Bill's Morning Of Discontent

team," Parcells said.

Do you have a feel if he will play in Monday night's preseason game?

"No, I don't have a feel for that," he said.

The tone was set.

And you knew, too, this was coming, someone asking about the SI.com story saying Parcells went to trainer Jim Maurer to tell him he wanted Owens practicing on Wednesday. That Parcells had enough of the wide receiver missing 14 practices.

Oh my.

"Well, see that's just the BS I'm trying to avoid this summer," said Parcells, driving this one into the gap. "See, what happens is someone makes something up and then I have to respond to it, and it has a life of its own. You guys live on that stuff. I'm telling you, I'm not doing it."

Now then, with his best sarcasm, he continued in great dismay: "I went to Jim Maurer. Now think about it. Think about it. Just think about it. Just use your head. Think about it . . . and demanded, think about that."

About that time, there was a loud-mouthed talk-radio guy broadcasting from a tent about 15 yards from where Parcells was seated, and just when he paused, when there was some uncomfortable silence, this guy's obnoxious voice came booming out.

Parcells turned to his left, and said increduously, "Who's this guy? What are they selling?"

Swear, you would have laughed out loud. A hysterical ice-breaker.

Boy, now he was grooved, and here he came again when asked about if he is trying to make Bledsoe more of a commander on the field.

"That's why I want practice closed," Parcells said, "because everybody's got rabbit ears, OK, and they're not able to interpret the context the way I'm saying things. I might be saying it purposely. I might be saying it for someone else's benefit. I'm might be saying it for a lot of reasons. My job is to get my team ready. I need leadership on the team when things aren't going well. That's very important. Trying to create a little independence on my team. That's why I want the coaches out of the way and I want the players to be able to function by themselves. That's what I'm trying to accomplish here. And when it doesn't go that way, I have to call it to their attention, simple as that."

He was later flipped the softball of softballs, something about playing New Orleans Monday night in Shreveport, La., and if this game will help provide a diversion for the state of Louisiana following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina nearly a year ago.

"Playing in Louisiana?" Parcells said as if someone had asked him about the geological makeup of Mars. "No, I don't think anything about that. We were all saddened by the turn of events in Louisiana, and everybody in this country was concerned with the outcome, but that was then and we're going forward now.

"I'm not part of any diversion. We have a game in Shreveport - that's how I look at it. "

Not interested. Louisiana doesn't reside in that 200-yard corridor, not this time of year.

Then it was back to his assistant coaches, and why he has been making them stand far behind the play during team drills to ensure the players making the calls on the field without their help, especially the defense, all of which better simulates a game-like situation - but not before saying Kevin Burnett's "had more surgeries than tackles."

"Here is the deal, we meet all night, OK, we have an inordinate number of meetings," Parcells said, picking up steam. "That's the classroom. That's where you teach 'em. Then you go out there and do your warm-up drills and everything, and then you do your individual technique periods, and then we work in group segments. Then when the team period comes, I kinda want to know what they know. What do they know of what we just spent the last 24 hours doing? Let me see what you know.

"So if you got some coach spoon-feeding the guy every bit of information to get him through the team period, then I really don't have a good evaluation of what the players are doing. So I've always been one to keep the coaches back during team period.

". . . now I'm trying to get my team ready to play independently, and so I'm starting to do it, and I'll continue to do it."

OK?

And it might have been 20 minutes into his normal 30-minute

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