Parcells, brought in to return the Cowboys to their days of glory, is 25-24 in three years. He has just one playoff appearance here, none in the past two years.
It's little wonder they overhauled the roster and the locker room in
the offseason with the controversial signings of receiver Terrell Owens
and kicker Mike Vanderjagt.
The Cowboys now have their most talented and ready-to-win team in a
And they are ready to pounce.
It all starts Sunday against the Jaguars.
The players are ready and so is Parcells, who took a chance himself
in coming to the Cowboys in 2003.
Already a Hall-of-Fame-in-waiting coach with two Super Bowl titles to
his credit, Parcells is in danger of tarnishing his legacy with the
In addition to winning two Super Bowls with the Giants, Parcells took
the Patriots to the Super Bowl and the Jets to the AFC title game.
Sure he led the Cowboys to a wildcard playoff appearance his first
year in Dallas, but 6-10 and 9-7 seasons followed.
He likely cares little about his legacy at this point. But Parcells
is a competitor. He hates to lose and he hates to fail.
Anything short of a big year in Dallas would be a huge disappointment
The same can be said of Jones, quarterback Drew Bledsoe and receiver
All have something to prove. All are looking at this season as a
chance to prove their critics wrong.
All are desperate to win.
"I know Bill is highly motivated," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "I
don't get the sense that there is any desperation or any sense of trying
to prove anything to anybody. He likes the guys on this team. He said he
thinks we have a chance to do something special."
Said linebacker Greg Ellis: "I think Bill is optimistic. He is not
stupid. He's got his guys in here he was looking for. Things are coming
into place the way he wants them to fall in place player wise. We just
have to do it on the field."
The Cowboys hope to set the tone in Jacksonville, which starts a
tough season-opening stretch where the Cowboys play six of their first
nine on the road, including three of their first four games.
The Jaguars will not be an easy opponent. They were 12-4 last year
and enter 2006 with Super Bowl aspirations of their own.
"I know the expectations what the goals are here and that's fine,"
Parcells said. "I know the expectations here are high and I am conscious
of those. But now is not the time to be talking about the end result.
You have a lot of roadblocks in front of you before you even can begin
to consider those kinds of things. And the first one is against a
division winner, 12-4 on the road in adverse circumstances.
That's he first big roadblock we got. That is what I am focused on. I
SERIES HISTORY: 4th meeting. The Dallas Cowboys lead series, 2-1. The
Cowboys won the last meeting 21-19 in 2002. This will be the teams'
first meeting at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.
--Several Cowboys have changed numbers since the end of training
camp. Tight end Anthony Fasano is No. 80, linebacker Oliver Hoyte is No.
53, nose tackle J'Vonne Parker is No. 60 and defensive end Jay Ratliff
is No. 90.
--The Cowboys signed Mike Vanderjagt to be a kicking savior.
He was given a $5.4 million contract for the next three years.
So far he's a huge question mark.
His injury and inconsistency in the preseason caused the Cowboys to
keep an extra kicker on the roster in Shaun Suisham and cost a player a
Now coach Bill Parcells doesn't know what he has at kicker going into
the season opener.
"It is the overall uncertainty," Parcells said. "When a guy says
after the game he's not 100 percent, which he said, that concerns me."
Now the question is whether Vanderjagt's problems are mental or
physical. And if there is some carry-over from last season's missed
field goal with the Colts in the AFC title game against the Steelers.
"It's a difficult thing in sports. We've all seen those examples of
things happening," Parcells said. "It's back to the confidence in
demonstrated ability. Over the years, he has certainly demonstrated
that, but as you go on, you need to reinforce that to yourself."
--WR Terrell Owens has declared himself healthy and ready to go for
the season opener. Owens missed 21 practices over the last month due to
a hamstring injury. He says he hasn't forgotten what has been said and
written about him and plans to use it as extra motivation to put on a
show against the Jaguars.
"I'll be ready," said Owens, who has 716 career receptions for 10,535
yards and 101 touchdowns. "Just to hear a lot of the criticisms from a
lot of commentators around the nation, I've got those things in the back
of my head. Everybody has their opinion about me, what's going on with
me. Everybody is going to speculate. People that know me, they know I am
going to come out and be ready to play. I'm going to be fired up."
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 --The Cowboys need eight regular-season wins to
reach 400 in franchise history. Dallas' all-time regular-season record
251 --Drew Bledsoe needs 251 pass completions to become the fourth
player (Dan Marino, Brett Favre and John Elway) in NFL history with
4,000 pass completions. In 13 seasons, Bledsoe has completed 3,749
14 - Terrell Owens needs 14 touchdowns to pass Tim Brown (105), Don
Hutson (105), Barry Sanders (109), Marvin Harrison (110), Lenny Moore
(113) and John Riggins (116) to move into eighth place all-time. In 10
NFL seasons, Owens has 103 career touchdowns.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very fortunate for the opportunity that they have
given me. Obviously this is a team that I felt when I looked at the
market as far as a team that's been on the bubble, kind of on the edge
of making the playoffs. I know last year, they missed a few games here
and there from making the playoffs. I think with the addition of myself
and a couple of guys on the team, we can get ourselves where we need to
be." -- Receiver Terrell Owens.
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