LOOKING AT THE LARGER PICTURE
Although he said he was pleased with the performance of many players at this weekend's rookie mini-camp, Dallas head coach Bill Parcells was hesitant to single out individual players for their performances.
"Oh, nobody in particular," he said when asked who had caught his eye over the weekend.
"We were just trying to give them a little introduction into what we're doing, a little orientation. The majority of these guys will be back in a few weeks (for the team's next mini-camp, which will be held May 27-29)."
PLAYERS GET A TASTE OF TUNA
It's no secret that Parcells casts quite a tall shadow from his mere presence on the practice field -- many players admitted to being intimidated or awe-struck at their first exchange with the Cowboys' coach.
"I hope not," Parcells said somewhat sheepishly. "I'm just a regular guy."
Parcells said he tried to talk a little with each player during the three-day camp.
"I try to show them a little of my personality," he said. "I try to interact with them -- just a little bit -- on the field. I don't have time to spend a lot of time with each guy."
…AND BE CAREFUL OUT THERE
Parcells faced the media Sunday before imparting his last words to the rookies, but he said that what he planned to tell them centered around off-field behavior and decisions, as much as anything about football.
"(I'll tell them) 'You now represent the Dallas Cowboys, the organization,' " he said. " 'Now you're a potential victim. You've gone from a type of person who might not be taken advantage of to a type of person who might. You're not just a football prospect -- now you're a prospect for the unscrupulous people who think you have money, who think you can be taken advange of.
"'When trouble starts, go the other way. That's it. Don't become involved, don't be a peacemaker. Walk the other way.'"
The Cowboys were lauded by many for their selection of Virginia DE Chris Canty, a player once thought to have the talent to get picked in the top half of the first round, but whose draft stock slipped because of a knee injury and then a post-season eye injury. Could Canty turn out to be the steal of the draft?
"Every year, there's some misfortune like that," Parcells said. "Someone will get hurt at an all-star game, or at a Pro Day. One advantage Chris has is that he already has a pretty good idea what it is we do with our defense."
That's because Canty played at Virginia for head coach Al Groh, a Parcells disciple who uses many of the same schemes and terminology employed by the Cowboys.
Parcells speaks often about how the first step for rookies is "getting it" -- understanding the work players need to put in studying, in the weight room, in film study, etc. A handful of one-year veterans were on the field this weekend with the rookies, and Parcells said he was pleased with the progress shown by some of the returning players.
"(WR) Tom Crowder spent the whole year learning how to catch the ball better," Parcells said.
"He's got the speed -- now he's getting better catching the ball. I'm very pleased with (FB Lousaka) Polite. He's one of the two or three strongest players we had this offseason, and he's a very smart kid. He should get it pretty quickly."
Tuna Talk: Parcells Pleased
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