Behind Enemy Lines: Bill Parcells

Dallas coach Bill Parcells -- still sounds funny, doesn't it? -- met with the Washington media on Wednesday.

Q: Did you follow Steve Spurrier's career in college and what did you think about him giving the NFL a try?

A: I don't know Steve well, but I do know him well enough to spend cordial time and have amiable discussions with him throughout the course of our careers. When he was at Duke and they played a game at Giants Stadium we talked a bit. I did think he'd do well because he has done it in every place. But there's a lot of parts to an organization. Everyting has to be in sync. We're not playing solotaire here. You have to have all the right pieces and be lucky in talent acquisitions and injuries and in the development of players. Sometimes it takes a while. But we're in the instant gratification business now. Generally speaking, that's impossible to do in football.

Q: What about his offense?

A: There's nothing at all wrong with it. What he's trying to do is sound. They do a good job throwing the ball, particularly deep.

Q: Do you think you've mellowed?

A: No. But I'll put it this way: When I was 42 I had enough energy to stay on their ass every minute. Now I can only stay on their ass about 50 percent of the time. I'm more judicious in how I do that. I do believe in pressing players. Pressure is what all of us respond to. Some respond favorably and others respond unfavorably.

Q: What do you think of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry?

A: I can get a feeling for it because of the Giants and Redskins. When Joe Gibbs was with the Redskins and I was with the Giants there was no bigger rival than that. He was the best coach I've ever coached against. There were a lot of great players in those games over the years. I do gain a sense of similarities. I know how I felt about the rivalry and how Joe felt about it as well. Having observed the Cowboys and Redskins rivalry back to the 60s, I do have an idea of it. I'm glad to be part of that. It's a different era and generation. Hopefully this will be the same thing that keeps people in both towns and around the country interested in our game.

Q: How do you change the culture of losing?

A: You explain what you're going to do and you let them know this is your plan and in my case I can say, I can't assure you this plan will work but I do have evidence that it has in the past. So try and go along with what I think is conducive to winning and try to buy into that as best you can. You see who goes along with you and you see who wants to resist it. The next thing is to bring the right player onto your team and not bring in the wrong kind of player. You can't do it all at once.

Q: What's the right player?

A: The right kind of player is one who is a dedicated guy who is willing to come to work and be a reliable, dependable employee, who isn't distracted by his environment or other peripheral issues surrounding him. And one who is trying to improve in his profession and willing to take what you give him in the hope that it enhances his ability to perform.

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