Making The Call

the Cowboys, this is starting to sound as if the offensive coordinator's responsibilities with be a collective effort, with Parcells once again calling plays in the end, at least from at the start of the season. 

"It's not something . . . game plans, those things, how we do it and how we teach it, is not constructed by one voice," Parcells said. "It's a unanimous opinion." 

And even though Payton ultimately called plays last year - but the umbilical cord to Parcells never a lengthy one - this offensive committee approach evidently is business as usual. 

"The bottom line was, I was responsible for the run game, and Sean was responsible for the pass game," Sparano said of last year's organizational chart. "It's a nice luxury to have, not one guy making all the decisions, and we can bounce ideas off each other." 

So more and more you get the idea, right? Parcells will once again call the plays, but rely on his split-duty offensive coordinators to help organize the offense, the game plans and practice schedules, along with a heavy influence from Palmer, who is coaching the guy. 

But even Parcells admits since he's ultimately responsible for the team, it's hard for him to relinquish control of such an integral factor in the success or failure of his club. 

"Long time ago when I first got in the league, several of the prominent head coaches, including the one who used to be here (i.e. Tom Landry), advised me very strongly to never let an assistant coach be the game manager," Parcells said. "Said you can wind up getting in trouble doing that because they don't have the perspective of the whole team. No matter how good they are at their own deal, you can't let them manage the game. 

"So I've always tried to keep the pulse on that. But that doesn't mean I've got to call everything, either. But I want it to be going the way I want it to go." 

He means calling plays according to not only how your offense is playing, but also how your defense is playing, knowing that if your defense is struggling, you had better tailor your offense toward controlling the football and eliminating high-risk plays which could lead to turnovers. 

He means being cognizant of how your special teams are playing, and also the capabilities of your various units. And he means being very aware of not only your opponent's abilities, but your own team's capabilities, which requires a brutally realistic outlook enthusiastic assistants might not possess. 

This does not mean being a control freak. But if you have the ability to call plays, this just makes common sense. Isn't that why so many former offensive coordinators end up head coaches? 

To me, this is sort of like the old Italian restaurant custom no doubt Parcells learned from his mother, where if it ain't the owner at the cash register handling the money, it better be the mother or father or grandma. Can't trust just anyone with something so intimately important. 

Same with calling plays.        

MICK SHOTS

     
  Here are three stats the Cowboys must improve on from the 2005 season if they are to qualify for the playoffs in 2006: The Cowboys averaged 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, 26th in the NFL. The Cowboys suffered 50 sacks last year, ranking 28th. The Cowboys averaged 4.6 yards on first down, 24th in the league. 
  DeMarcus Ware is following in the footsteps - maybe hand prints - of Randy White and Greg Ellis. He is taking karate lessons this summer to better coordinate his hands for pass-rush purposes. The Hall-of-Famer White swears by the concept of improving your hands to defeat the blocks of offensive linemen will also improve your pass rush. 
  Former Cowboys punter Toby Gowin is trying to keep his name alive, signing with Jacksonville. Gowin realizes the Jaguars have Chris Hanson, probably a tough guy to

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