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  • 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."

Related Topics


  • Nick
    CBS: Romo throws two touchdown passes as Cowboys edge Rams for preseason win
    by Nick
    Romo throws two touchdown passes as Cowboys edge Rams for preseason win wire reports
    Aug. 26, 2012

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo didn't need much time or his top three pass-catchers to show he's ready for the regular season.

    Playing only a quarter in what was supposed to be his most extensive action of the preseason, Romo threw for 198 yards with two long touchdowns to Dwayne Harris, who got behind defenders and went through them to score in the Dallas Cowboys' 20-19 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night.

    "Tony is an outstanding player and he's done it with a lot of different kinds of guys," coach Jason Garrett said. "It's nice to see him play well and play in a good rhythm with the younger guys."

    Even with a preseason game left to play, Dallas (2-1) is already starting to turn its attention to the regular-season opener Sept. 5 at the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. Romo isn't expecting to play at home against Miami on Wednesday night, a week before that game in New York.

    "I do know I've been preparing for New York for a while," Romo said. "We'll just get back to studying on them and take it from there."

    The Cowboys are confident receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (right knee tendinitis) will be ready to play against the Giants. Seven-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, who sustained a lacerated spleen in the preseason opener nearly two weeks ago, is uncertain.

    Their absence wasn't an issue against the Rams (1-2), who lost 34-7 at Cowboys Stadium last October and have been inconsistent this preseason under new coach Jeff Fisher.

    Romo completed 9-of-13 passes while playing three series, pushing the Cowboys to a 17-3 lead.

    Harris finished with three catches for 118 yards and Kevin Ogletree, going into his fourth season, caught five passes for 75 yards.

    "Injuries provide opportunity. With Dez and Miles being out, those guys have gotten more of an opportunity than they would have otherwise," Garrett said. "I think they've taken advantage of it."

    Kyle Orton was 9 of 12 for 99 yards playing both series in the second quarter.

    Harris, a sixth-round pick last year now in the mix to be the No. 3 receiver after Austin and Bryant, got behind the Rams' secondary for a 61-yard TD that put Dallas up 10-0 less than 9 minutes into the game.

    On the next Cowboys possession, after Greg Zuerlein kicked the first of two field goals longer than 50 yards for St. Louis, Harris caught a pass coming across the middle of the field.

    When Harris got close to the left sideline, where it looked like he might go out of bounds or get tackled, he instead split defensive backs. Craig Dahl and Janoris Jenkins ran into each other instead of the receiver near the 15, and Harris sprinted...
    -08-26-2012, 06:25 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams crumble against Cowboys
    by RamWraith
    By Jaime Aron

    IRVING, Texas (AP) -- When Tony Romo began chasing a snap that flew over his head, two thoughts raced through his mind.

    "Don't give up a touchdown," he said, "and don't get killed."

    After making things worse by knocking the ball farther away, Romo finally grabbed it 33 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Yet instead of falling on the ball or throwing it away, Romo took off running.

    And running. And running.

    By following his blockers and making a guy miss on his own, Romo recovered all the yards he'd lost, plus gained four more -- exactly what the Dallas Cowboys needed on a third-and-3 and in the midst of a sluggish start. That sparked the Cowboys to a 35-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

    "That was a trick play we were working on," coach Wade Phillips said, laughing.

    Romo's wild, Staubach-like scramble came just before halftime of a tied game. He capped that drive with -- what else? -- a 15-yard touchdown run. Then he opened the second half with TD passes of 59, 37 and 17 yards, turning what had been a tight early game into yet another easy win for undefeated Dallas and another frustrating loss for winless St. Louis.

    "When I first kicked it, I thought, `Uh-oh, maybe I should've fallen on it,"' Romo said. "You have a sense that people are around you or you don't. And no one was around me."

    Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said his sentiment during the play was similar to a basketball coach seeing a player put up a 30-footer.

    "You say, `No, no ... Hey! Way to go!"' Garrett said.

    The Cowboys are 4-0 for the first time since 1995, the year of their last Super Bowl title. The Rams are 0-4 for the first time since 2002, when they opened with five straight losses coming off a Super Bowl loss.

    Dallas is literally getting better every week of Phillips' tenure. The defense has gone from giving up four touchdowns in the opener, to three, to none Sunday (the Rams' only score came on special teams). The Cowboys offense, which came in as the highest-scoring in the league, has widened the margin of victory every week.

    "Four-and-oh is nice," Phillips said. "It doesn't put us in the Super Bowl, it doesn't put us in the playoffs. But it's good that we're there."

    The Rams are another story.

    They were without six injured starters and two more suspended, then lost several more to injuries, including Isaac Bruce, who had guaranteed a victory.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger played despite two broken ribs and his patchwork line wasn't able to protect him from DeMarcus Ware (one sack, lots of pressure) and Greg Ellis (1.5 sacks in his first game since tearing an Achilles' tendon in...
    -09-30-2007, 06:20 PM
  • Nick
    Cowboys inept in 'sloppy' opener
    by Nick
    Cowboys inept in 'sloppy' opener
    12:36 PM CDT on Sunday, August 14, 2005
    By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News

    TEMPE, Ariz. – Coach Bill Parcells has worked his team hard in the first two weeks of training camp.

    There have been two scrimmages totaling 154 plays. And intense full-contact practices. And there has been an increased attention to detail.

    Parcells said all of the work was designed to get his team ready to perform at a higher level earlier in the preseason. After all, the Cowboys failed to score in each of his previous two preseason openers.

    The changes did not produce the desired effect.

    The starting offense was inept, and the starting defense wasn't much better as Arizona beat Dallas, 13-11, Saturday night before an announced crowd of 36,687 at Sun Devil Stadium.

    Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-winning 53-yard field goal following a 5-yard false start penalty with 1:07 left.

    The first-team offense, saddled with poor field position, never found a rhythm under Drew Bledsoe, who completed just four of eight passes for 27 yards.

    He was sacked twice and knocked down at least three other times. He also showed a tendency to hold onto the ball too long but that could have also been the result of the Cowboys' receivers' inability to get open.

    The Cowboys produced just one first down in five possessions with Bledsoe at quarterback, while netting 22 yards on 17 plays. They did not move past their own 43.

    Julius Jones managed just 10 yards on six carries with a long of seven. Dallas trailed 10-0 when the starting offense and defense left the field.

    This is not what Parcells had in mind for the preseason-opener.

    "Pretty sloppy first outing," Parcells said. "We're not going to be able to overcome a lot of the things we did."

    He scheduled two scrimmages in the last seven days as part of his attempt to change his team's attitude.

    Parcells wants a tougher – mentally and physically – team that can fight through the difficult moments that occur during most games. At times last season, Parcells has said he thought the Cowboys stopped competing.

    He doesn't want that to happen again. So this has been an off-season of change.

    Parcells has been more active on the practice field, bouncing from group to group to disseminating information he says will help his players perform better.

    He changed the practice schedule to create more teaching and film-study time in an effort to lessen the mental mistakes the Cowboys made last season. Parcells even spent the last 25 minutes of Friday's walk-through making sure each player knew the substitutions on every special teams unit from the kickoff coverage to the return unit following a safety. Clearly, there...
    -08-14-2005, 05:10 PM
  • Nick
    Thomas: Cowboys shred Rams' secondary
    by Nick
    Cowboys shred Rams' secondary
    7 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS

    ARLINGTON, Texas • As good as the Rams’ cornerbacks have looked much of training camp and early in the preseason, coach Jeff Fisher cautioned during the week that much work remained to be done by that unit.

    That was painfully evident Saturday at Cowboys Stadium when the St. Louis secondary got worked over for 297 yards passing by Dallas quarterbacks Tony Romo and Kyle Orton.

    In the first half.

    Romo shredded the Rams’ attempts at coverage by completing nine of 13 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and a near perfect passer rating of 151.4. The result was a 20-6 halftime lead for Dallas in a game the Cowboys eventually won 20-19.

    Keep in mind, the first half onslaught was accomplished without the Cowboys’ main three weapons in the passing game. Tight end Jason Witten and wide receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant all missed the game because of injury. Who knows how bad it would’ve been had they been on the field?

    "We gave up way too much through the air," Fisher said. "A number of those situations would’ve been called back because of holding. It looked like Robert (Quinn) was getting tackled quite often back there. But they didn’t (call it)."

    As it was, on the Cowboys’ first possession of the game wideout Kevin Ogletree got behind rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins for a 25-yard gain on a drive that resulted in a field goal. Jenkins also missed a couple of tackles, most notably on a 38-yard TD reception by Dwayne Harris in which Harris split the tackling attempts of Jenkins and safety Craig Dahl.

    Harris looked like the second coming of Dallas Hall of Famer Michael Irvin with three catches for 118 yards in the first half — one of which was good for a 61-yard touchdown.

    "‘Jenks’ lost his footing on the first ball down the sideline," Fisher said, referring to the Ogletree catch. "We had a communication problem on the long touchdown pass (the 61-yarder). Those things I’m not concerned about because they’re correctable."

    Rookie third-rounder Trumaine Johnson also saw extensive playing time with the Rams’ starting defense, opening the game as the team’s third cornerback in the nickel package. He had a rough time, too, getting beaten for several receptions and missing a couple of tackles.

    "We have to tackle better on defense," Fisher said. "We tackled pretty well the first two weeks, and we didn’t tackle well tonight."

    All told the Cowboys outgained the Rams 342 yards to 114 in the first half. The Rams actually played their starters more than expected, with most of the starting units on both sides of the ball playing the entire half.

    NFL rookies usually go through ups and downs, and that was the case for Jenkins and Johnson on Saturday, and even some players with a...
    -08-26-2012, 06:22 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Air Raid wakes up in second half in upset of Oklahoma State
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 27, 2004 wire reports
    LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Jarrett Hicks huddled up at halftime and decided the team's leading receiver should get the ball more.

    It turned out to be a good plan.

    Hicks caught two of Sonny Cumbie's three touchdown passes in the second half and the Red Raiders beat No. 23 Oklahoma State 31-15 on Saturday.

    "It was my opinion he could whip the guy across from him, and he was going up against one of the better cornerbacks in the Big 12," said Leach, referring to Cowboys cornerback Robert Jones.

    Hicks agreed and suggested more throws his way to Leach.

    "He's a great player, and he really rose up there," said Leach of Hicks, the Big 12's leading receiver.

    The Red Raiders' prolific passing attack didn't get going until its first possession of the second half when Cumbie went 4-for-4, with three going to Hicks.


    The catches were Hicks' first of the game and went for 38, 27 and 2 yards, the last one for the touchdown to put the Red Raiders (7-4, 5-3) up 14-9.

    "Right before that drive, coach Leach got in my ear and told me to make a play," said Hicks, who finished with five catches for 96 yards. "It was coming to a point in the game where we really needed a play."

    He caught his second TD pass, a 14-yarder, midway through the fourth quarter to make it 24-15. Taurean Henderson sealed the win on a 6-yard TD run with 2:52 remaining.

    "We talked during halftime that we were going to try to get me the ball even more. We made some adjustments, talked about it and got it corrected," Hicks said.

    Cumbie, the nation's leading passer, had a season-low 281 yards.

    The Cowboys (7-4, 4-4) have dropped four of six following a 5-0 start. Vernand Morency finished with 108 yards on 23 carries, well below his 149-yard average for Oklahoma State.

    Tech's defense held the Cowboys without an offensive touchdown and to 176 yards rushing. They ranked eighth nationally coming into the game, averaging 251.9 yards per game.

    "It looked like to me we didn't block well," Cowboys coach Les Miles said. "But you have to give them credit.Their defense played well."

    Leach went a step further.

    "I thought our defense set the tone for this game," he said.

    The last time Tech kept an opponent from scoring an offensive TD was in 2002 in a 49-0 win over New Mexico.

    Cumbie, who came in averaging 394 yards passing, was 31-for-46 with an interception. His previous low of 294 yards came two weeks ago in a 42-35 overtime loss at Texas A&M.

    OSU took a 15-14 lead when safety Jaime Thompson intercepted...
    -11-28-2004, 05:21 PM