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Parcells defends his game plan


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Parcells defends his game plan

By Tom Orsborn

San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 10/28/2003 12:00 AM

With two reserves starting in their secondary, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered Sunday's game with the Dallas Cowboys expecting quarterback Quincy Carter to put the ball in the air early and often.

But instead of attacking the Buccaneers' vulnerable pass defense, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells started the contest with six consecutive running plays. And he didn't back off that grind-it-out approach until his team trailed 10-0 at halftime.

"We were actually a little surprised by that," Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber said after the Buccaneers' 16-0 victory. "At halftime, we were saying that they really hadn't tested (our secondary) at all. That was their fault."

On Monday, Parcells defended his conservative game plan.

"I would approach the game absolutely the same way," Parcells said. "When things don't work, everything is up to question. But I think that approach (running the ball) ... with what we have (on offense), gave us the best chance to win."

After watching the San Francisco 49ers rush for 212 yards in a 24-7 victory over Tampa Bay last week, Parcells arrived at Raymond James Stadium ready to hammer the Buccaneers' front seven with his massive offensive line and 233-pound running back Troy Hambrick.

Tampa Bay, however, was ready for such a plan. With Barber providing strong run support, the Buccaneers limited the Cowboys to a season-low 60 yards rushing on 22 attempts.

"They schemed us real good," said Hambrick, who rushed for just 25 yards on 11 carries, all coming in the first half.

Parcells blamed the weak running attack on a sub-par performance by the offensive line.

"We just didn't have any movement inside," Parcells said. "We didn't have any room to go."

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, received an energized performance from its defensive front. Linemen Warren Sapp, Anthony McFarland, Ellis Wyms and Chartric Darby all recorded sacks and played a big role in stopping the Cowboys on nine of their 12 third-down attempts.

"There was uncertainty (among the offensive linemen)," Parcells said. "And when you are tentative, you don't play with confidence. And when you aren't confident, you don't play at the right speed."

Still, many observers thought the Cowboys could have pressured the Buccaneers' defense by going after a secondary that included two reserves filling in for injured starters, one of whom was Pro Bowl safety John Lynch.

Asked why he didn't pass more in the early going, Parcells said: "(The Buccaneers) strength is their pass rush. They thrive off of turnovers and sacks."

Despite the loss, Dallas (5-2) still leads the NFC East by a game over Philadelphia (4-3). The Cowboys will attempt to rebound against the Washington Redskins (3-4) on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 3:15 p.m. at Texas Stadium.

"Guys are hurt," Dallas defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "We've been cut a little bit. Now what? Are we going to come out swinging?"

Notebook: Parcells said he thought Derek Ross did a solid job returning kickoffs in place of Zuriel Smith, who was placed in the inactive list and didn't make the trip to Tampa.

"(Smith) put three balls on the ground the last two weeks," Parcells said. "I thought we would try something else to keep that from happening."

Parcells said center Gennaro DiNapoli, who suffered an ankle injury Sunday, could miss some time. DiNapoli wore an air cast on his right ankle Monday.

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"I would approach the game absolutely the same way," Parcells said. "When things don't work, everything is up to question. But I think that approach (running the ball) ... with what we have (on offense), gave us the best chance to win."

We'll see if he really meant that or not next Sunday. He'll be facing another beaten up secondary that will probably be somewhat vulnerable. If I were Parcells gameplanning us, I'd throw to their #3 WR until we could stop it. Glenn or Bryant against Terrell or Jimoh:nono: :help:

All I can ask is that some kind soul please be ready to extinguish our #3 CB:noflame:

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