IRVING, Texas (Oct. 9, 2006) -- Like it or not, Terrell Owens will still be catching passes from Drew Bledsoe this week.
Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells stood by his quarterback, instead blaming the offensive line for most of Bledsoe's mistakes in a 38-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I'm not switching the quarterback," Parcells said. "I don't think that's the answer right this minute. ... Let's try to get some of the things corrected (on the line) and we'll go from there."
Bledsoe threw three interceptions against the Eagles, the last on a pass to the end zone that could've tied the game in the final minute, but wound up going 102 yards the other way.
He also set up an early field goal for the Eagles with a fumble. That turnover came on the first of his seven sacks.
"He was under pretty good duress," Parcells said. "The majority of the easy sacks they had were mental mistakes."
Owens was none too pleased with the way things went in what he expected to be a breakout game against the team and town that dumped him last season.
After months of anticipation, Owens had to wait until the third quarter for his first catch. He finished with three receptions for 45 yards. More notable were his antics on the sideline, although his jawing at teammates and coaches supposedly involved shouts of encouragement.
"He was just trying to get us going," said right guard Marco Rivera, among those Owens was seen yelling at. "He basically said, 'We're going to win this game.' ... I just feel that he really wanted to show the world what T.O. was all about and he didn't get that chance."
Parcells' explanation for Owens' lack of activity? Double coverage.
"They were taking him out of the game and so we didn't get him involved as much as we would have liked to," Parcells said. "They put two guys over there. It's hard to force the ball over there."
Parcells said Philadelphia had two defenders committed to Owens a "pretty good percentage" of the game, more than other teams Dallas (2-2) has faced.
He added that Owens is still adjusting to the offense, which is why his timing with Bledsoe may still be off.
"I think there's some things he is trying to still gain an understanding of here," Parcells said.
After the game, Owens ran into the locker room yelling and asking why the Cowboys bothered signing him in the offseason, according to a stadium employee who witnessed the tirade but didn't want to be identified because he is not authorized to talk about team matters. He later told reporters, "I'm just out there doing my job. I'm not trying to point any fingers at anybody."
Neither Owens nor Bledsoe spoke to the media Oct. 9. Both are expected to talk Oct. 11.
Bledsoe is in his second season with the Cowboys and sixth with Parcells. So the coach certainly knows all about how prone the quarterback is to sacks and interceptions.
But Parcells let Bledsoe off the hook this time because there was plenty of blame to go around. He said missed blocks led to three or four of the sacks and receivers being "completely covered" factored into two or three others.
The missed blocks angered Parcells the most because they came on blitzes Dallas had seen from Philadelphia before -- thus, players should've known what to expect. He never implicated anyone, but most problems seemed to come from the left side of the line, particularly tackle Flozell Adams.
Parcells also refused to consider crowd noise as a factor "because there's not much communication involved."
"This is recognition," he said. "You got to see this."
As for the interceptions, Parcells noted Bledsoe's arm was hit on the first one. The other two were operator error: an underthrown pass when Owens had the defense beaten for a likely touchdown, and a throw straight to Philadelphia's Lito Sheppard when the defense prevented tight end Jason Witten from getting to where Bledsoe expected.
"Hopefully in that situation, we throw it out of the end zone and have two more shots at it," Parcells said. "For some reason, we didn't."
There aren't enough of those reasons for Parcells to consider turning to unproven backup Tony Romo.
"Not right at this moment, no," Parcells said.
How long will he stick with Bledsoe?
"As long as I feel like going, OK?" he said.
Parcells wasn't at all defensive about rookie safety Pat Watkins, who was burned on a 60-yard pass to L.J. Smith, failed to tackle Hank Baskett on an 87-yard touchdown pass, and was caught out of position on a 40-yard flea-flicker touchdown for Reggie Brown.
Parcells said he expects rookies to make mistakes, but with Watkins "it was more than I expected."
Parcells didn't say whether Watkins will start against Houston. The position could get interesting as veteran Marcus Coleman is eligible to return this week from a suspension.