Behind Enemy Lines: Dexter Coakley

The Dallas linebacker says it's been miserable to be around Bill Parcells because of all the losing this season.

Q: Why have you guys had success against the Redskins?

A: It's one of those things where a team just has your number. This year you can't read into it. With Ramsey, you can see they're not putting themselves in situations to lose a game. The running back is holding onto the ball, the offensive line is blocking.

Q: How often do you talk about the rivalry down there?

A: We talk about it all the time. It's a huge rivalry. When you look at the Hogs and the fans in the end zone with Hog noses, it's huge. You want to continue that tradition and keep that alive. There's not a lot of tradition left, this one has been going on for a long time and we're just trying to continue it and try to give fans a good game. When we play Washington it's like we're trying to rid the world of crime.

Q: How difficult is it to stop Clinton Portis?

A: It's very difficult to stop him. You can't underestimate his speed. He's a fast guy and people look at his size and think he can't go tackle to tackle but he runs hard. The line creates holes and he gets five yards here and two yards there then he'll pop it for 10, 15, 20 yards. You have to shut him down. If you don't take the running game away, then they'll open up the passing game with Coles and Gardner and Cooley.

Q: What's your reaction to Parcells' comments about the team?

A: You can't react to them. If you get caught up in what coaches are trying to say, you're probably not concentrating on what you need to concentrate on. You try to be the guy that doesn't cause the team to lose.

Q: Is it tough to be around him when you're losing?

A: It's very tough. When he first came here last year the first thing he said was not to get your expectations up. He said I'm too old to lose. And going through a season like what we're going through now, when you don't win . . . the coaches aren't talking. It's a dreadful place to be. It's a dreadful environment when you're not winning. It's baffled him as well. He can't pinpoint what it is as well. When you come into work it's not a fun environment. No one likes to lose. It all starts at the top and when the coach is grumpy and doesn't like the way things are going, it goes onto the players.

Q: Are you concerned he might walk away?

A: I know he has in the past. I know this has been a tough season for him. It's a stressful season. You get beat up in the media when the team doesn't respond to the coaches. It wouldn't surprise me. You never want that to happen. He didn't come back to coach to lose. He's too old to lose. When the team doesn't show any promise from one year to the next and you regress, that's mind boggling. It can be tough. He's a great coach. You just get up and deal with it every day. He really has to reevaluate himself and determine if this is what he wants to do at the end of the season.


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