DALLAS COWBOYS Parcells readies himself for his next NFL project



He has a history of turning around struggling franchises in a short time.
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Bill Parcells isn't giving any timetable for turning around the once-proud Dallas Cowboys.
The coach with a proven record of quick turnarounds sidestepped that question after taking over the Cowboys, who have five Super Bowl wins but are coming off three straight 5-11 seasons and six years without a playoff victory.
While Parcells' hiring Thursday created an immediate surge in the sale of Cowboys season tickets, it's probably a bit premature for postseason plans.
Stressing patience
The two-time Super Bowl champion coach needs time to put his mark on a team. Just as in his first three jobs, the results aren't likely to be immediate.
"I know what the undertaking is. It will not go totally smoothly, and I know that," Parcells said. "I'm ready for the pitfalls and the land mines and whatever they are. I've been around the block a few times, and I think I can avoid trouble most of the time."
Parcells didn't make any bold predictions and revealed none of his specific plans.
Parcells took the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets from losing records to the playoffs in two seasons. He spent the first year with each purging rosters and instilling his dominating personality on the entire organization.
Dallas hasn't had a winning record since going 10-6 in 1998. The Cowboys went to the playoffs in 1999 with an 8-8 record and lost in the wild-card game.
The Giants were 4-5 in the strike-shortened season before Parcells took over in 1983. They made the playoffs his second season and won their only Super Bowls in his fourth and eighth seasons.
In New England, he took a team that was 2-14 before his arrival to the playoffs in his second season. The Patriots went to the Super Bowl in his fourth season.
His best first-year turnaround was with the Jets, who went from 1-15 in 1996 to 9-7, then to 12-4 and the AFC championship game his second season. The Giants and Patriots had losing records in Parcells' first season.
Parcells has been able to quickly establish a good quarterback situation. He had Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler with the Giants, Drew Bledsoe in New England and Vinny Testaverde with the Jets.
In need of offense
Parcells takes over a Dallas team that was the NFL's lowest scoring (13.6 points per game) this season. The Cowboys had seven starting quarterbacks in three years under Campo, who was fired Monday.
Chad Hutchinson, a 25-year-old rookie and former pro pitcher, replaced Quincy Carter midway through last season and went 2-7 as the starter.
"I know there are certain cards here on the table. They are all not bad cards," Parcells said. "I don't know what's going to transpire at that position."
There could be the possibility of acquiring Testaverde, who is under contract with the Jets through 2006 but is now a backup and only scheduled to make $1 million next season.
And one of the top quarterbacks available in the April draft will be Texas quarterback Chris Simms, the son of Parcells' Super Bowl MVP quarterback with the Giants.
Parcells wouldn't discuss Testaverde because the Jets are in the playoffs. And, while the younger Simms was just 2 when he met him, Parcells said he hasn't evaluated college quarterbacks.
Thursday, even before Parcells was officially hired, the Cowboys sold about 200 new season ticket packages. Ticket director Joel Finglass, saying there usually isn't a rush for season tickets until July, predicts as many as 5,000 new season ticketholders because of Parcells.
The Cowboys have managed to sell out 104 straight home games at 65,639-seat Texas Stadium since 1990, but season ticket sales have declined since 1997, two seasons after the team's last Super Bowl.

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