Tuesday News & Notes

-- CB Lenny Williams was re-signed to the practice squad.

-- Coach Bill Parcells was happy with his team's 21-7 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Bears. He didn't care if people disagreed with his decision to bench rookie quarterback Drew Henson for veteran Vinny Testaverde in the second half.

Owner Jerry Jones expressed surprise and disappointment over the move that yanked Henson, the team's quarterback of the future, halfway through his first NFL start.

"I am tickled to death with this win, but it is going to be exciting for our fans and for everyone when we can win with young players who are going to be on the field for years to come," Jones said. "It was disappointing (that the team didn't win with Henson), but I'm not second-guessing Bill. I think Bill was disappointed. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen Julius (Jones) have the kind of (game) he had and do it (win) with the young quarterback that we started with."

What gets lost in the sexy subplot of Jones and Parcells having their first tiff is that Jones' disappointment was less about Thursday's game and more about the fact that almost four years have passed since Troy Aikman retired and the Cowboys are still no closer to finding his replacement than they are to winning a Super Bowl this season.

For Jones, building a champion starts with finding the quarterback. It is the only way he knows.

The Cowboys have wheeled out seven quarterbacks since the injury-plagued Aikman was waived by the Cowboys in March 2001.

There have been the place-warmers such as Clint Stoerner, why-not-gambles such as Anthony Wright and Ryan Leaf, experienced bridge-gappers such as Testaverde, and the guys who they were hoping might be "The Guy," the honest-to-goodness, hope-we-hit guys such as Quincy Carter, then Chad Hutchinson and now Henson.

"We've got to get established on a long-term basis at quarterback if we are going to get back to the Super Bowl," Jones said. "It's in the longer-term interest of the Dallas Cowboys to get Drew as many snaps and as much evaluation as we can. There is going to be some serious risk (in doing that)."

-- Everything that had been missing from the Cowboys' defense arrived together last Thursday.


Pressure on the quarterback.

A sack by end Marcellus Wiley.

The Cowboys' maligned defense was suddenly awakened and had plenty to be thankful for in a 21-7 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Chicago Bears. It was the Cowboys' most complete and inspired defensive effort of the season, combining all the elements that had turned into magnified problems. Some Cowboys defensive players went from invisible to notable against the Bears.

"It feels fantastic," Cowboys defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "I really can't put it into words. It's something that we've been missing for a while. We're just glad to get it back."

The Cowboys held the Bears to 140 total yards and only 49 yards rushing, the second-lowest rushing total allowed this season. The Cowboys recorded a season-high six sacks, 3 1/2 by reserve end Eric Ogbogu, and forced four turnovers.

"I think the defense played the best we have all year," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said.

The Cowboys defense, ranked 25th in the NFL, has been dogged by a lack of turnovers all season (seven entering the game) and is on an NFL-record pace for fewest in a season. But the Cowboys recorded four turnovers, three by the defense. Cornerback Terence Newman's interception with 10:47 remaining in the fourth quarter set up Julius Jones' 4-yard scoring run, which gave the Cowboys a 21-7 lead.

Newman's interception was his first since Sept. 19 against Cleveland, and the victory was the Cowboys' first in their last four games.

The Cowboys had even more turnover chances, but Glover couldn't fall on a fumble in the first half and linebacker Dexter Coakley dropped an interception.

"We still had mistakes, but effort-wise and people getting things done, that was the most complete we've been this year," defensive end Greg Ellis said.

The Cowboys' defensive front produced relentless pressure on Bears quarterbacks Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn. Ellis had 1 1/2 sacks and Wiley, yes Wiley, removed a season-long burden with his first sack. He dropped Quinn and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.

"That wasn't a monkey, that was a gorilla -- King Kong size," Wiley said of what was on his back. "It's good to get (sacks) because you're largely measured by that."

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