Parcells discouraged by Cowboys' up-and-down season

Monday, November 6th 2006, 8:18 pm
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) Bill Parcells is discouraged by the Dallas Cowboys' mediocre first half of the season and frustrated by the team's penalty difficulties.

That doesn't even cover Terrell Owens' end zone antics.

A day after the Cowboys lost to the Washington Redskins 22-19 in a wild final few seconds, Parcells labored over the mistakes that left Dallas one of five teams in the NFC with a .500 record.

Parcells, who was 5-3 at the midway point during his first three years in Dallas, said Monday he is discouraged the Cowboys are not entering the season's second half in better position.

``We've got to get going and put some things in sequence or we're going to wind up being average to below average,'' he said.

The Cowboys made several mistakes late in the loss to Washington.

Troy Vincent bolted through the Dallas line to block Mike Vanderjagt's 35 yard field goal attempt with :06 seconds left. Then, after Redskins safety Sean Taylor scooped up the ball, Cowboys guard Kyle Kosier committed the last of a season high 11 team penalties by putting a hand on Taylor's facemask during the return. That added 15 yards to the end of the run, setting up Nick Novak's 47 yard winning kick with no time left on the clock.

The Cowboys have racked up the most penalty yards in the NFL, a rarity for Parcells coached teams traditionally built around discipline and committing fewer mental errors than the other team.

``It's just exasperating,'' Parcells said.

Owens also was penalized 15 yards after catching a 4 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter when he pretended to take a nap by using the football as a pillow. Parcells said he talked to his flamboyant wide receiver but the conversation was a ``day late and a dollar short.''

Television footage of Owens yelling behind him shortly after that concerned an unrelated matter, Parcells said. But any suggestion that Owens' penalty causing celebrations fire up his teammates doesn't seem valid, he said.

``I wouldn't see how someone could say that helped the team. I don't think it does,'' Parcells said.

The Cowboys, who will finish a 3 game road swing when they play at Arizona on Sunday, are tied with Philadelphia for 2nd place in the NFC East behind New York (6-2).

Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier in the second half: among the remaining games are unbeaten Indianapolis, on the road against the Giants, home against New Orleans (6-2) and at Atlanta (5-3).

Parcells said he thinks the Cowboys need 10 wins to make the playoffs, and Dallas' current position could make things ``appreciably more'' difficult for the fight ahead.

``You see a lot of things here in this NFC that surprise you every week,'' Parcells said. ``... I think, if you can just put some wins together for a month or so, you know, get to the last month in position, then I think you've got a chance.''