A Couple Of Mind Changers

run with the ball the other way, (saying) OK, this transition is 3-4, it's this and it's this, but I've told you all along what's going to happen," Parcells said.

And what he had been saying, for the record, is that he wants to incorporate the 3-4 into his defensive plans, and that since playing the 3-4 was totally foreign to this team and most of these players and assistant coaches, he would start working on it pretty much on a fulltime basis. But, there was a "but" in there, always prefacing he would like to be able to move in and out of both defenses to keep offenses guessing.

Two things, though, I believe are giving him pause as he says he now must decide what the defensive front ratio between the 3-4 and 4-3 will be: 50-10, 40-20 or 30-30, since he figures the club will be in the nickel, which consists of four down linemen, two linebackers and five DB's, roughly 33 to 40 percent of the time.

First, the Cowboys didn't exactly make an aggressive transition from playing run to pass rushing in the Arizona game. The guys in the front seven seemed so conscious of stopping the run, they were slow transitioning into rushing the passer when it was a pass play. The Cowboys had no sacks against the Cards, and pressure only a few times.

Next, after watching La'Roi Glover play so well on the nose against the Cardinals, I'm guessing Parcells was not liking the idea of Glover - when Jason Ferguson is healthy and manning the nose - standing next to him on the sideline, even if he's trying to reduce his number of plays.

"All of the thought process that's going into that," Parcells said, "is involving trying to keep the best quality of players that I have in the game for the majority of what I feel like is workable for that player."

Not exactly brain surgery to figure out you must fit your scheme to your personnel; that no matter the Cowboys have acquired Ferguson and Marcus Spears and Demarcus Ware and Chris Canty and Kevin Burnett, you can't ignore Glover and Ellis.

See, when all are healthy, here is what Parcells has to work with on the defensive line: Ellis, Glover, Ferguson, Spears, Kenyon Coleman, Chris Canty, Leo Carson and now rookies Jay Ratliff and Thomas Johnson. Maybe even Ware, depending on what the Cowboys decide to do with him.

But when playing the 3-4, here is what they have at outside linebacker: Ware, Al Singleton, Burnett and Kalen Thornton. Now Eric Ogbogu has played out there some, but really, he's a pass-rushing defensive end. Don't know if he has the agility to play that outside linebacker spot.

Seems to me Parcells still has better depth on the defensive line than at linebacker, and he even said here on Tuesday one of his biggest concerns is the depth at outside linebacker. And really, the strength of the 3-4 needs to be your talent at outside linebacker. That's where the mismatches occur.

And, he even admits this consternation over how much of which defense he plays basically comes down to if he wants Glover on the field for the majority of downs or if he wants Singleton on the field over there at the left outside linebacker spot. Because it seems if the Cowboys are playing a base 4-3, there is a good chance the outside backers just might be James, Shanle or Singleton and Ware.

Plus, there is this, and got a feeling this is really sticking in Bill's mind. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Parcells asked Jim Burt, the former nose tackle on Parcells' Giants from back when helping coach his inside defensive linemen at camp, who he thought was the Cowboys' best defensive lineman.

"Glover," Jones said is what Burt told Parcells.

Would have been my answer, too, and I ain't no former Pro Bowl nose tackle.

So see, all this worrying about how in the world Ellis and Glover were going to fit in, and how they were concerned about their status with the team, just might have been for naught. Like water - and news - talent, even though you might inadvertently be trying suppress it, always finds its own level.

And as I've repeatedly said, don't care if I'm playing a 4-2, 3-4, 5-2, or a 6-1, me, I want as many Glovers and Ellises on that defensive line.

So does Bill. Continue reading: Page 1 Page 3

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border=0 width=100% cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0>    Bill Parcells' patience with struggling offensive tackle Torrin Tucker might be surprising, but not so if you realize that football people still think the third-year player has the physical tools to play the position in the NFL. They think he is the most powerful of the Cowboys tackle candidates.    The same cannot be said of Jacob Rogers, whose currently sprained right knee suffered after only two plays in Saturday's preseason game seems to perturb Parcells to no end. Especially when he seems him riding the stationary bike after missing all the off-season mini-camp work following shoulder surgery.      What sort of influence has Aaron Glenn had on fellow corner Terence Newman, who seems to be playing with increased confidence so far during training camp? Says Glenn, "You got to believe in yourself, and that's one thing I tell him to write in his notes every day, is 'I am one of the best corners in this league,' and if you keep telling yourself that, eventually it's going to stick." And I'm guessing he didn't get that kind of help from anyone while he was slumping last year.

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