Parrish Learning on the Fly

To say the Cowboys have had question marks at the safety spots this year would be an understatement. Roy Williams remains a fierce hitter but has been burned often in pass coverage. The Marcus Coleman experiment never got out of the starting gate.

Patrick Watkins has loads of potential, but also has shown plenty of evidence that he is still a rookie. Keith Davis is a monster on special teams, but is hardly a gamebreaker on defense.

To shore up the last line of defense, the Cowboys last week signed ex-49er (and ex-Bear) Tony Parrish, who recently was released by San Francisco.

"I'm going to try to get him some reps (in practice)," head coach Bill Parcells said, "and see how it goes."

Parcells said he has no intention of starting Parrish at free safety this week against Atlanta.

"He's a pretty experienced player," Parcells said when asked how quickly Parrish can pick up the Dallas defense. "(San Francisco head coach) Mike Nolan was with us at the Jets, so the system (employed by the 49ers) is pretty similar, I'm sure."

Parrish said he wasn't sure exactly where the similarities and differences lie in the systems used by his former team and his new one, but said the biggest challenge will be in communication, more than in the schemes themselves.

"I think they're pretty similar, but I'd have to really think about it," Parrish said. "I feel like I'm catching up pretty well, but I've only been here a few days. I'm just trying to come in here and work, and pick things up.

"The biggest difference is always in the terminology. Every (team) has another language. I've just got to make sure we're on the same page, and then we'll be able to create some of the same pictures (of the defense) in my mind."

Parrish arrives in extraordinary shape -- his physique is so muscular he makes Terrell Owens look a little like Doogie Howser -- and said one of the main assets he'll bring to the Cowboys is his versatility.

"Whatever they ask me to do, I'll go out and do it," he said. "Free safety, strong safety -- doesn't matter. Special teams -- I'll play there, if they think I can help them there."

Getting claimed by the Cowboys was not like a normal offseason free agent transaction, where a player can field offers from multiple teams and then decide which situation best suits his skills. After being released by San Francisco, Dallas claimed Parrish outright.

"There was no decision to be made," Parris said. "I'm glad to be here, very glad, but it's not like I chose Dallas. The Cowboys chose me. They called and said 'we picked you up. You ready? Let's go.' I'm ready to go."

CowboysHQ Top Stories