IRVING, Texas -- Bill Parcells is tired of the question
because the answer hasn't changed. He's still not ready for rookie
Drew Henson to play quarterback in Dallas.
Despite the souring season, with the Cowboys (3-6) losing five
of their last six games, Parcells strongly reiterated Wednesday
that the wait will continue for the team's quarterback of the
"I've tried to explain it about 50 different ways," Parcells
"It's not being stubborn," he said. "It's a well thought out,
analytical, reasonable approach and I have given a lot more thought
to it than any single person."
Henson has been the backup quarterback the past three games, but
his only action has been as a holder on kicks. Even though the
Cowboys' last three losses were by more than 20 points each, he
didn't get a single snap at quarterback in any of those games.
Henson told ESPN Radio on Wednesday night that he is comfortable with the offensive sytem, if not the idea of playing in a game.
"As far as scheme-wise with X's and O's and everything we are trying to do, I am on top of that," Henson said. "But I haven't been in a game, and that's a whole different thing once you get in there, just as every player always had a first time out ... but as far as trying to manage a game and do the thing they would ask our quarterback to do I would feel comfortable with that if I needed to be."
The New York Giants, who have one more victory than Dallas, replaced
Kurt Warner with rookie Eli Manning this week. Pittsburgh has won
all seven games since rookie Ben Roethlisberger became the starter,
and Craig Krenzel is 3-0 with Chicago.
Still, Parcells hasn't been swayed to play Henson.
"It's not that I wouldn't like to find out about the player, I
want to do that," he said. "But right now, I don't think it's the
time. So that's it. It's going to stay that way for a while."
Parcells said it would take about two hours to explain
everything that goes into his thought process about Henson. Without
elaborating, Parcells said he didn't want to put the young
quarterback in the wrong situation at the wrong time.
"I understand completely what coach is saying," Henson said on ESPN Radio. "They want me to succeed and hopefully I'll be here for a long time, so this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and as we go along the rest of the season I am going to be ready to play."
Henson's last snap in a meaningful game was for Michigan in
the 2001 Citrus Bowl. He then played three seasons in professional
baseball before joining the Cowboys.
Cowboys starter Vinny Testaverde has 2,305 yards passing and is on pace to be
the first Cowboys quarterback with more than 4,000 yards. Only Don
Meredith has thrown for more through the first nine games of a
season (2,369 yards in 1966).
Part of Parcells' reluctance to change quarterbacks has been the
wrong message it could send that the focus was switching to the
future and away from this season.
"We are trying to win here. We are not running a tryout camp,"
Parcells said. "It's as simple as that. (Testaverde) gives us
a better chance to win the game. That is what I am trying to do."
Testaverde, who reunited with Parcells last summer and turned 41
Saturday, isn't bothered by the talk about Henson.
"I'm experienced enough to realize how the process works, how
most people view things and see things," said Testaverde, who is
in his 18th NFL season. "But it doesn't stop me from trying to
come out and compete and win a game."
While with the New York Jets, Testaverde was replaced by Chad
Pennington. He knows Henson is next in line in Dallas.
"Eventually, that process will take place ... whether it's this
week, next week or a month from now, a year from now." Testaverde
said. "Whenever it is, it will happen. That's not my decision.
It's one man's decision. He's going to make the call."
And Parcells isn't saying when that might happen.
The Cowboys, coming off a 49-21 loss to NFC East-leading
Philadelphia, play Sunday at Baltimore.