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NFL - Football's Best Worst Team

By Gary Geffen
Saturday, November 1st, 2003
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No matter what the illusion, from sawing a woman in half to standing on top of Mount Everest naked with nothing to eat for 80 days and surviving, what you're seeing just ain't a happening.

When Dallas played Tampa on October 26th, the smoke cleared and the mirrors cracked. Revealed was that Dallas has no running game and if Quincy Carter can read a defensive player's jersey number, he is going to rely on the old chuck-and-duck.

Dallas' players weren't the only ones that acted as scared as a 2-year-old lost in a parking lot in the Bronx; Bill Parcells' playcalling was tighter than a 10-pound salami in a five-pound package.

The Buccaneers were missing aafety John Lynch and cornerback Brian Kelly from their secondary and Dallas never even tried to exploit the possible mismatches. Sure, they threw the ball down field a few times, but it was mostly on third-and-long or other rather predictable situations.

We all know you have to establish the running game, but down 10-0, 13-0, and 16-0? You have to give it up eventually -- geez, even the East Germans gave up.

The wide receivers are considered the strength of this Dallas offense, so why weren't they used? Terry Glenn led the receiving core with 3 catches and Antonio Bryant had none! Fullback Richie Anderson led all players with 5 catches.

The reason is that Parcells knows exactly what he has on his team. He does have an improved QB, but considering Quincy Carter's first two years, that is like giving praise to a heroin addict who had enough of needles so he switched to crack.

Here is how Parcells explained his confidence in his QB: "We did not want to get into a passing game." I don't think anyone is ready to advance Carter a few million to write his autobiography "Who Knew I Had it in Me."

Several times this season including against the Giants, Lions, and Cardinals, Carter got away with a few heaves that were wildly and blindly thrown. Against more talented teams like the Buccaneers, that isn't going to get it done. Is he playing better than last year? Yes, he is. Does he deserve to be praised? No, he doesn't. Until he learns to consistently think before acting, he will remain an unstable liability to the Cowboys.

Parcells figured that Tampa would come after Carter, so he tried, and tried, and tried to get the running game going. One problem: his running back, Troy Hambrick, couldn't find a hole if he was performing a Colonoscopy. Hambrick has fewer moves than Bob Dole has personality. One has to wonder if Troy missed school the semester they learned the directions North and South.

Evidently, Hambrick likes to mimic international politics. North Korea shot a few missiles into Japanese waters and got plenty of attention. Last season, Hambrick let off a few bombs of his own to grab the spotlight, telling the press it was time for Emmitt Smith to move on, that he was the man who should be starting.

What is he saying this year? "When the offensive line gives me a hole and I make a bad read, it makes me mad." "This is my first time having the load on my shoulders. I'm learning something every day, but it's like I'm a rookie again."

Well, Troy, when Dallas fans see you running into your offensive lineman's backs, it makes them mad. Maybe you should have shut-up and listened-up. Dallas failed to convert 3rd-and-1 four times against the Bucs.

Here's how Bill Parcells feels about his running back: Dallas had contact with several teams about trading for a running back, including talking to San Francisco about Kevon Barlow. On October 29th, Dallas signed former Jet and Cardinal Adrian Murrell who they cut in training camp.

With Hambrick coming off an 11-carry, 25-yard performance with no rushes in the second-half, don't be surprised to see Murrell get some touches.

Last season, Dallas was one of the worst teams in football. This year, they're contending for the title best worst team. Hey, 5-2 is dandy, but there are no more patsies left on their schedule. The Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, and Panthers amongst others are waiting.

Already winning the same amount of games as last year is a building block, but if Dallas doesn't make the playoffs this year, you can bet Hambrick and Carter will be picking splinters out of their jock straps next year.

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