You'll Know Sooner Than Later

him, and not just with him, but with anyone . . . this is a time when the games are over for our football team, this is the time to reflect and evaluate . . . that's what he's doing," Jones said on his radio show. "That doesn't surprise me at all - shouldn't surprise any one of us when you're at the age Bill is, you'd just sit down and look at everything and go from there. 

"We have a really fine working relationship. I have more respect for him than I had when he came on has head coach, which when he came on as head coach I had a lot of respect for him. So that's all positive." 

But again, Jones did not say he was waiting around for two weeks, or even a month. He can't. He's already got teams calling for permission to speak to his coordinators, Mike Zimmer and Sean Payton. Zimmer already has an interview lined up in St. Louis. Green Bay has gotten permission to speak to Payton about its opening. Decisions need to be made, especially if Jones thinks Zimmer or Payton might be candidates to fill his own vacancy. 

Jerry has been down that road before. When Jones replaced Barry Switzer, he did not hire Chan Gailey until Feb. 12 after chasing Terry Donahue for several weeks. By then, he began running out of viable candidates. And then when he replaced Gailey, Dave Campo was hired Jan. 26, during Super Bowl week. 

"So I'm not at all concerned about a few hours or days here as we visit about this," Jones went on to say. 

So if you take Jones at his word, whatever is going on with Parcells figures to be cleared up sooner than later, and likely any day and possibly by the end of the week. There likely is to be an announcement of some sort, or maybe if a vigil begins, Jones will just send some smoke out of one of their offices. You know, a Papal thing. 

But whatever happens, he needs to know his coach will have all the energy it takes to deal with the rigors of being one of 32 NFL head coaches. And frankly, until the ESPN report, which by the way followed the disheartening and deflating loss to Washington, there were no signs of Parcells wearing down. At least not outward. 

Get beat 35-7 by the Skins when you realized a victory that day might have clinched an NFL playoff spot, you, too, might be down in the dumps. 

But being down on the dumps is a lot different than dumping your $4.25 million annual job and possibly dumping 13 assistant coaches onto the streets. Or what you really love to do. 

We'll find out, though, and from the sounds of things, much sooner than later.     

MICK SHOTS

       
  Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, scheduled to interview for the vacant St. Louis head coaching job, really doesn't have any ties to the Rams management, other than someone in the organization obviously has recognized the fine job he's done coordinating the Cowboys defense - showing this year he's adaptable, moving from the 4-3 to the 3-4. The Rams say they want a defense-oriented guy as head coach, so Zim better come to the table with an offensive coordinator in hand. 
  The Cowboys defense, by the way, finished 10th this season, a far cry from last year's 16th. This year they finished 11th in passing defense, an increase of 10 spots from last year. And the Cowboys nearly gave up 100 fewer points this season, 308 compared to 405 of last year - that's like six points a game less. 
  Here is a troubling number, though. The Cowboys finished minus-five in turnover margin. Worse, they totaled 16 of their 31 give-aways in the final six games, when they closed out the season after a 7-3 start by going 2-4. 
                                                             

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