agility kind of guy any more, but don't underestimate his power," Parcells said. "He's a physical phenom. Now that doesn't mean you are going to stay healthy in the NFL, but I will put him up against most 40-year-olds I know."

    What about most 28-year-old quarterbacks he knows?

    "Yeah, I think I would," Parcells said, "and a couple of 20-year-olds."

    Testaverde by the numbers

    7 Seasons out of 17 that Vinny Testaverde has had more touchdown passes than interceptions.

    8 Runs for first downs by Testaverde in his past 45 starts. Quincy Carter had 43 in his 31 games.

    75.4 Testaverde's career passer efficiency rating. Carter's rating is 70.0.

    2001 The last year Testaverde started 16 games in a season.

    Quarterback inexperience

    The Cowboys have three quarterbacks in training camp, but only one, Vinny Testaverde, has NFL game experience. If the Cowboys are looking for options, the free-agent market is slim right now. It'll get busier after camp cutdowns.


    Player Experience Last team
    Chris Redman 4 Baltimore
    Rob Johnson 9 Oakland
    Shane Matthews 10 Cincinnati
    Scott Covington 4 St. Louis


    Ray Lucas 7 Miami
    Steve Beuerlein 16 Denver
    Akili Smith 4 Cincinnati
    Neil O'Donnell 14 Tennessee
  2. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    I completely forgot how we dumbed down the offense for q, another reson we will be better team this season...
  3. Eddie

    Eddie Well-Known Member

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    Do we take a chance on Akili Smith?
  4. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    I had forgotten that little tidbit myself. :)
  5. Jimz31

    Jimz31 The Sarcastic One

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    "This is an open competition. OK, not really. VT, you now have the position."

    Can we just end with the "open competition" statements already, Bill?

    VT has been written in as starter......KJ has been written in as starter.

    You had alot of us fans believing that you actually believed that, so let's just end it now. We all KNOW that RW will be a starter....we all KNOW that Glover will be a starter.....same with LA, Glenn, Adams, and many others.

    Please don't insult our intelligence and tell us that "every position is up for grabs." We all Know that there are a coupl of positions that are up for grabs every year, but to tell us that "EVERY" position is that way? Give me a break.

    You have now named VT starter.....thank goodness.....but what happened to him having to earn it? It only makes sense for him to be named the starter, however, you have also said that every position is up for grabs. It's good to see you changing your ways. lol :rolleyes:
  6. Duane

    Duane Well-Known Member

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    What a good article by Jennifer Floyd Engel. It really makes you appreciate the good stuff when you read Mick's drivel on a daily basis.
  7. Rocco

    Rocco Cozy in Colo

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    Agreed. I am really looking forward to our passing game opening up this year. With a respectable running game and a QB that can use the whole field there's no way it can't be better..
  8. lkelly

    lkelly Well-Known Member

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    If Rob Johnson is brought in, it will officiall be the end.

    The team would be better off with Bernie from "Weekend at Bernie's."
  9. rynochop

    rynochop Well-Known Member

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    My sentiments exactly.

    The best Dallas Cowboy beat writer....a chick...whodathunkit.
  10. Cowgal

    Cowgal Member

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    The quaterback position was an open competition before the whole Q fiasaco. Now it only makes sense that Vinny be the starter. Neither of the other two guys have taken a pro snap. They may start at some point this season, but not the first few games.

    And I don't think Parcells ever implied that Roy or Glover or guys like that were fighting for their starting jobs.
  11. Dayton Cowboy

    Dayton Cowboy Active Member

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    I hope not.. Living in Bungal land , I saw too many of his highlights or should I saw lowlights.. For those that didn't think Q was the answer... Akili is the same type of player.. He might have a stronger arm but I dont think is any more accurate
  12. TheSkaven

    TheSkaven Last Man Standing Zone Supporter

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    I agree, she is my favorite Cowboys beat writer.
  13. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Mine too, by far. Nice to have seen her win that journalism award for her series on Bill last year. I also enjoy her questioning of Tuna at press conferences. She is so, well, atttuned to Bill and catching the nuance of a response. Very ego free reporter. Unlike some of her male colleagues, she doesn't need to make it about herself.

    As for Vin, just give the man a pocket, stationary OR rolling, and you will see how pretty he looks in it!!
  14. Skeptic

    Skeptic New Member

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    I half agree.

    Yes, we certainly have incumbent starters. But why do we have incumbent starters?

    Because they're the best at their position. Are you suggesting that any of the other WRS or QBs can actually beat out the starters?

    If Vinny and Key stink it up in preseason and Henson and Bryant light it up, watch what happens.

    I think that Parcells is simply suggesting that he will play the best guy....most of the time the best guy is the guy that you think will be the best.

    But look no further than the Coakley/James situation to see how Parcells feels about competition, and Coakley made the Pro Bowl last year.
  15. Erik_H

    Erik_H Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.

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    Uh, no.

    If we have two proven young guys on the team, why would we want to cut one in order to add a proven failure?

    Why even ask the question?
  16. chargrove

    chargrove Member

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    I would grab Chris Redman as at the very least a #3 guy.
  17. Chuck 54

    Chuck 54 Well-Known Member

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    No way...I'd go with REdman more projects...we have two on the roster now....I don't think we'll sign anyone unless it's someone with a few games and seasons under his belt and some success.

    Unless Romo stinks in preseason, I think he'll be #2 and Henson #3 even though Henson is our future golden boy....if we were to swap out for a veteran, Henson would stay #3 and Romo would be the odd man out, imo.
  18. starfan1

    starfan1 New Member

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    Why couldnt we go in to the season as we are.I dont think that the Boys are worried. I they think between Drew and Romo someone will step up. I believe they have alot of faith in an improved O-line. go Cowboys
  19. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Because if there are frequent jailbreaks ala last year VT never see's November.
  20. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    That's for sure Nors......We will see alot of Blitzing you can put it in the bank.

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