Thursday's Tuna Talk

IRVING, TX - Bill Parcells said that while rookie outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has not yet become the Pro Bowl-caliber player some predicted -- even for his rookie season -- he has made significant progress as he adapts to his new role.

Coming Along Nicely
Parcells said that while rookie outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has not yet become the Pro Bowl-caliber player some predicted -- even for his rookie season -- he has made significant progress as he adapts to his new role.

"I think he's mature, I really do," Parcells said of his top 2005 draft pick. "This kid has had a tough transition. It's a tough transition he's making, from a down lineman in college to ouside linebacker in the pros, in this defense.

"(The New York Giants) were chipping on him a little Sunday. As a result, Greg Ellis is having a pretty good go at it. You know, Buddy Ryan had Reggie White, but he also had Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons … so you could do whatever you want to Reggie White, but you knew they had other guys you had to worry about."

Parcells said he doesn't have that kind of a game-changing player on his roster, but didn't rule out the idea that one of his players could grow into that role.

"I've had my great player," he said, referring to former New York linebacker Lawrence Taylor. "They say you (as a coach) only get one in your career. I'm hoping to get a chance to have another."

True to form, Parcells declined to identify which current Dallas players have showed him that kind of promise.

"I've got a couple here who have a chance to be pretty good," he said. "I don't know about 'great' -- I'm not real lavish with that word. I'm pretty economical."

Guard-ed Optimism
"I'm pretty happy with the guards," Parcells said. "This year, and I'm not exaggerating, there's a lot more activity on the interior of the defensive line, like what Philadelphia does with (middle linebacker) Jeremiah Trotter, where they put him up on the line of scrimmage. What I wish would happen is that you, in the media, would quit equating a guy's value to how much money he makes."

The last comment stemmed from the fact that Dallas pays its starting guards -- Larry Allen and Marco Rivera -- more than any starting pair in the NFL.

"The money we're paying our guards around here is a little unusual," Parcells admitted. "When I was G.M. with the Jets, we signed Kevin Mawae to the biggest contract ever give to a center … I think. People … it was like I committed a crime. Now five, six Pro Bowls later, I feel really good about that signing. Retrospectively, I think it was an excellent signing. Apparently they do, too -- they've re-signed him since."

Parcells: Seattle Fan?
Parcells said several times this week that he's a great admirer of the coaching style and football intellect of Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren.

"He's a great coach," Parcells said. "Write that in your story."

He said that part of the reason the Seahawks boast the NFL's top offense this season is because of the long relationship he's enjoyed with Matt Hasselbeck.

"I look at them and I see a veteran, experienced quarterback who has been in the system seven years," Parcells said. "I see a veteran running back (Shawn Alexander) who has led the league in rushing. I see a left side of the offensive line that is as dominant as any. If you ask me to take one left tackle, he (Walter Jones) is it. If you ask me to take one left guard, he (Steve Hutchinson) is it."

Defensive end Chris Canty agreed that Jones presents a challenge the likes of which Canty has not yet seen.

"Oh yeah, Coach is right," Canty said. "He (Jones) is the best we've played all year. He presents some unique challenges for us, because he's big (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) and strong, but he's also particularly athletic."

"Just look at the stats," Parcells said. "They're averaging 28 points per game. I like that team."

Parcells said the Seahawks, who rely heavily on Alexander, are a perfect example of why his run-first theory works in today's NFL.

"I'll give you a little stat," he said. "The teams with the most carries this year are 77 and 9. That's, according to my quick mathematical calculations, .895 winning percentage. That's pretty good."

A Matter of Trust
Parcells said that rookie running back Tyson Thompson, who filled in for injured starter Julius Jones in Sunday's win over the Giants, has improved significantly … but said that's in part a reflection of how much he has progressed in recent years, and how far he still has to go.

"Tyson's doing a little bit better," Parcells said. "But the highway could collapse in front of Tyson, and you'd never know it. His expression always stays the same.

"Remember, this is the first time through the league for him. Remember where he's been: junior college, right? Then one semester at San Jose (State), right? Now think about how different this level is. The one thing he can do, he can run. But if we just throw him in there, we could destroy the player."

Injuries
• Tight end Dan Campbell (groin) returned to practice today. Head coach Bill Parcells did not update Campbell's status.

• Running back Julius Jones (ankle) is still listed as questionable. "He's made some progress," Parcells said, "but he's still not where we want him."

• Wide receiver Patrick Crayton (ankle) is out.

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