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Eatman: When Bashing Spears, Remember Who Wanted Him
Marcus Spears was a first-round pick who didn’t live up to expectations on the field. There really is no denying that.
When a player is drafted No. 20 overall, you’re expecting a Pro Bowler. You expect multiple Pro Bowls at that. If anything, you’re expecting to get a guy who will be a big-time difference maker.
Marcus Spears wasn’t that guy. Sure, he played a defensive end spot in a 3-4 scheme. And most of the time, that guy rarely gets a lot of glory. Of course, J.J. Watt down in Houston has wrecked that theory completely.
But it’s clear we all expected more out of Spears. And why was that? Well mainly because the guy who wanted him more than anyone was Bill Parcells. And in his four seasons here, Parcells did a great job of changing the culture here. He took over after three straight 5-11 seasons under Dave Campo and immediately put this team in the playoffs. He had an eye for talent and knew the type of player that work in his system.
But it’s safe to say he missed on Spears. Not to say Spears didn’t have a good role with this team, but for as bad as Parcells wanted him, no he didn’t live up to the expectations.
We all remember a nice debate between DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman for the 11th overall pick in 2005. What sometimes gets lost is that Bill Parcells really didn’t want any of them. He wanted to take Spears at No. 11. Not until he was convinced by the scouts, coaches and anyone else that had a good idea how the draft would shake out, did Parcells calm down and realize Spears could get drafted at No. 20 in the first round with the Cowboys’ second of two first-round picks.
And that’s of course what happened. (And truth be told, it’s been said Parcells didn’t really get his first choice with the No. 11 overall pick either, but that’s for another story.)
But back then, whatever Parcells preached was the gospel, as it should be. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and he made his mark on this team, not to mention the Giants, Jets and Patriots.
However, we all know who gets the blame around here for just about anything that goes wrong.
So as we see Spears cut last week and then sign away with the Baltimore Ravens, don’t throw this one on Jerry’s plate, which is certainly already full. Make sure that criticism goes to the right person.
Hall of Fame or not, he missed a few times, too.