IN A RUSH
Head coach Bill Parcells agreed this week that it's no secret that the Cowboys need to generate more of a pass rush against the Lions. And while he admitted that he and the defensive coaches are looking at various stunt and blitz packages, he said that getting too blitz-happy can increase the pass rush … but it is a plan that also comes with considerable risk.
"We've recognized that (the need for increased pass rush)," he said. "But you can get hurt more quickly when you try to (blitz too often). We realize that the pass percentage against us recently has been somewhat prohibitive. We've talked about (blitzing more), and we've talked about about going to some 'max' coverage, where we can make the quarterback pull the ball back when he sees a maze of players back there (in the Dallas secondary).
BACKED INTO A CORNER?
The questions that have plagued the Cowboys at right cornerback since last season continue. When Mario Edwards was allowed to walk in the offseason (to Tampa Bay), Pete Hunter was ushered into the starting role. During training camp, Donald Mitchell was released, leaving Hunter and a group of untested rookies to hold down the right cornerback spot opposite Terence Newman. The corners -- including Newman -- have had their ups and downs this years, and Parcells was asked about how the team can compensate.
"We were having so much of a problem at right cornerback, we had to do something to help -- anyone who's covered us for a while can see that," he said. "If we play Roy Williams in the deep half of the field, he plays more like a free safety than a strong safety."
Parcells admitted that he even has had moments of concern about Newman, the team's first-round pick (fifth overall) in 2003, was seen last year as a player on the cusp of stardom.
"Yeah, I've worried about him," Parcells said. "He's been in a few tough scuffles here, but that's part of the transition to being a solid player. That's part of why this is a humbling game. Players and coaches can always be pushed down … This is a thing you can learn from, something you can learn from, or something that can really drive you down."
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
As the Cowboys strive to get back to the .500 mark before all postseason hope slides away, emotions are low, egos are bruised and players and coaches alike yearn for the return of better performances. Parcells said that despite the team's record, he is not ready to panic.
"Its a difficult time -- I'm not going to make light of that," Parcells said. "It's a difficult time for me, personally. But I've been through this before. That doesn't make it any easier. I don't know if I can get it fixed -- I don't know. But I'm not grasping at straws here.
MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!
Parcells seemed almost amused -- almost -- at questions raised by some local media outlets about whether the team's record means it's a good time to replace quarterback Vinny Testaverde with heir apparent Drew Henson.
"Obviously, we have to win," Parcells said. "But you guys (media) … I've got a quarterback who's thrown one interception in his last 125 throws. If I didn't, you'd all be crying the blues about how we need a quarterback who can execute.
PUT UP OR...
Parcells said the loss (to injury) of wide receiver Terry Glenn obviously affects the offense.
"Terry was playing really well -- most people will admit that. He has excellent hands, and he has rare quickness," he said. "But (WR) Randall (Williams) ha been here four years. It's time to see what he can do."
More News and Notes with Parcells
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