News: Spags: Oh So THAT's Henson

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, May 1, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Oh, So That's Henson
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    By MICKEY SPAGNOLA Columnist
    May 1, 2004, 5:45 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas - Here's the upset of the century.

    The Dallas Cowboys acquired a quarterback in March, and no one heard a peep out of him until Saturday. Barely even seen the guy.

    Yep, the Cowboys brought in this new quarterback more than a month ago, and the head coach hadn't said one word about the guy until Friday's post-mini-camp press conference. Unheard of. For here.

    Why, the Cowboys even gave the quarterback $3.5 million of guaranteed money, but not a soul - not head coach Bill Parcells, not any of his assistants, not the quarterback himself, and maybe most startling, not owner Jerry Jones - has declared the guy the quarterback of the future.

    If you didn't know any better, you'd have thought Drew Henson was some Tony Romo. Geesh, Bill Musgrave received more attention when he was selected in the fourth round of the 1991 draft than Henson, and he's actually been here working nearly six weeks.

    That sure wasn't the case when Troy Aikman showed up, guarantee you that. That wasn't the case when Steve Walsh showed up, guarantee you that. Why when the Cowboys brought in Steve Beuerlein for backup purposes, the media met his arriving flight out at DFW. Same with Rodney Peete and Bernie Kosar.

    When the Cowboys signed free agent Tony Banks, and to but a one-year contract for the darn minimum, a press conference was held.

    When the Cowboys selected Quincy Carter in the second round of the 2001 draft, immediately he was dubbed the quarterback of the future.

    And this Dallas fascination with quarterbacks swelled to equally disproportionate limits when the Cowboys signed Chad Hutchinson in February of 2002. I mean, here was a guy who had not played any football for four years, but his arrival nearly provoked a parade, not to mention a press conference and questions of how soon would he be starting.

    But now this: Henson. Barely a peep.

    No press conference. No declarations. No high-fiving. No savior-like treatment. Why when he met the press for the first time Saturday after the first of two rookie mini-camp practices out here at The Ranch, there were no special press conference accommodations. He didn't play the big (meeting) room.

    Nope, Henson just sat at his locker, as if one of those 12 rookie free agents signed after the draft, with probably 30 or so people gathered round, craning necks and extending mics trying to catch his, at times, barely audible words. Why I could hear him bark signals standing 50 yards away under the Cowboys Big Top practice facility better than I could hear him say, "I'm trying not to expect too much from myself . . . take it step by step."

    You'd have never known this was the guy who started for the University of Michigan; that had he played his senior year like he did his junior year would have been right there with David Carr and Joey Harrington in the 2002 draft; that this guy played three years in the New York Yankees organization, and actually had his cup of coffee in the majors; and that the Cowboys used a 2005 third-round draft choice to gain his rights from the Houston Texans the weekend of the Big 12 Conference basketball tournament in Dallas.

    Talk about down-playing, or maybe by comparison to how all these other quarterbacks entered town walking under waving palms, this is and forever more should be the norm.

    Assistant head coach Sean Payton, the quarterback guru around here, deftly deflected every Henson-related question, he too repeating the company line of "taking it day by day," and playing it right down the middle when asked about Henson's talent, saying, "There is a lot of wait and see until he gets on the field."

    He meant in pads, with real bullets flying. Because the same things we saw in Hutchinson during these mini-camp practices you see in Henson, even though he's been away from the game. Henson has a big-time arm, and you don't have to be some big-time scout to tell that. He is accurate - short, medium, long, you name the pass, and he can throw it. Again, in shorts. And he does have a presence about himself, including the icy stare born out of concentration Aikman made famous.

    Now what happens when he knows he can be hit? What happens in the face of zone blitzes? What happens when its third-and-eight, not just the next practice throw?

    That is why Bill Parcells kept grounding the Henson questions right back up the middle.

    "We'll just see how it goes."

    "He's just another possible option for us."

    And in long-missed Parcells fashion, he threw out a parable, saying, "If he needs a year in Joplin, we'll send him to Joplin. Even Mickey spent a year in Joplin."

    His reference was to - no, no, not me - Mickey Mantle, having spent time in the Yankees farm system in Joplin, Mo., and meaning if Henson needs a year of seasoning then he will get a year of seasoning, which would appear to be gaining 2-to-1 odds since the Cowboys seem intent on starting Carter and probably bringing in a veteran backup, leaving Henson the clipboard-carrying third guy.

    Gosh, the talk of Henson was so bland, Parcells about caused a near riot when asked if he thought the rookie quarterback could actually play this season.

    "I don't know," Parcells said, innocently enough. "I certainly wouldn't dismiss that . . . wouldn't dismiss that. But my best guess is he'll need a little while if he is like everyone else."

    Finally a morsel, something to latch on to; something to stir that quarterback pot which has been zealously stirred in Dallas far more than in most places if you consider going back to the grief Dandy Don faced, the great expectations for Morton, the cult-like following for Staubach, the raging pressure on White, the early Aikman-Walsh debate ended only by a trade and three Super Bowl trophies and the undecided jury facing Carter.

    Yet, by the time night had nearly fallen, that innocent statement began taking on a life of its own. Man, did you hear Parcells? He said he wouldn't dismiss the possibility of Henson starting. What? He said playing.

    Or it was, Wow, did you hear that? He's going to play Henson. Huh? We're you listening?

    Only in Dallas, where the quarterback pot is spicy enough for a good, ol' crawfish boil.

    Hey, that's coach-speak, setting no boundaries he might have to break, making sure he's never called a liar. And he certainly doesn't want to douse the competitive fire in one of his players before he even puts on a pad. You never go to the Roundup until you've exhausted all your Miracle-Gro.

    Underwhelming, but rather healthy.

    So, so goes the quarterback beat in Dallas, for a change, under a flashlight instead of a spotlight. Credit that to Parcells and Payton and Jones. Credit that, too, to Henson, who even went as far as saying he tries to quietly fit in to a new environment instead of being one of those big talkers. Don't expect him to scream some day, "Give me the damn ball." Not his style. At least off the field.

    But if his bark on the field is any indication, then football transforms Henson into a steely-eyed competitor, and he says that's what he missed playing baseball for those three years. At least four times Henson mentioned how much he missed being a leader - taking charge of a huddle or team or play. That's what you want to hear.

    "There is a special feeling to be a quarterback, to be a leader, and that's something playing third base you don't get," he said, claiming playing solely baseball caused him to remember "how much enjoyment I had (playing quarterback) and being that leader."

    The pessimists will say, well yeah, what else is he going to say? He failed at baseball. But how do you measure failure when after three years you turn your back on millions of guaranteed money to start from scratch at something else? Please.

    So chances are, Henson will continue to fly under the radar for this year, unless of course, he's not like everyone else. Unless of course he's better than The Mick, above landing in Parcells' own Joplin. And, ultimately, unless of course, Carter leaves something to be desired.

    Only then are all upsets off.

    Who says Julius Jones can't catch? OK, I realize this is only a rookie, no-contact mini-camp, but so far Julius Jones has done a nice job of catching the ball out of the backfield. More than that, you will like his burst.
    By the way, no first-pick press conference for Jones, either. Just stand there in front of your locker, which I'm sure is another measure to combat any potential big-headedness. So, too, sharing his digs with Zuriel Smith.
    Third-round pick Stephen Peterman probably only had one clean T-shirt, and so what if it was a LSU national championship one? You could tell, even in these so-called non-contact drills, this kid is a battler, and the young defenders found that out early in the one-on-one pass rush drills. Can't wait to see him in pads.
    If this kid can make the transition, the Cowboys might be on to something with rookie free agent Kalen Thornton, the former defensive end at Texas. He's 6-3, 245, and playing outside linebacker now. And can he run for a guy his size
  2. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    Although JJ gets all the focus, the Rogers and Peterman are the keys to this draft. If they pan out, we're gonna look like geniuses when the next draft rolls around.

    Wouldn't it be great to find a hidden gem or two? Very nice.
  3. RCowboyFan

    RCowboyFan Active Member

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    I say pretty good article by Mick again. I agree on his thoughts mostly, on Henson that is.

    No matter what Parcells or Jerry says or what anyone wants to read into what they are saying, I tend to believe, Quincy has to really blow it to not to start the season. At least in Pre-season and Practice he ought to easily beat out Henson.

    But once Season starts, and Quincy picks up off where he left at season end, then he will be on real short leash. I bet thats why they will sign a Vet QB, and I also bet, the unlike most here, I bet there will be 4 QBs on roster for the season much like what NE did few years ago with Brady. And Fourth is not Chad for sure.
  4. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    The way Parcells likes to use his entire roster and his dedication to special teams, I just don't see how we have the luxury of keeping 4 QBs. I can see us keeping QC and DH and it's a tossup as to whether we bring in a veteran backup or keep Romo. Either way, I don't see CH on this squad. I don't think Romo has enough to worry about either ... although we seemed to be high on him last year.

    Then again, how high can you be on a guy that survives the draft process and doesn't hear his name called. Practice squad fodder if you ask me.
  5. The Realist

    The Realist Well-Known Member

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    It's really quite simple how we keep 4 QB's this year.

    The league increased the size of the practice squad was from 5-8 this year.

    BP is on record saying he likes what GB did bringing in a new QB every year and grooming then trading them. Too bad they ran out of good ones when Farve is nearing the end.
  6. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Yeah, and it's even nicer if you didn't even have to draft them.
  7. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Didn't JT say that Texas DE/LB had Jets?
    Sounds good, bigger LBers who can fly...

    Carter is the one who has all the pressure on him...
    He must look good in preseason...Or else its him thats shuffled out for a 4th rounder on a needy team...

    Heck, wouldn't suprise me to see Hutch start...The guy is a MUCH better passer...Give him some time & he could HIT his receivers!

    Myself, I don't think we need a vet brought in?

    Unless Carter is traded?
    Parcells will have him on a very short leash this year, he must show he can pass half way decent...
  8. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    If I understood correctly he runs very, very well for a player of his size.
  9. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    I think that was Spags best article I have read.

    Very true about this whole thing being under the radar.

    Pretty cool actually, but I think it is more a product of Parcells tight lipped philosophies than it is trying to keep Henson's ability under wraps.
  10. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    Very interesting article by Spags.....We will find a few good players out of this
  11. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I think the Q. Carter camp should be scared to death... and rightly so.
  12. chicago JK

    chicago JK Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't crazy about our draft this year, although I can fool myself by saying Henson was our first rounder. Before Henson signed with us Rob "Boomer" Rang had him listed as the 16th best player in this draft and had glowing reviews about him. If you put Henson at the top of our draft list, then it looks a little better. Sure we lost a third next round, but lets just pretend we waved a magic wand and made that third a number one.

    Loved the news on Peterman and Kalen Thornton.
  13. Charles

    Charles Benched

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    I agree. Coincidentally, it is always during the Underwear Olympics practices when the Carter camp is given notice.
  14. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    We're quaking in our boots, Mike. :D
  15. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Backhand winner. Love 30.
  16. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Yep, usually right before the panty raid.
  17. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison New Member

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    I see Carter, a Vet (Testaverde or Gannon maybe), and Henson on the roster, Hutch cut at the end of camp or traded beforehand and Romo on the practice squad.

    Outside shot of Hutch winning the backup job and his roster spot, but don't think so.
  18. p1_

    p1_ New Member

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    careful there. your comment could be construed as praise. :)

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