Tuna Talk

"I really don't ask any player's personality to match mine in any regard," he said. "Whatever his personality is, is fine with me."

Follow The Leader
Parcells was asked what qualities he looks for in a leader on Thursday.

"I really don't ask any player's personality to match mine in any regard," he said. "Whatever his personality is, is fine with me. I've had guys go two months without saying anything, and they've still been good leaders. You've got to be accountable."

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Parcells said, has everything the coach wants in a leader.

"Drew's a little … I don't want to say high-strung, because he's a pretty laid-back guy when he's away from football," Parcells said. "But when he's in football, he's pretty intense.

"Some of these guys, in their 30s, know how to do it -- it just comes easier to them. That doesn't mean the frustration is any less when games don't go well."

Parcells said the maturity is something that often comes only with experience.

"I talked about it with (right tackle Rob) Petitti today," Parcells said. "You've got to know how to prepare -- how to train, how to eat right, how much to sleep -- to 'get it.' Once you learn that, this game's pretty easy. If you get there, it's not that hard. It's still hard physically, but you have a better chance to be successful.

"I want Drew (Bledsoe) to run the team. He's got ideas and stuff, but I don't want too many ideas on Sunday. Got ideas? Come on in on Monday or Tuesday. I'll be happy to give input."

Airing It Out
Parcells took a shot at the media "experts" who proclaimed before the season that the Cowboys need to add a speed receiver.

"You guys were pretty skeptical," he said. "You said we need a speed receiver. I've got three guys here who can run, who can run fast. I don't think we're power-packed. But we have enough diversity to create problems."

Parcells suggested that the key to really opening up the passing game is incorporating the backs more as passing targets.

"If we can add the backs as effective receivers, then we'll have some real firepower around here," Parcells said. "I have high hopes in that area for Marion Barber. He showed that ability in college.

"Like (New York Giants running back) Tiki Barber -- he's a tremendous threat on screen passes. If you don't pay attention to him he's another weapon for them. So you've got him, you've got (tight end Jeremy) Shockey, you've got (wide receiver Amani) Toomer …" (and that was without mentioning new wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who leads the team with 25 receptions this year.)

"Let's take Bill Walsh's team in San Francisco. (Then-San Francisco running back) Roger Craig was one of the leading receivers in the league. I don't mean 25 or 35 catches, I mean a lot. That part of the pro game is kind of leaving. The more one-back offense (is used), the less teams do that. That part of the game is going more now to big, pass-receiving tight ends … they've replaced the Joe Washington-types."

Many Happy Returns
If Julius Jones can't play, and if rookie Tyson Thompson is Parcells' choice to replace Jones, Thompson will continue to return kicks, Parcells said.

"I almost ran (Terence Newman) out there Sunday, when (the Philadelphia Eagles were punting out of their end zone," Parcells said. "Patrick (Crayton) has done a good job returning punts.The only thing I'm upset with Patrick about is how he's been careless with the ball. And it's not just me -- it's most of the staff, too. So I've had him carrying a ball around with him at practice, things like that.

Despite his "carelessness" with the ball, Parcells said, Crayton remains a very promising wide receiver prospect.

"He has natural catching ability," Parcells said. "He sees the ball very well, and he has great hands, he really does. He has unusually good hands. He has really big hands, too -- he plucks the ball very well."

But for all his natural talents, Crayton still has a lot upon which to improve.

"He's got to learn to get separation," Parcells said. "He's got to be crafty. He's not like Terry Glenn, who can just (sprint and) … he's going to get his separation. Patrick's got to run very precise routes to get that separation."

In addition to his hands, there's something about Crayton that appealed to Parcells when the Cowboys drafted the quarterback-turned-wideout out of Northwest Oklahoma State in the seventh round of the 2004 draft.

"The game never looked too big for him," Parcells said. "That's one thing that always impressed me about him."

Superiority Complex?
There are some fans in New York, Philadelphia and Washington who claim Dallas has a superiority complex about the Cowboys -- from the "America's Team" tag, to the cries from Dallas that "more Cowboys would be in the Hall of Fame if not for an east coast bias" to the suggestion that Texas Stadium has a hole in the roof "so God can watch his favorite team" to the rampant speculation that the Cowboys' future stadium in Arlington will absolutely dwarf any existing NFL facility.

But perhaps it's all just a matter of perspective. This year's Dallas media guide is 368 pages long -- about the same size as the media guides put together by the Cowboys' early 2005 opponents: the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles.

This week's foe, however, seems to deem itself awfully important. The New York Giants have a Yellow Pages-esque 640 pages in their arm-breaking media guide. Some of the contents of the monstrosity:

• Six pages on the career of head coach Tom Coughlin. (Bill Parcells, who is 11th on the NFL's all-time list for career wins and has a pair of Super Bowl rings, has his career squeezed into three pages in the Cowboys' guide.)

• Four pages on quarterback Eli Manning, who had played in exactly nine games (starting seven) in his only season before the 2005 campaign.

• Two hundred pages on team records (Dallas' records section is 38 pages long).

At least on paper, the Cowboys seem downright modest.

Injury Report
Julius Jones (ankle): questionable "He's improving a little," head coach Bill Parcells said. "He still missed part of practice. We'll see how he feels."

Dat Nguyen (pinched nerve): questionable "He was back out there today," Parcells said, "but he was pretty limited."

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