Second Guessing a Good Thing

After last season's 6-10 record, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells admits second guessing every thing he did following the 10-6 mark in 2003.

Did he take too much for granted?

Did the early success cause him to let things slide in year two?

"This game is not without second-guessing," Parcells said. "Even the people in it, do it. Certainly the people out of it, do a lot of it.

"I do it as well. I try to be as retrospective as possible. I am not ashamed of it."

Parcells' second-guessing and inward scrutiny has shaped his approach to the 2005 season.

He did not like last year's team and how it responded to adversity. It wasn't mentally tough. It wasn't resilient. It simply didn't behave the way he wanted it to with untimely turnovers, penalties and mental miscues.

As a result, Parcells has come into training camp less tolerant and less patient. He has stressed teaching with more meetings than last year. He is also making practices more physical with them going in full pads every practice.

On the first day of training camp, Parcells acknowledged that part of the reason he got himself in better physical condition in the offseason was so he could have the energy to stay on his players every day in practice.

"I want them to have mental resilience," he said. "I will keep constant pressure on them. That doesn't mean I won't joke with them every once in a while.

"(But) as far as what we are doing, we're not backing off. I want to be fair and demanding the whole way."

That's where Parcells thinks he let up a little last season. But that won't be the case in 2005. Nothing is going to be let go, as Parcells says he'd rather his team play the right way and not win than just be a sloppy team, win a few games and get lulled into thinking you're ready to play.

The players have certainly got the message, starting guard Larry Allen being placed on the physically unable to perform list for failing a conditioning test at the start of camp to the way he has cursed them for committing penalties in practice.

"Turnovers, penalties, silly mistakes, he is not putting up with those things," tight end Jason Witten said. He's so into 'I'm only going to have it this way. This is the way it is going to be. And I'm not going to play you if you are not going to do those things.'"

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