New York Jets Coach Bill Parcells, irritated over the slow start of his offense in the first week of training camp, directed the blame yesterday at some of his headline players.
"We're just not getting good production out of the players that should be producing well," Parcells said. "It's some of our `Superstar Central' area. You know, when you just walk into the huddle and dial up a star anytime you want."
Following Thursday's afternoon workout under the club's all-weather bubble, the coach tore into his offense for lackadaisical play. The club is trying to determine starters at both guard positions, at the newly revamped F-Back slot and in the fourth wide receiver role.
"He was mad," second-year right tackle Jason Fabini said. "We had a bad practice, so it's understandable. We had officials there and we committed about 15 penalties."
Added fullback Keith Byars: "He's right about getting on us. He just can't stomach dropped passes, overthrows, underthrows and mental mistakes."
Parcells's mood also has been affected by the chronically sore knee afflicting veteran tight end Eric Green, who has missed practice time, and a partially separated right shoulder that has sidelined F-Back Blake Spence. The coach also has expressed concern about quarterback Vinny Testaverde's sluggish start.
Testaverde and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson were Pro Bowl selections last season, with running back Curtis Martin an alternate.
"I told you, it's the superstar group," Parcells said, declining to specify his trouble spots on offense. "We've got about seven in there, and a couple of wannabes, too."
SAINTS-CHIEFS: Tempers flared so often and so violently during workouts between New Orleans and Kansas City that coaches called off today's planned scrimmage. Intermittent fights broke out among players during a morning practice, and an afternoon slugfest got so bad that coaches from both teams had to pull players apart.
Saints wide receiver Keith Poole suffered a cut near one eye on the final play of practice in what Saints Coach Mike Ditka called a cheap shot. When practice ended, Poole charged Chiefs players, and coaches had to separate fighters again.
GIANTS: Running back Gary Brown, the team's leading rusher last season, will have surgery to help relieve a blood clot on his buttocks. Brown, 30, was injured in a motorcycle accident in June. It was not immediately known how long he'll be out. He led the Giants in 1998 with a career-high 1,063 yards and five touchdowns on 247 carries.
COWBOYS: Wide receiver James McKnight, acquired from Seattle six weeks ago, is lost for the season with a knee injury. McKnight tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during an intrasquad scrimmage Thursday. He'll undergo surgery within two weeks.
FALCONS: Wide receiver Chris Calloway will be sidelined at least two weeks with a sprained left ankle. Calloway sprained the ankle during drills Thursday when he caught a pass and was knocked down by Ray Buchanan.
BRONCOS: Tight end Shannon Sharpe has no serious damage to his ankle and may play in Sunday's American Bowl against San Diego in Sydney. Sharpe, who has fiercely criticized the game being played in Australia, strained the ankle during practice Thursday.
DOLPHINS: Linebacker Jimmy Clements was signed and defensive tackle Cedric White was released.