Who Is Doing What

a tad quicker, and a tad bigger Kurt Vollers seems more powerful in the running game. None of that was ever the problem with Torrin Tucker. His deal is recognition . . . . Although Bill would rather us not talk about him, we're going to do it anyway. Rookie running back Tyson Thompson has opened some eyes. That speed we've been talking about? Man, does he get to the perimeter in a hurry. He turned the corner on one run Sunday, and it was just he and Jacques Reeves. With one shake, then it was just Thompson, Reeves frozen in place. But the rookie's deal will be how well he can pick up the offense and how well he returns kickoffs. Believe me, though, Parcells knows he's here . . . . And dropping in on the Cowboys for a third consecutive summer is Ron Wolf, the former Packers general manager, along with former head coach Chuck Fairbanks. Both are trusted sounding boards for Parcells, although Fairbanks still gives the guys a few pointers. . . .  

Oh, back to the cornerbacks for a sec. Parcells says his worry is the depth there behind the top three guys, and that they are banking on one or two of those second-year guys to come through. Zimmer said he had been happy with the progress of Lance Frazier, although he is now nursing a sprained left ankle. Said Reeves has shown some nice signs, but that Bruce Thornton, last year's fourth-round draft choice, has "kind of been up and down. It's disappointing because I feel like he has the potential to be a guy." . . . It's been no secret Parcells wants kicker Billy Cundiff to improve on his field-goal accuracy. Cundiff hit on 76 percent of his attempts last year (20 of 26), but Parcells said with the near perfect win and weather conditions year round at Texas Stadium, that he expects his kicker to hit around 85 or 86 percent. Well, you know what the difference is between what Cundiff did last year and Parcells' goal? Basically two kicks. Had Cundiff made the one he knocked off the upright and that one that missed by no more than the width of an upright football, he would have been 22 of 26, which is 84.6 percent. "So we've got to move it up," Parcells said, never one afraid to turn up the heat on a kicker . . . . 

And when asked how he might create more confidence in Cundiff to convert in some of those tight situations, Parcells said, "That's a college education unto itself figuring out those guys." . . .  

Parcells will once again be a stickler this year for finding ways to create more takeaways and reduce turnovers. He maintains that teams won 76 percent of the time when they finished a game at least plus-one in takeaways/turnovers. Says he would like to average about 2.5 to three takeaways a game. Well, let's analyze. If the Cowboys created 2.5 takeaways a game, that would total 40 for the season. Oh yeah? Then they had better get busy since they totaled all of 22 last year. Also, do you realize the Cowboys finished on the plus side of takeaways/turnovers only three times last year, beating Chicago with a plus-2 and Washington with a plus-1, but losing to Philadelphia, 12-7, at plus-1. They were either minus or even in the other 13 games, actually winning two games when they finished with more turnovers than takeaways - beating Cleveland with a minus-1 and Detroit at minus-2 . . . . 

The older you get, maybe your perspective changes on just how old 30 really is. Now the Cowboys have the distinct possibility of starting at least 10 guys who will at least turn 30 at some time this year, six of those on offense. And that doesn't include La'Roi Glover, who turned 31 on the Fourth of July but who isn't projected to start ahead of Ferguson. Leave it to Bill, who turns 64 on Aug. 22, to say, "Thirty doesn't necessarily mean you're old." . . .  

And you know what? The older you get the more you agree.                   

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