Youth Will Be Served

keeping rookies, it's playing them, too. 

Let's see, Ware will start at right outside linebacker. Looks like for now Petitti starts at right tackle. Condo is the deep snapper. Chris Canty has been coming in on the nickel defense's four-man front. And I'm guessing before long that job will go to Marcus Spears, who just got back on the field Thursday following his knee and ankle sprain. And Kevin Burnett, you watch, will initially be an impact special teams guy before he works his way into a more prominent role on the defense. 

So counting the three specialists - and kicker is far from settled, even though Cortez still is here - 10 of the 25 starters will have no more than three years experience. 

That's good, as Parcells would say, but that also can be not so good. 

"I do think you'll see, possibly with some of the young players we have, they'll have a good chance to do something quick," Parcells said. "(But) this defense is going to do some dumb things. We will have some growing pains here, but we will make some plays." 

That will be the tradeoff at this point. The Cowboys do have some young playmakers on this defense. That means, yes, they will make some individual plays at time, and that you could see during the four preseason games when they got in some one-on-one situations in space. And that is something that has been sorely lacking on this defense for the last five years or so. 

Again, not to belabor that Jacksonville preseason game, but plays like the one Ware made in space; Greg Ellis made in space; Newman did returning that punt; Spears made in space twice; and Burnett nearly made rushing the quarterback. 

Then again, Ware will get beat to the outside in run defense, as he did a couple of times Thursday night, one allowing Derrick Wimbush to romp 55 yards. And while we've seen a very nice preseason out of Davis at free safety, he did get turned around on that 33-yard completion to Ernest Wilford to set up the Jaguars' first touchdown. 

Same on offense, what with Petitti over there at right tackle, Al Johnson starting only his second season at center, Julius Jones yet to start a full season, Polite with just one game of experience at fullback, Patrick Crayton the third receiver - or maybe fourth if Price signs - and Romo, who has yet to take an NFL regular-season snap. 

That's a lot of youth. 

But maybe, just maybe it's all a lot of talent, too, and that's what the head coach sees. 

The gutsy guy that he is.     

MICK SHOTS

       
  The deal with Peerless Price is close, but as they say in the personnel business, it's not done until the contract is signed, and as of Saturday evening, the deal had not been signed yet. But if the Cowboys can get Price for a one-year deal, which it sounds like what they're working on, and pay him, between signing bonus and base salary, the equivalent of what he was supposed to make this year in Atlanta ($2 million), then Price is right to me. 
  And for all those worried about the depth at wide receiver, this Price is for you, providing the deal gets done. With Price, the Cowboys would have six receivers, four with experience, plus the up-and-coming Crayton. But then again, his signing will either put Quincy Morgan on the trade block or send the Cowboys into a five-receiver offense. (The second part there is a joke, OK?)  
  For a while there, thought the Cowboys were pumping up Andre Gurode for marketing purposes (a trade if you're not following along at home), but now, with Noll not ready yet and Stephen Peterman basically a rookie, he might have to be the swing guy at both center and guard. That's what happens when you release Walter.  
  If Parcells was worried about experience at outside

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