NFC East: Al Groh

Cowboys hire Pasqualoni to coach D-line

January, 15, 2010
The Cowboys have hired a familiar face to replace defensive line coach Todd Grantham, who has accepted the defensive coordinator position at Georgia. Owner Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips didn't waste any time in hiring former Cowboys assistant Paul Pasqualoni as the defensive line coach.

Pasqualoni coached tight ends and linebackers from 2005-07 before joining Tony Sparano in Miami. Pasqualoni was fired as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator earlier this week in a move that surprised a lot of coaches around the league. Bill Parcells, the executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins, had been a huge supporter of Pasqualoni's, but folks I talked to Thursday believed that Parcells was hoping to replace Pasqualoni with his old pal Al Groh, who was recently fired as the head coach at Virginia. Groh interviewed with the Dolphins on Wednesday but he decided to become the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech today. Pretty interesting quote from Groh regarding his relationship with Parcells:

"Bill's not the coach," Groh said. "And the coach is the person you work with on a daily basis. Bill is very disciplined as he explained it to me to be non-intrusive in that process and let the coach coach the way he wants to, just as Bill always wanted it to be when he was the coach. ... There was just a set of criteria there that I thought that Paul's program and Georgia Tech met very well."

Sounds like Groh wanted no part of Tony Sparano, which is odd since Sparano served under Groh's pals Tom Coughlin and Parcells and is highly regarded in the league. Grantham will remain with the Cowboys until the end of this season.

Big Tuna signs off on Giants' moves

March, 3, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

  James D. Smith/Icon SMI
  Bill Parcells on Chris Canty: "He's smart, works hard, has great size."

Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells was asked Monday about new Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty. A writer from the Newark Star-Ledger named Paul Needell basically wanted to know why the Dolphins didn't go after Canty if Parcells liked him so much in Dallas.

"Well, we drafted three defensive linemen last year and signed two free-agent linemen," Parcells said. "We filled our needs then ... Oh, Chris is a really good kid. He's smart, works hard, has great size. Of course, he played end for us but rushed the passer inside. I wouldn't see why he wouldn't have a huge upside for them. He played for Al [Groh in college at Virginia] and me, so he knows what Tom [Coughlin] will expect."

The Cowboys landed Canty in the fourth round in 2005, mainly because he had a bad eye injury that he suffered when a beer bottle was hurtled across a crowded bar. The Cowboys did all their homework and determined that Canty was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Why would it be [a concern]? It wasn't his fault. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Parcells said. "He was never any problem for us. Like I said, he's a great kid."

And without any prompting at all, Parcells went on to praise the work of defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

"You know, that other kid, Rocky Bernard, is a pretty good player, too," Parcells said. "We had to play him a few times [in Dallas] and always had our hands full. He'll do a good job for them, too."

But let's get back to the original reason Needell was asking the question. Why isn't Chris Canty a Miami Dolphin? Well, I think Parcells realized (like Coughlin) that Canty would ultimately be more effective in a 4-3 scheme. But I do think Parcells is being genuine in his praise of Canty. He thought Canty had a chance to become a perennial Pro Bowler in Dallas at one point. In fact, he couldn't help but think of "Too Tall" Jones when he saw Canty line up. And that's a really good thing.

Giants had a busy Saturday

March, 1, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The New York Giants hosted two unrestricted free agents Saturday -- and ended up signing both. We've already talked about linebacker Michael Boley, but later in the evening the Giants signed former Seahawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

The Bernard negotiation took longer than Boley's, but it didn't come close to breaking down. Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty was having dinner with Giants defensive line coach Mike Waufle when Bernard's deal was completed. The Giants would love to have Canty, but he's asking for somewhere in the $8 million per year range.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese isn't going to bite on that deal. And I'm not sure Canty would be a great fit in the Giants' defense. He wouldn't be able to do much damage from the edge, and I think he may be a little overrated as a run stuffer. He has impeccable character, though, and I'm sure Bill Parcells and Al Groh are in Tom Coughlin's ear about him.

Is there any way he ends up back in Dallas? I wouldn't bet on it.

Giants were in the Haynesworth mix

February, 27, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The New York Giants were one of the first teams to call free-agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in the wee hours of Friday morning, according to the Daily News. The Giants apparently hung in there for a couple of hours before bowing out when the price tag became too high.

The Redskins and Bucs were the last teams standing. In the end, $41 million in guaranteed was too much for Haynesworth to pass up. And Dan Snyder was happy to dole it out. Never mind that the Redskins will likely be in salary cap trouble in a couple of years. They're back to their free-spending ways.

Now, the Giants will look at defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty, who would probably move inside in the Giants' 4-3 scheme. Tom Coughlin has been interested in Canty since he played for Coughlin's friend Al Groh at the University of Virginia.