Bill Parcells has already laid a winning foundation, needing just one season to get the Dallas Cowboys back into the playoffs.
Never in his three previous coaching stops, where he also took over teams coming off losing seasons, had Parcells gotten to the postseason so quickly. The breakthrough had always come in the second year.
So now, in Parcells's sophomore season with the Cowboys, he isn't planning to spend a lot of time repeating himself or re-teaching in Dallas.
"In a lot of respects I will be less patient this year because my expectations are that the players should know a heck of a lot more than they did going in last year," Parcells said. "These guys that have been here for a year, they need to know what to do."
Returning players know Parcells's no-nonsense approach. He doesn't tolerate a lackadaisical effort or silly mistakes, especially from players who've been with him before.
"There's no surprise," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "You know what to expect. You know how the routine of practice is going to be go, how training camp is going to be run. It eliminates a lot of excuses. . . . Get the job done, and let's go about our business."
That means being ready from the start of camp Saturday, the first of 11 sets of two-a-day practices over 12 days.
But have the Cowboys done enough to better -- or even equal -- last year's 10-6 record? The NFC East now has Coach Joe Gibbs back in Washington and Terrell Owens and other big additions in Philadelphia.
While some needs were filled, Dallas wasn't a big offseason spender even with plenty of money under the salary cap.
Two quarterbacks were added, 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde and former baseball player Drew Henson. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley was signed, and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson -- like Testaverde a former Parcells player -- came in a trade from Tampa Bay for Joey Galloway.
The Cowboys made a late splashy move, signing running back Eddie George to a one-year, incentive-filled deal. To cash in, he'll have to beat out second-round draft pick Julius Jones, who is trying to become Dallas's first rookie starting running back since NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith 14 years ago.
Quincy Carter started all 16 games at quarterback last year, but Testaverde expects a chance to start while serving as a mentor to Carter, Henson and Tony Romo.
Carter "earned the starting job here last year. He was the best guy at that position last year," Parcells said. "I play that best guy. They all know that. They have been told that. It's not shrouded in secrecy."
Chad Hutchinson eliminated himself by playing poorly in NFL Europe and was released. The former pro pitcher went 2-7 after becoming the starter midway through 2002 but lost the job to Carter after Parcells arrived.
Johnson is the possession-type wide receiver the Cowboys have missed since Michael Irvin was forced into retirement by injury five years ago. After some contentious times in Tampa Bay and being deactivated by the Buccaneers before last season ended, Johnson is ready to play again for Parcells.
"Once I got away from that situation, it was kind of like, have a good time, have fun again," Johnson said. Parcells "is the only head coach that I like to play for."
Perennial Pro Bowl offensive lineman Larry Allen didn't enjoy his first season for Parcells, often clashing with the coach and being singled out for his poor conditioning. Allen was even on the trading block and not part of offseason workouts until he got in better shape.
Antonio Bryant remains, even after being kicked out of a June workout when he threw his jersey into Parcells's face. Parcells hasn't publicly addressed the issue but didn't cut the young wide receiver, who was upset about his lack of work behind Johnson and Terry Glenn.
Bryant met Monday with Parcells and team owner Jerry Jones, and went to camp with the team.
The NFL's top-ranked defense hopes to solve its biggest weakness with the addition of Wiley (41 career sacks).
"I think it can be real beneficial, helping each other," said defensive end Greg Ellis, who had a team-high eight sacks last year. "If we can do what we did last year and improve, we've got a lot of good chances to get to the quarterback."
Linebacker Dexter Coakley made his third Pro Bowl last season but found himself behind second-year player Bradie James during a minicamp. That doesn't mean Coakley won't start, but Parcells likes the 243-pound James, who impressed on special teams as a rookie.
The secondary, questionable at cornerback, suffered a blow when Darren Woodson had surgery this week to remove a ruptured disk from his back. The 13th-year safety will be out up to eight weeks and likely won't be back until after the start of the season.
The Cowboys' last two camps were inside San Antonio's Alamodome, but they were summertime regulars in California before moving back home in 1990. They spent a couple of weeks in Oxnard three years ago to get away from the suffocating heat of Wichita Falls, Tex.
But there is no place for players to go to escape Parcells's heat.