Head coach Bill Parcells provided the answer Wednesday at Valley Ranch -- or, to be accurate, the answers.
"I'm going to prepare two quarterbacks to play this week," Parcells told the media at his Wednesday press conference. "(Vinny) Testaverde
is going to start, and I told (Tony) Romo to be prepared to play."
Parcells then said he'd like to "leave it at that." He would have had better luck asking the media to serve as tackling dummies at practice.
Testaverde, Parcells said, gives the Cowboys the proverbial "best chance to win." He said that he would like to see Romo in a game, but stopped short of guaranteeing Romo would get on the field. He said his decision to bring Romo off the bench, if he plays, as opposed to
starting him, stems from the desire to have Romo see the Redskins' potent defense before facing it.
"I want them (Romo or fellow backup QB Drew Henson) to see their (the
Redskins') defense before they get on the field," Parcells said. "I'm
not saying I'm even going to put him in, but i'm of the mindset that if
i'm going to use him, I want him to know what's going on."
Parcells said that Romo is getting "additional" work with the
first-team offense. Testaverde still is getting the most snaps with the
top unit, but Romo is getting more time with the starters than backups
normally receive. Despite the fact that Romo hasn't played in a
regular-season game (other than as a holder on kicks), Parcells said
he's more comfortable with Romo as the first backup behind Testaverde
against the Redskins, who boast the second-ranked defense in the NFL
(No. 3 rushing defense, No. 5 against the pass).
"Experience-wise he's seen more of this kind of thing," Parcells said.
"But I don't know what they (the Redskins) are going to do. We've
looked at film, and we know what we think they're going to do, but we
don't know what they're going to do."
Testaverde said the Washington defense is better than their statistics
"They have a tremendous defense," Testaverde said. "They've got some
people hurt, but … their front four is good. Their linebackers are
good, the secondary is good … (CB) Fred Smoot is playing very well …"
Through 14 games this year, the Redskins have allowed 234 points and
261.1 total yards of offense per game. Dallas, by comparison, has
allowed 367 points and an average of 344.1 yards per game.
Despite receiving his best chance to line up under center for the first
time in a regular season game, Romo acted Wednesday as if Parcells'
announcement was insignificant.
"I take the same approach each week," Romo said. "I prepare to play
every week. If (Parcells) calls on me, I'll be ready.
"It's really no different than any other week. I always feel like I'm
going to play. As a competitor and an athlete, I always feel like I'm
going to play."
Romo said he hadn't figured out (or been told by Parcells) what
circumstances might convince his coach to pull Testaverde and put
insert Romo into the game.
"I don't sit and dissect scenarios," Romo said. "If it's the second
snap or the last snap, I'll be ready."
Let's Play Two!
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