Parcells to take 'close' look at waiver wire
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- After seeing the way his aging running back, even older quarterback and questionable group of cornerbacks closed the preseason, Bill Parcells considers the Dallas Cowboys still a work in progress.
"I'm going to be looking at the waiver wire, that's for sure. I'm going to be looking pretty close," Parcells said following a 24-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. "We've got to try to improve our talent level a little bit. Anybody can tell from looking at us."
Dallas' starters were unimpressive, with Vinny Testaverde hitting nearly as many defensive backs as receivers and Eddie George having more carries than yards. Kansas City was slowed early by penalties, then had consecutive touchdown drives by throwing at the Cowboys' right cornerbacks.
Once both teams started taking out their starters, Dallas backup quarterback Tony Romo led three straight scoring drives and the defense made it hold up. The Cowboys finished the preseason 3-1, Kansas City went 1-3.
Romo, who never played as an undrafted rookie last season, went 12-for-14 for 141 yards. He drove for a field goal just before halftime and led TD drives of 70 and 65 yards in the third quarter, taking the Cowboys from down 14-7 to ahead 24-14.
Romo likely won the second-string spot, especially since Drew Henson went 0-for-4 with an interception on his first pass.
"I've been gaining confidence each week," said Romo, who ran for the winning touchdown in the last minute of another preseason game. "I was able to get into a rhythm tonight and our wide receivers and offensive line did great work."
Even in defeat, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil felt good because starting quarterback Trent Green completed 7-of-9 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, then backup Todd Collins went 5-for-5 for 104 yards with a 53-yard TD pass.
"They put in a pretty good day's work," Vermeil said. "Both quarterbacks can keep performing the way they have been and I will stay happy."
Third-stringer Damon Huard played nearly the entire second half, but managed only two field goals. He failed to convert third-and-4 from the 9 for the second field goal, then, on the next drive, the Chiefs had a third-and-2 from the Dallas 10 and ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Kansas City's Pro Bowl safety Jerome Woods had an interception in his return from a hamstring injury and Lawrence Tynes continued his bid to beat out Morten Andersen by making fourth-quarter field goals of 46 and 27 yards.
The most important thing in all preseason finales is avoiding injuries. The most serious was Dallas offensive lineman Stephen Peterman, a third-round pick, hurting his right knee and likely going out for the season.
This was the third game in 11 days for both teams, with Dallas just three days removed from its last outing. Vermeil said the short turnaround time means "it becomes the entertainment business then."
It wasn't too entertaining when the Cowboys' first-team offense was playing.
Testaverde was 4-of-10 for 40 yards, with Woods' interception. He missed Keyshawn Johnson all five times he threw his way; cornerback William Bartee came closer to catching the first two and the last one was redeemed by a pass interference call.
George gained just eight yards on nine carries against the Chiefs' first-team defense, which isn't good against the run. He finished the preseason with 51 yards on 24 carries.
His longest this game went three yards. His last two went for minus-four yards and no gain.
George especially looked slow on a pitch to the left side. A hole was open, but closed by the time he arrived; he gained just two yards.
"I have to relax as much as possible and take what the defense gives me," George said. "I'll continue to work hard, look at my mistakes and move on."
George looked even worse when 32-year-old Richie Anderson ran for six yards and 31 on the next two plays. George returned to cap the drive by scoring from the 3, breaking one tackle at the line to step into the end zone for his first touchdown of the preseason.
The Cowboys never turned to their future at the position, rookie Julius Jones, because he hurt his ribs Monday night.
"If this was the regular season, there would've been a lot more pressure on him to play," Parcells said. "He's going to have to suck it up when it counts."