He was too small to take the pounding on an every-down basis. He knew the Cowboys eventually would be looking in another direction.
He even said as much, causing a controversy in the preseason.
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said it was much ado about nothing and that
Ellis would continue to have a big role with the Cowboys.
Well, 13 games into the season, Ellis is pretty much a backup to rookie
defensive end Chris Canty.
Canty has started the past two games, primarily, Parcells said, because
the Cowboys were facing run-oriented offenses and Canty gave them a better
chance of stopping the run because of his size.
But while Ellis had started the previous 11 games, his role has been the
same as it was the last two weeks. He has averaged about 25 plays a game,
playing mostly as a nickel pass-rusher.
Ellis, who led the team in sacks in each of the past four years and leads
in 2005 with eight, understands what's happening but refuses to make a big
deal out of it.
"This is not a disappointing thing to me," Ellis said. "The main
objective is to win football games. If the Dallas Cowboys feel like this
gives us our best chance to win, then that is what we are going to do. I
have no problem with that."
Due a $500,000 roster bonus in March and a $3 million salary next year,
Ellis also understands that what is good for the Cowboys this year might not
be acceptable in 2006. He said he is very well aware of the future
implications but can only worry about this year.
"We are just trying to hold it together, win as many as we can this year
and move on from there," Ellis said.
--DE Chris Canty did not practice Thursday but remains probable with a
sprained ankle. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells hopes Canty will be able to
practice on Friday, but he said Canty will have to demonstrate he can
function at some point before he can play against the Redskins on Sunday.
--WR Patrick Crayton hasn't caught a pass in two games since returning
from ankle surgery. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said Crayton has been rusty.
"I think this is a guy -- I'm pretty sure I'm not misjudging this, now --
I think this is a guy that has to practice," Parcells said. "He grooved
himself a certain way. I think some guys can just get back and be right on
it. I don't think he did that very well, so I don't think it has anything to
do with the physical. It's just getting in tune with the game now."
--CB Anthony Henry did not look like the same player against the Chiefs
last Sunday as he did earlier in the season, when he was considered the most
valuable player on defense. It was Henry's first game after missing three of
the previous four with a strained groin. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells has
told Henry he is waiting on the guy who played for the Cowboys before he got
hurt, not the one wearing No. 42 now.
--QB Drew Bledsoe said he came to Dallas in the offseason to play
meaningful games in December as a part of a playoff contender. Cowboys coach
Bill Parcells is counting on Bledsoe's experience in big games and his
motivation to win to serve as an example for the younger players on the
"That is the fun part of this game, really," Parcells said. "And I think
the older you get or the more you've been in it or the more you've done it,
the more you appreciate that. He's been in a couple of Super Bowl chases and
in the playoffs several times, and I think that's the thing that's probably
driving him. ... This game is a test all the time for all of us, but just
because you've failed the test every once in a while doesn't mean you don't
enjoy that part of it, because you do. You don't enjoy not succeeding in
some respects, but you do enjoy the process of playing to do it. That's what
he's really saying."
Writing On the Wall For Ellis
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