Seeing Clearly At Right Tackle

performance, I can't determine what I can rely on, then you become, 'Then that's what he is.'

"If I can rely on whatever you are to be consistent at a pretty decent level, then I can figure out what to do with you. But if I can't rely on you, all right, and you fall into that coaches' conversation in a negative way, 'Well that's just what he is . . . he is what he is . . . what we're seeing is what he is,' that can be a bad thing.

"As a coach, the most important thing is to be able to rely on what a player is going to do."

That's a mouthful, but in essence, Parcells is saying he can't become seduced by Tucker's latent talent because he can't rely on whatever that is more than 50 percent of the time. He's currently listed as Rogers' backup on the right side.

OK, that's Tucker, and it appears unless he kicks it in gear these first couple of preseason games, not only will he not be in the running for a starting job, but a job period.

Then there is sixth-round draft choice Rob Petitti. Parcells has high hopes for him. And even though he has been moved back to the right side - he was a left tackle at Pittsburgh - and actually worked with the first team Tuesday in Rogers' absence - yes, Tucker has fallen that far - he's just not ready. He needs lots of work.

So that's four of the five candidates. The fifth was Ben Noll, and the Cowboys moved him back to guard before they even started camp. Parcells said, though, Noll would be responsible for mentally knowing the right tackle position.

Well, Noll has his hands full just trying to play backup right guard. In fact, he's been so disappointing so far, Parcells just moved backup center Tyson Walter to right guard, and Tuesday said of Noll, "My expectations for Ben Noll are a little bit more than I've seen right now. I think Ben can salvage this thing, but he's got to get better."

Ouch.

That's five. So, see what I mean?

At this point, it would appear to be Rogers or bust at right tackle. And with his latest injury - the third he's had since being drafted in last year's second round - that has to give Parcells pause. Is this guy simply injury prone?

That is why Allen moving to right tackle still has to be in the back of Parcells' mind.

Now Parcells said at the start of camp all his other possibilities would have be exhausted before he'd even think of doing that, plus, he would have to find a legitimate starting left guard to replace Allen.

Well, right now Stephen Peterman is working at left guard behind Allen. As of Tuesday, noon, Parcells said of last year's third-round draft choice who missed all of his rookie season following reconstructive knee surgery, "He's doing all right. Not great, but all right."

Sounds as if Peterman would need to do more than "all right" to make that move.

So as of now, the Cowboys must officially be inspecting the waiver wire and re-examining any existing free-agent offensive tackles.

"We may, we may, we're looking at that possibility," Jones said of dipping into free agency for an offensive tackle. "But it's not as urgent as before."

There are two names out there we'd recognize: Ross Verba and Marcus Spears, released by Cleveland the other day. Spears will be 34 in September, and has played 11 seasons in the NFL. Verba, the soon-to-be 32-year-old who has played nine seasons in the NFL, rebated the Browns $465,000 to gain his release this off-season when he couldn't get a contract extension from Cleveland. He and his agent, Tom Condon, thought there would be considerable interest in his services.

That was June 9, and two months later, he's still looking for a job. That would trouble me unless I was really desperate.

The Cowboys could be desperate. They have to see once these preseason games begin if Rogers is All-Training Camp or if he can hold up against first-team NFL defenses. And they have to somehow be reassured this guy isn't one of those injury-prone dudes.

Or, they must develop enough confidence in Peterman to make the move with Larry Allen.

Or, they just have to sign a guy.

A simple process of elimination. Continue reading: Page 1 Page 3

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cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0>    Can you believe the Cowboys have been practicing more than a full week only to discover the numbers on the practice field were painted too close to the hash marks. So there is a redo out there, only with green paint next to the existing white ones. Quite a sight.    While Parcells refrained from answering questions about rookie free-agent running back Tyson Thompson, he says he's not trying to hide the kid from Irving, Texas, and that he plans on playing him in preseason games.    Give this to La'Roi Glover: While he might not be a prototypical nose tackle, that doesn't mean he has to settle for less in his performance. So there was the five-time Pro Bowler after Tuesday's practice, staying late to work with Jim Burt.

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