Parcells Guys

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How much Glover plays and how much Ferguson plays will be determined by how well the outside linebackers play. In particular, how well they rush the quarterback. Right now, excluding Ware's performance against the Seahawks, nobody's getting it done. Seattle's Hasselbeck completed 12 of 15 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown in a quarter and a half of play. Against Arizona, a decrepit-looking Kurt Warner could have sung the score to the H.M.S. Pinafore dropping back to pass. He torched the Cowboys for 151 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-19 passing. If the Cowboys outside linebackers, the integral rushers in the 3-4, fail to reach quarterbacks as often as they did Warner and Hasselbeck, Parcells may not rely on the defense that much.

The problem with the outside linebackers is their youth. "We're just not very experienced there," Parcells says. Aside from DeMarcus Ware, two other rookies have practiced at outside linebacker: second-round draft pick Kevin Burnett and Reggie Love, who played basketball at Duke. A third rookie, Marcus Spears, is expected to play once he recovers from injuries. Burnett should see a lot of field time this year and so should another rookie, Chris Canty, a 6-7 defensive end who'll probably back up Greg Ellis.

So the Cowboys could have four, maybe even five rookies on the field at the same time. Has Parcells ever had that many? "Yeah," he says.

How scary was it? "It's scary," he says, pausing for a moment, and it's in that moment that he casts his mind back, back to the glory years. If the Cowboys will only play as those teams did, everyone will see Parcells was right all along. "In one particular case," he says, "it was scary for the other team.

"Because 56 [Lawrence Taylor] was one of those rookies."

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Paul Kix