Saturday, November 22, 2008

Upgrading the bottom of the roster

Dolphins VP of Football Ops Bill Parcells is almost 70, but don't expect him to hang it up anytime soon.

According to a story in the Palm Beach Post, Parcells is in no hurry to retire because "guys he considers both friends and contemporaries - a group that includes former college basketball coach Bob Knight, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and horse trainer D. Wayne Lucas - remain active and successful in their respective sports."

"It's like they're all the same people," said CBS Sports reporter Leslie Visser, who has known Parcells since he was an assistant coach in New England in 1980. "They're all extraordinarily successful, and they all (understand) each other's success and what drives them."

These days, Parcells is less interested in the game-day strategy and more interested in building a team. "Part of his genius is the bottom five guys on the roster."

Says Visser: "I've been in his office when [Miami GM] Jeff Ireland has come in and said, 'Green Bay just waived so-and-so,' and they'll talk about it. They're always looking to upgrade that group."

Miami coach Tony Sparano, whom Parcells hired as the team's coach back in January, describes Parcells as a "personnel addict.''

One current Miami player who played for Parcells said that, as a coach, Parcells "made sure everybody was ready. He knew what guys he had to get into their heads and what guys to leave alone before a game. And during the game he was worse. You knew Bill Parcells was the coach, because he let you have it."

Says Sparano, who was on Parcells' staff in Dallas:

"One of his great strengths has always been to poke and probe players. What he likes to do is elicit a response. He can do it in a playful manner, where you almost think he's sarcastic, or he can do it in a serious way.

There are times where he and I might have a conversation on how we might want to get a message to a player. Sometimes I kind of like him to give that message: 'Well, you walk by him and do this.' Having somebody like that around, to be able to do those things with our players, is a tremendous value to us."