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Ask Coach Parcells
By DCW Staff

Q: Given his track record, do you have any concerns about Julius Jones and his health?
- Reggie Joseph, Allen,

A: I don't think concern is the right word. I would be concerned if I didn't see him working every day at a high level. I think he has something to prove to himself, as well. But I do see that, so I'm not as concerned about him. Durability is a big thing in the running back position. He had a little tough luck a couple of times, but I think things will get better for him. I do think that.
Running back is a tough position, and it takes a little while sometimes to get established there and learn how to do exactly right by it. I think he is a kid that has the mental capacity to understand it and is trying to do the right thing. He's not a big man, but I don't necessarily think that he's injury-prone. Injuries are not a problem for him; they are a problem for anyone in pro football.

Playing running back is one of the most demanding jobs in pro football. It is hard on a young kid starting out, and it's not something that you can easily explain to them what it is all about no matter how hard you try. I have a lot of experience doing it with some of these kids and it is still tough. You try to tell them this is what it's going to be like, and you tell them why they have to do the things that I am asking them to do.
I can tell them to believe me because I can point to specific players I coached and let our guys know that this worked for this guy, and this other guy and this other guy and it will work for them too. It's what I know to teach you to do and no matter how hard you try to do that, it takes a little while before they really get it.
The pressure on these runners is really difficult. They have to block the blitz, they have to catch the ball and they have to run the ball 25 times a game. That all adds up on these guys.

Q: What do you know about Bobby Carpenter based on your familiarity with his father, Rob?
- Jamar Thomas, Milford, Ohio.

A: I knew there would be discipline because that was in the family. I knew his mom, too. I knew that he would be taught right from wrong. He's probably been spoken to on a few matters. I have a very high regard for his father. His father was one of the key guys for me. I was fortunate to have him come along at the right time for me along with Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor and few of those to really get me started coaching in this league. I give him as much credit as I did several of those others that were kind of the nucleus for us. He was very good with young players when he was a veteran. He was a good player himself.
I know he has coaching experience. He coached all those years. He's got four boys, they're all playing football now too. Football was something that was really pretty important in that family. I kind of like that. I like the player as an athlete. He's a real pure linebacker.

Q. What concerned you the most going into camp?
- Ray Kuale, Tualatin, Ore.

A: There are several positions where we have a degree of uncertainty, a couple on the offensive line and maybe one position particularly in the secondary. We are going to have some transition at a couple of linebacker spots.
Every year is different. It always unfolds differently as you go through it. You don't know what is going to happen during the course of camp that could cause you problems. Right now, there are still a couple of places where I feel like we've got to get something done. I'm not sure what those answers will be just yet.

I do think I have a good class of kids on my team. Players that want to work hard. I think each year we have been here we have improved that. We have several young guys now who are really starting to come as real good players in the league. They have a couple of years in now, and that kind of encourages us. They have a pretty good ceiling to get to. They haven't gotten there yet, but a couple of them are headed that way.

Q: Terrell Owens has been in a West Coast offense his entire career. Do you change what you want to do because of that or do you work him into your system?
- Omar Hollard, Floresville, Tex.

A: We want to use the player's assets. We would be foolish not to try to do that. I have a general idea of what he does well from having played against him. But I have to see what he thinks about things like I would any player that's experienced. I need to learn what routes he likes. What he feels comfortable with and what routes he struggles with.

You know, they all have them. They don't just come in and say, "I can do anything you want me to do." We go over things and say, "How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that?"
I would do that with any player that was a veteran that we were trying to integrate into our scheme. I've done that over the course of my career. I remember vividly the day I got Shawn Jefferson. I said, "Shawn, what do you like?" He said, "Sevens, eights and nines, Coach." That's a tree route. Sevens, eights and nines. He said, "I can run those for you all day." I asked him, "Well, what about a four?" He said, "I can run a four." I said, "Well, what about a six?" He says, "I'm not in love with a six." So along the way I get an idea about what he can do, what he likes. I haven't had that conversation yet with Terrell.


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