Real World Strikes Back By MICKEY SPAGNOLA DallasCowboys.com Columnist June 7, 2004, 7:35 p.m. (CDT) IRVING, Texas - Welcome back to the real world, two practices on Sunday, the first beginning less than nine hours after returning home from that grueling week of work in Baja California, and two more on Monday in what started off in 90 percent humidity and concluded in searing 92-degree heat. No day at the beach. So let's get going here, a little catching up to do, some stories to tell, and as always, when Big Bill talks, as he did Monday afternoon, everyone listens . . . . See, it's not that difficult to figure out what the Cowboys need to do to improve on last year's performance, and not necessarily on that 10-6 record and playoff appearance, but as a team to get better. Parcells said he told the defense before the start of the three-day mandatory mini-camp that ended here Monday afternoon, "We need more turnovers and more pressure on opposing defenses." No kidding. While the Cowboys did finish the season tops in fewest yards yielded in 2003, they were only tied for 20th in take-aways, finishing with 25. And when it came to sacks, the Cowboys were tied for 21st with 32. "I'd like to be a little less reliant than we were last year on blitzing," Parcells said. Hence, the addition of defensive end Marcellus Wiley and the move of left defensive end Greg Ellis, the team's sack leader, to the right side where he will face fewer double teams . . . . As for what the Cowboys must do to get better as a team, Parcells cited three factors, and I'm guessing you guys could go three-for-three if faced with the same question. Test yourself. Come on, don't look: "Score more points, throw less interceptions and create more turnovers." OK, we've dealt with the turnovers. Score more points? Darn right. You don't win in this league averaging 18 points a game, and the Cowboys should count their blessings they did so 10 times with such a puny offense. You don't get to play much quarterback in this league if you are throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, and you know, when Parcells brought this up, he didn't mention a poor offensive line or a lack of possession receivers or a weak running game, he just basically said, "We have to be better offensively." So don't try apologizing for Quincy Carter throwing 17 touchdowns passes and getting intercepted 21 times. He's not . . . . Speaking of apologizing, Parcells couldn't believe an international incident was created Monday afternoon when the media decided he had been P.C. out of bounds, or as he is being accused, racially insensitive. Parcells was asked if he has to coach his assistants less this year since this is the second time around. He disagreed with that. Parcells began innocently enough, talking about his unit leaders, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and assistant head coach Sean Payton. "You've got to keep your eye on those two because they are going to try and get the upper hand," Parcells said. "Mike wants the defense to do well and Sean - no disrespect to the Orientals - is going to have Jap plays, surprise plays. No disrespect to anyone, because they will sabotage each other." Well, the media big on political correctness these days, even though Parcells threw out before and after disclaimers when using this old coaching term to describe a surprise attack in reference to Pearl Harbor, immediately ran with it. And to the point of at of at least five reporters surrounding poor Akira Kuboshima, editor of Japanese-based America Football Magazine who just happened to be at The Ranch Monday working on a Dallas Cowboys story, for an interview during the afternoon practice. He repeatedly said he wasn't offended, and that he wished no one would make a big deal out of the comment. After practice, Parcells was a tad taken back by the stir, saying, "I prefaced it." Now the Cowboys organization did issue a statement of apology, saying, "(Bill Parcells) stated that he intended no disrespect. The organization apologizes to anyone who may have been offended." You know, I remember Barry Switzer using the same term without repercussions, but then, that was probably just writing off another loose cannon shot from our crazy Uncle Barry . . . . Now then, can we get back to football? Otherwise, I'm going marlin fishing again . . . . Let's see, Parcells did admit Keyshawn Johnson looks a bit rusty and that he knows he has things to work on after missing nearly half the season last year . . . . Know that Parcells thinks of Donald Mitchell as his nickel back, and that the defense did work on the nickel Monday. But not only nickel, Mitchell also is backing up Terence Newman on the left side, a switch for the fifth-year veteran who has primarily played right corner in the NFL. But at least it appears his ankle is sound again . . . . Speaking of Newman, Parcells remarked again about the physical improvements Newman has made in the off-season, pointing out last year's first-round pick dropped to as little as 179 pounds late in the season. Now he's upwards of 190 pounds, and I swear those 11 or so pounds are in his arms. You should see them . . . . Speaking of weight, Larry Allen looks good. Real good. Probably around 325 is my guess. And you know what, when the team ran its pre-practice sprints across the field and back, Allen did not finish last on either one. And there were no heads starts given the 11th-year veteran who had serious problems running last year. "Looks OK, really does," Parcells said of Allen. "His weight is under control, and seems to be getting through (practice) OK. If he can do that, we'll be OK." . . . As if there isn't enough on this team to write about, what with the acquisition of Vinny Testaverde, the drafting of a running back in the second round, the battles for starting jobs at right offensive tackle, nose tackle, right corner, punter and Pro Bowl linebacker Dexter Coakley alternating practices working first team with Bradie James, someone asked Parcells what he thought of the fight in the morning practice - reference to a little pushing match between Andre Gurode and James: Parcells: "Today? That wasn't a fight. You ever been in a fight? Did that look like a fight to you? That was just a slight . . . one of them is scared and the other one's glad of it. That was a little skirmish. That wasn't a fight." . . . If you just have to know, when the first-team offense lined up Monday afternoon, that was Richie Anderson at running back and Jamar Martin at fullback a good number of times. Parcells says he asked Anderson to drop about 10 pounds so he'd be ready for a few more carries and a more versatile role in the offense . . . . Wide receiver Randal Williams ended up missing the three-day mini-camp, his mother evidently scheduled for surgery back in New York . . . . Defensive tackle Leo Carson had his knee scoped a few weeks back, and while he is OK and working, Carson only practiced once a day . . . . And there was Pat Summerall at practice again Monday, seemingly recovering nicely from his liver transplant, mentioning how it was a tough way to "lose 80 pounds." . . . With Carson riding the bike in the morning practice, the second-team defensive line consisted of Kenyon Coleman, Daleroy Stewart, Cedric Hilliard and Eric Ogbogu . . . . Someone asked Testaverde if the story of him once benching 450 pounds is true, and without missing a beat, Testaverde, face straight, said, "It's like 500 by now . . . I don't think I've ever been that strong." He verified a 360-pound bench press, and that he does safety squats with 525 pounds five times, those strong legs a reason for his ability to still throw all the passes . . . . Oh, by the way, about the fullback position. When asked about Martin, who will be battling Darian Barnes and Lousaka Polite for fullback spots on the 53-man roster now that it appears Anderson is more of a tailback/nickel back, Parcells said, "Jamar's got to get a little weight off. Right now, we got a little Fat's Domino going now." No Bill, say it ain't so. You didn't say that, did ya? Some president from the society of the obese is bound to be calling any second. Rewrite, stand by . . . . Man, sure glad those Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders participated in the politically correct catch-and-release program last week when marlin fishing in Cabo last. I could see it now . . . . ah, the real world. So glad to be back.