Behind Enemy Lines: Bill Parcells

The Dallas coach met with the Washington media Thursday, spending lots of time talking about Joe Gibbs and the rivalry their teams had when Parcells was in New York.

Q: Joe Gibbs says he doesn't like facing you. Do you feel the same about him?

A: I feel the same way.

Q: Why?

A: Because he's a very, very worthy opponent and always has been. Everyone knows how I feel about him. I've made that statement many times publicly. I'm very happen he's back in football and hope he's happy doing it. I mean that. I know it means increased competition. It's always meant that and I'm sure it will continue to mean that.

Q: Do you enjoy the increased competition, isn't that why you got back into coaching?

A: I don't think there's much difference. Listen, Joe lives his life a certain way and I live mine a certain way. But I think philosophically in football, although it manifests itself in a different way, there are a great number of similiarties in what we're trying to do. It's not the philosophy, but the principles are similar, like what he tries to do first and what I try to do first. There's not a hairs difference between the overall intent of either coach. Back in the old days he was the innovator of the one-back and we ran a two-back. It was different. He ran a 4-3 and we ran a 3-4. It was different. But there wasn't a lot of difference philosophically in how to play the game.

Q: How proud of you are you of that 11-6 record against Joe Gibbs?

A I don't look at it that way. I'll tell you, 80 or 90 percent of those games could have been won by either team. They're getting ready to beat us in New York one day and the ball bounced off Byner's shoulder pads and we caught it in the end zone. Another time we're on the 1 or 2 and time ran out.

Q: Is that as good a rivalry as you've been part of?

A: Yes, without question. That one and then, when I was with the Giants, we had a lot of games with San Francisco.

Q: Phil Simms wrote this week that he remembered one time standing in the tunnel at RFK and he said, 'It's going to be loud.' And you said, 'Isn't it great?' Is that what you like?

A: Yeah, very much because I know there was a mutual respect. Those players, I knew them almost like I knew my own players because I had played them so many times. I could name the whole lineup now verbatim and I'm sure he could do the same for our lineups. It's like one of those backyard deals and that's what's great. That's what is the most fun.

Q: Is it harder to take that second step after you've had that first success, like Dallas had last year?

A: One of the hardest steps in football is to get from a fortunate playoff team, which is what we were, to a team that is really a contender, a real contender. It's a big step to get out of that. Sometimes you regress and you're not able to maintain. I told my team the other day that there's a heck of a difference between a good team and what we are right now.

Q: Have you gotten more out of Vinny than you could imagine?

A: No. Hey, he threw three interceptions in six passes the other day. I told him I need a fireman, not an arsonist.

Q: How much does the Redskins' offense resemble their offense from Gibbs' first time around?

A: There's some similarities without question. But I don't think Joe has all of what he's gonna eventually do. As he grows with the players and learns more about what you can do, you see different things. I don't know where he is in that process.

Q: Can the countery trey still be effective?

A: Sure. All you've got to do is watch Ahman Green run it. It's the same thing. It's just not a one-back play with them. They run it with two backs. It doesn't make a difference if it's two backs or the tight end replaces the fullback. Just watch Ahman run it and it's the same thing. your defense at last years level: no.

Q: Are you surprised that you had a player throw a jersey at you and you didn't cut him?

A: No. I got a couple phone calls from ex-players that I used to have fights with. They said, 'You must really like that SOB if you waste your time fighting with him.'

Q: Is there one thing that stands out about Gibbs that has made him such a great coach?

A: Yeah. He has what all good coaches have. He has a philosophy. He doesn't deviate and he tries to get players that fit into that philosophy and he's very consistent with it.

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