Wednesday News & Notes

IRVING, TX -- Assorted thoughts from atop Mike Fisher's barstool, including news and notes on Matt Leinart, Terrell Owens, the potential search for the Cowboys next head coach once Bill Parcells retires and much more!

* I'm not saying Matt Leinart is destined to be a scatterbrained, unfocused bust. I'm not saying that when it comes to X's and O's, he'd rather appear on "Hollywood Squares'' than immerse himself in a football classroom. I'm not saying that he'll insist that when the Cardinals are on the road he stay inside a Hilton.

I am saying that as intrigued as some in the Cowboys front office were to watch Leinart -- at one time projected to be the top player taken in the NFL Draft -- slip, slip, slip down to Arizona, he might have been an ill fit in Big D.

Yes, Cowboys fans like their QBs to go show-bizzy -- eventually. It made sense for Don Meredith then, and it makes sense for Troy Aikman now. But Meredith and Aikman got their SAG cards AFTER they'd accomplished something, were photographed with starlets AFTER they'd accomplished something.

In Dallas, we like our QBs to possess a certain stoicism. That doesn't just go for Bill Parcells and his "blue-collar quarterback'' mindset, that goes for all of us. And "stoicism'' and "chasing strange with Nick Lachey as your wingman'' don't mix.

* We have read the jokes about Terry Owens' upcoming kids football camp. And the punchlines do come easy. But if you understand Owens' background -- and that the root of his problem is all about a formative-years-earned disrespect for authority -- you have to be encouraged by his willingness to take on the challenge of being a role model, and of being invested in the community.

Is it possible that when T.O. receives respect from people who look up to him, that he might then "pay it forward'' by respecting people he should in turn look up to?

Or is that too corny, too cheesy, too sappy, to even consider?

* Want evidence that your 1990's Super Bowl Cowboys were elite even before they became Cowboys? Re-check that list released last week of people about to be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. There's the running back from Florida. And the defensive lineman from Air Force. And the defensive back from Baylor. ... Emmitt Smith got all the headlines. But Chad Hennings is going into the Hall, too. As is one of the greatest SWC players of all time, Thomas Everett. Emmitt, Hennings and Everett, of course, were all contributors to the great Cowboys title teams - teams that were talented enough to boast three guys from one HOF class. You know Smith, of course. But it's too bad the world didn't get to know Hennings and Everett better. While so many headlines were written about that era's arrogance and the limosines and the parties and the misbehavior -- all of which did indeed exist -- not nearly enough was written and said about that team's many, many contributors like Hennings and Everett. In every single dealing that I am aware of, they conducted themselves as gentlemen. And still do.

* You don't need me to list the many reasons why you're a subscriber to The Ranch Report. But may I list just one?

The rest of the football world, most with no real connections to Valley Ranch, speculates about a Parcells successor. The speculation, as it relates to a timetable, is not unfair; Parcells himself has addressed early retirement as a possibility, and with Jerry having established his level of generosity, the temptation to take the 2006 money (and maybe some 2007 money, too) and run will exist for the coach.

Where the rest of the football should lose you, though, is in the wild speculation as it attempts to pinpoint that successor. Some guesses (Charlie Weis) are logical because of Parcells' legacy. Some guesses (Mike Zimmer) are logical because of Jones' loyalty. Some guesses (Bob Stoops) are logical because of NFL trends. Some guesses (Houston Nutt) are logical because of familial ties.

But just the other day, a national commentator mentioned, with some authority, that "Tennessee may be willing to part with Jeff Fisher.''

Meanwhile, our Roy Philpott is telling subscribers exclusively EXACTLY who is on Jerry's wish list. ... leaving the rest of us to worry only about little things like tampering and such.

* Only 68 more shopping days until Christmas in July.

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