Analyze this: Parcells on divisions, trades

Updated: October 30, 2003, 5:27 PM ET
ESPN

IRVING, Texas -- Although Bill Parcells has filled most of his non-coaching seasons talking about football on television and radio, he's not too fond of broadcasting. He's said several times this season that he won't go back to it after he leaves the Dallas Cowboys.

Yet there's still a bit of a commentator/analyst in him.

This week, he gave a brief midseason review of the eight divisions, saying Kansas City has likely locked up the AFC West and that Minnesota's lead in the NFC North is the next closest to a sure thing. It wasn't a very bold statement considering both teams have three-game leads.

He had much stronger comments about the early trade deadline (Oct. 14) and how the lack of trading is bad for the NFL. Realizing he might ruffle some feathers, early on he said, "Look, I don't want to get a letter from the commissioner ... "

The trade restraints were on his mind because when the Cowboys recently went looking for an upgrade at running back, the best they could do was sign 33-year-old Adrian Murrell, whose last game was in 2000.

"I think the ability to trade and improve your team as you go would create tremendous interest in the sport," Parcells said. "I think it does for baseball. I think it does for basketball, and I would be hopeful that at some point and time in football with all of the ramifications that would be involved, that some sort of middle ground can be reached where we can go back to having that kind of thing. ...

"I think it favors a creative, innovative organization. It can be beneficial to a franchise with that flexibility."

He said it especially penalizes teams that lose key players to injury. An example could be Washington, which this week tried patching a hole on its defensive line by signing Darrell Russell two days after he was reinstated by the NFL following a 1{-year suspension for a second violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

"The management council, with all due respect, says that's why you have the practice squad. But the talent is so diluted now, that the available players is so diluted as opposed to what it once was, I think it limits you," Parcells said.

"I'm not complaining about it, but I'd hope for the good of the game that at some point and time a consideration would be made in that regard."

Last week, Cincinnati's Corey Dillon said he wanted to be traded to the Cowboys. Alas, the deadline expired a week before.

Even if the Bengals would be willing to give him up, salary-cap ramifications make it difficult to swing deals with players of that magnitude.

The most high-profile trades Dallas has made since Parcells arrived were getting Terry Glenn and giving up Reggie Swinton. Both involved late-round draft picks.

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^CHARACTER QUESTIONS:@ By signing defensive linemen Leonardo Carson and Jermaine Brooks, the Dallas Cowboys added two players with checkered pasts.

Coach Bill Parcells said he understood the details behind both of their situations and felt comfortable adding them.

"Just because some things are pending that doesn't mean that a certain result is going to come," he said.

Carson was arrested Aug. 21 in Mobile, Ala., for investigation of first-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping. Police said a woman told officers that Carson forcibly entered an apartment, physically assaulted her and forced her into his vehicle. At the time, he was on leave from the team to attend his grandmother's funeral.

Brooks, who is on the practice squad, is on probation for 10 years for drug and weapons charges. He initially was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended, but a plea bargain allowed him to enter a boot camp program instead; he was released in late August.

Brooks' legal troubles stem from selling three pounds of marijuana to a man who cooperated with police. Police also seized 7 1/2 pounds of marijuana, six guns and $16,841 in cash from his apartment near the Arkansas campus last October. He was kicked off the team soon after.

"In Jermaine's case, I have a good understanding of it," said Parcells, whose defensive tackles coach, Kacy Rogers, was Brooks' defensive line coach at Arkansas.

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^TUNA ON COACH SUPERIOR:@ Bill Parcells doesn't know Steve Spurrier very well. But Parcells knows his track record, so he when Spurrier and his Fun-n-Gun offense came to the NFL, he expected big things.

"He's been successful wherever he's been. You don't have a track record like he has without being good at it," Parcells said. "Wherever he went he's done a good job. The USFL he did a good job, at Duke he did a good job, at Florida he did a good job. Why wouldn't you expect him to do a good job somewhere else?"

Parcells said the adjustment from college to pros isn't about Xs and Os as much as things like building a staff, acquiring players and how the organization responds to problems.

"It's not so much in the coaching style. It's in all the ramifications of pro football," he said. "You just can't pluck them out of the air and say, `OK, we got this redshirt guy here that we are not going to redshirt now and we'll play him.' Your options are more limited in pro football."

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^REUNION OF THE WEEK:@ This week's reunion for Bill Parcells is with Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles.

Parcells drafted Coles for the New York Jets in the third round in 2000. Coles cashed in on a breakout season last year by signing with Washington and has responded with 42 catches for 631 yards, both among the NFL's best.

Coles slipped in the draft because of off-field problems at Florida State. He was with star receiver Peter Warrick on a shopping spree that turned into a scandal when they paid for far less merchandise than they received. Coles was suspended, missing out on a national championship.

Parcells checked him out and decided "he was a good kid that was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

"He kind of took the fall," Parcells said. "When he came to pro football, he came with a vengeance and something to prove. He has done a good job proving it. He is tough. I tell you that."

Parcells attributed Coles' toughness to having played running back in high school.

"He was willing to do all the dirty jobs," Parcells said. "He would play on specials teams. He would play on the punt team. ... He would go inside for the ball. He was brave. He had a lot of courage. He doesn't mind mixing it up. He would block. He would tackle. This league isn't loaded with receivers who would do all those things. "

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^ENDQUOTE:@ "I don't care what you do, you're not worth it if you fumble. No one is worth fumbles. I don't know any back I've ever seen worth fumbles." -- coach Bill Parcells.

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^ENDQUOTE, TAKE 2:@ "I don't whisper in officials' ears. I reserve that for more attractive people." -- coach Bill Parcells.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index