News & Notes

News and notes out of Valley Ranch headed into Sunday's big game against the explosive New Orleans Saints. <BR>

Parcells handed out praise (a little, anyway) to PK Billy Cundiff at Thursday's press conference.

"I thought he had a good game (Monday)," Parcells said. "I didn't think he had a good game against Chicago. I've never been through a season when I didn't wonder about kickers. You wonder about 'em. That's a wondering type."

Kickers are like relief pitchers and goalkeepers -- they're just a different breed, which explains Parcells' curiosity about them. On rare occasions, Parcells even has showed confidence in his kicker.

"I could look at Matt Bahr and know how much farther we needed to go to get into field goal range," Parcells said. "I didn't even have to say anything. I'd look at him, he'd look at me -- just for a couple of seconds, and he'd say (holding his hand up with all five fingers out) 'five more yards' and that was it. I had other things to worry about. We go get five more yards, and he'd hit it."

When he coached the Jets, Parcells had a kicker he reluctantly considered a legitimate weapon.

"John Hall is a bigger guy, and he has more moving parts," Parcells said. "But he's a powerful guy -- a powerful guy -- who can rocket the ball. His first field goal that he tried in the NFL was 55 yards up in Seattle. He made it -- up in the net, too. When he did that, I said, 'we might have something here.' "

Old Reliable
It's no secret that Parcells is fiercely loyal to players who have excelled for him in the past. One such player showed the wisdom of his coach's confidence again Monday night.

In the fourth quarter, WR Keyshawn Johnson went up in the back of the end zone over a Seattle DB and pulled in a touchdown pass to keep the Cowboys in the game, setting up Julius Jones' game-winning touchdown.

"I like the kid -- he works hard," Parcells said of Johnson. "That's the third catch like that he's made for me, and I haven't had him his whole career -- late in the game, a catch to tie it up or win the game. You don't forget that. He does all the dirty things for you -- he can catch the ball, he'll block …"

Parcells was asked how much Johnson was affected Monday night by an injured knee, and if it affected his performance.

"Yeah, it bothers him," Parcells said. "He doesn't care. He plays."

Johnson said that his contribution to the team extends far beyond his receptions.

"You don't have to catch a lot of balls to be effective," Johnson said. "You've got to account for me (defensively). You've got to put your best corner on me, and slide your safety over."

Johnson said that even at less than full strength, he can contribute.

"I don't understand injury percentages," he said. " 'He's 70 percent, he's 60 percent.' If you get on the field, you can play. I get paid, I got to play -- that's just who I am."

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