Tuna Talk - Sunday Edition

IRVING, TX. - The Cowboys' first mini-camp came to a close Sunday when head coach Bill Parcells addressed the media for the second time in three days.

"It was an orientation," he said of the three-day camp. "We try to teach the guys how we do things. We try to encourage them in the weight program. We put a big emphasis on the strength, conditioning and stamina they need to play (in the NFL). That's a major difference, and something I think most college players are unaware of, how big a deal that is."

Parcells was hesitant to call out any players as the "stars" or "major surprises" of camp, but said he saw some players who offered reasons for encouragement.

"I liked what I saw from some of them," he said, "and some of them need work -- they're a little green. We try to evaluate the free agents, and we 'll try to add a couple (to the training camp roster)."

"I'm looking to make sure we get the proper numbers at each position in camp. I don't want any position to hold us hostage."

One player who Parcells said showed some promise -- but still needed to improve -- was Skyler Green, the return specialist/wide receiver Dallas drafted from LSU.

"I told you Friday that he's too heavy," Parcells said of Green, who weighed in at 197 pounds. "He's got a tough job, now, because he's got to show me he can play a few plays other than just returning kicks."

One of the few free agent signees Parcells addressed by name was former Virginia linebacker Kai Parham, a productive player with the Cavaliers who slipped out of the draft because of poor 40 times. But Parcells said that doesn't mean Parham has no chance with the Cowboys.

"He's been in the system (Virginia coach Al Groh is a Parcells disciple who employs basically the same defense as the Cowboys use)," Parcells said. "He knows the terminology, kind of like (tight end Anthony) Fasano does (Fasano played at Notre Dame for head coach Charlie Weis, another who teaches the Parcells style). So he's a little more familiar with what we're doing. One of the problems this year in the draft was finding inside linebackers with size. He and (Oliver) Hoyte (North Carolina State) -- they both have that."

Calling the mini-camp a "rookie mini-camp" is something of a misnomer, since several players entering their second season took part. One such player who caught Parcells' eye was wide receiver Jamaica Rector.

"Jamaica has very good quickness," Parcells said. "I told him last year 'that's your biggest asset. Now you've got to learn how to use it.' But he lacked strength, so the problem he ran into was he would use so much energy to use that speed that he ran out of gas."

"So the offseason, for Jamaica, was just about all about improving his strength. Now I'm going to make a very unusual statement here: pound-for-pound, Jamaica Rector is now the strongest player we have on the Dallas Cowboys .... and we've got some strong guys."

For some players, the athletic ability already is there, and even if their skills aren't completely polished, great athleticism can tempt Parcells into keeping a player while he hones his skills.

"Pat Watkins .... we felt like he could really run," Parcells said. "If he's a little green to play safety, at least he can be a very good special teams player (while he improves defensively). At least he could do that."

Perhaps the ultimate "project player" in camp, at least among the drafted players, was offensive tackle Pat McQuistan.

"He's really green," Parcells said of the seventh-round pick from Weber (Utah) State. "He only played 15 games in college. We liked his brother (Paul), too -- we were in on him, too, but he got drafted by the Raiders. This one -- he's maybe a year behind his brother in development."

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