The Good Before The Storm

Parcells thinks this team will have fire power this season on offense thanks to the addition of Owens, Anthony Fasano, the renewed health of Julius Jones and Patrick Crayton and the addition of Mike Vanderjagt. That's a good, possibly eliminating all those nail-biting, field-goal decided games of a year ago. 

Yep, all good, including everyone returning from injuries and surgeries to be in uniform come Saturday morning's practice. Even last year's second-round pick Kevin Burnett, who is no more than six-and-a-half months removed from reconstructive knee surgery to repair the torn ACL he suffered the final week of the 2005 season, will be out there in pads. 

So you can bet the eternal optimist, owner Jerry Jones, is smiling, even saying, "I know I've been accused of being a little too optimistic at times, and I would usually say that is an accurate observation, but heading into this camp, I really believe that this is a very good time to be a fan of - or have an association with - the Dallas Cowboys and the National Football League." 

And on top of all this, the head guy, Big Bill, is revved up, rarin' to go. He's juiced mentally. He's primed physically for the grind that is an NFL season. Said, "I went 11 rounds today," not exactly jumping in the ring, but doing whatever he was doing aerobically in 11, three-minute increments. That Bill, he loves his boxing. 

This is real good. Last thing you want is your soon-to-be 65-year-old head coach dragging, and he's definitely not, actually looking refreshed and in good cheer from the minute we all arrived here late Thursday afternoon. Even saw him laughing up there when Jones threw a softball at him during the press conference. 

And for those of you who bought into the national reports Parcells was considering walking away after last season, that he just couldn't stomach the inability to get this team into the playoffs over the past two seasons, think again. He says he only needed a couple of days to get away after the demoralizing season-ending loss to St. Louis. Problem was, he waited several weeks before he got away. 

But then, when you're his age, that's always going to be an issue, and as he says, someone will get it right some day reporting Parcells is done, he's walking away. 

"When will I know?" Parcells asked rhetorically about the time to step down. "Well, when I don't look forward to the process, and hey, I think probably at age 50 or so there was a period of time when I wondered, 'Parcells, is this all you're going to do in life?' and you kind of go through that stage of being uncertain. I had had one health issue there that kind a woke me up a little bit and made me realize there were other things I wanted in this world. 

"But once you get through that, and I'm definitely through that, you get to where you know you are close to the end - you know just by chronologically you're close to the end, and it gets a little more precious to you because this is my life's work and this is something I've enjoyed for the most part doing, and I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to do it, one, and two, longevity is not a common thing in the NFL. So I've been fortunate to have had that. 

"I had a long discussion with my friend Dan Henning, and he says the same thing: "It gets more precious to you each game, each season is more precious, and that's sounds a little corny, but really that's the way it is for me right at this moment. So I do look forward to (the season) with anticipation. When you know it's time to go, whether the results dictate that or you don't have the energy to do it anymore then . . . ." 

Would that be positive results, meaning walking away after a successful season, or negative results, walking away after suffering through an unsuccessful season? 

"Could be either one," said Parcells, "but we don't need to be talking about this." 

No, let's not since he's been in such a good mood, even taking time on Thursday to deliver a little jab about the White Sox when he saw me. Just know he's ready, and all seems good. Good with him. Good with contracts. Good with the players, with the exception of Ellis' dour mood. Good with the owner. 

But then you had better check back with me tomorrow. Practice

MICK SHOTS

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