Bledsoe knows what to expect from Parcells

Updated: November 8, 2003, 11:42 PM ET

IRVING, Texas -- When Drew Bledsoe played for Bill Parcells, he always looked forward to game days.

It wasn't just the action he craved. It was the comfort of being in the backfield without the coach barking at him from a few feet away.

"He would stand right behind me while I was dropping back, during the play, and would start saying, `Throw it! Throw it! Throw it! Throw it! Throw it!" Bledsoe said. "Man, I couldn't wait to get to Sunday so I could get away from him, get on the field where I could have some peace and quiet."

If Bledsoe's backpedaling is disrupted by noise Sunday, it could be coming from the opposite sideline when he and the Buffalo Bills face Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bills (4-4) are coming off a bye and hoping to end a three-game road losing skid. Buffalo has scored only 15 points in those games, allowing 85.

The Cowboys (6-2) are going into the second week of a five-game stretch Parcells has dubbed "showtime." They won the first, beating Washington 21-14 despite committing turnovers on three of their first six snaps. Dallas has won six of its last seven games and three straight at home.

This game provides an interesting contrast in quarterbacks: Bledsoe, the classic dropback passer reared to greatness by Parcells, and Quincy Carter, a mobile thrower who hangs on his coach's every word in hopes of having the personal and team success Bledsoe had under Parcells.

Carter has heard from Parcells about Bledsoe's quick release and footwork. He also was told about Bledsoe's study habits.

Now Carter can hear about Parcells from Bledsoe. Carter already has plenty of his own stories to share.

"I know Bledsoe had a couple of run-ins with Bill just like I have," Carter said. "He was able to deal with it and I got to learn how to deal with it, too."

Parcells has praised Carter, something Bledsoe said must have been well-earned. Bledsoe said Carter had to read a newspaper to know what Parcells said because compliments are rarely given directly to a player -- "unless he's getting soft in his old age," Bledsoe said.

"He would occasionally throw me something nice in the media," Bledsoe said. "But then when he did that, he came to practice and made sure that he was even harder on me."

Bledsoe was only 20 when he came under Parcells' intense scrutiny in New England. He also carried the burden of being the top overall pick in the draft. Carter is 26, a veteran of two criticism-filled seasons, plus seasoning from a minor league baseball career.

The Patriots were 2-14 the season before Bledsoe and Parcells arrived. They started 1-11, then won the final four games in 1993. New England made the playoffs the next season and two years later reached the Super Bowl, losing to Green Bay. Parcells left soon after.

"I definitely appreciate the time I had with Bill," said Bledsoe, who became the youngest QB to play in the Pro Bowl and set several franchise passing records under Parcells.

"I don't know that you could find anybody that would say that they really enjoyed playing for him while they were there. I mean, he made things hard on you in practice, but ... you were going to be prepared when you took the field on Sunday."

Another story is about the way Parcells taught Bledsoe the importance of reading defenses quickly.

"I'm back there in the shotgun and it looks like our defense is bringing a blitz, so I start to audible and then I audible to something else," Bledsoe said. "He goes, `Wait! Wait! Wait! Stop! Timeout! You don't have time to stand back there and order dinner. I don't have time to listen to you order the lobster thermadore while you're in the pocket. You've got to get that done and get it done quickly."

After New England, Parcells coached the New York Jets for three seasons. His teams were 3-2 against Bledsoe, offsetting eight TD passes with eight interceptions and 12 sacks.

Parcells insists he has no inside knowledge of Bledsoe, saying the quarterback has matured since they were together.

"I know his game management is further down the road," Parcells said. "He understands the league, the game, a lot better."

Dallas defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer goes way back with Bledsoe, too. Zimmer had the same role at Washington State when Bledsoe led the offense.

"I think (Parcells) will tell Zimmer that if he lets me sit back there a long time and survey the field that I'll eventually find somebody," Bledsoe said. "I would imagine that they'll try and do something to get somebody in my face pretty quick."

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