Thursday's Tuna Talk

IRVING - Listen to Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells talk about his team headed into the third preseason game against the Houston Texans.

  To listen to this press conference, you will need Microsoft Media Player.

Bill Parcells Thursday Press Conference (34:40)

MARCUS SPEARS UPDATE: First-round draft pick Marcus Spears returned to practice for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday. According to head coach Bill Parcells, the rookie has a lot of work to do if he's going to see significant playing time early in the year.

"I think he's ready to get back in, but he's got a lot to do. Don't let anybody kid you. This guy has a lot to do," he said.

"First of all he hasn't played in any game and I'm not sure he's going to play this week. I told you that he's missed out on what three of four of these kids have already gotten: Canty, Johnson, Ratliff. They've got 50, 60 plays pro-football plays under their belt. Spears, I don't know how many he's going to have. If he doesn't play this week he's going to have 30.

"Let me see where he is next week at this time. Let me see where is after the fourth preseason game. I'm trying to see if he's ready to play in this game. That's all I'm trying to see. I don't know that I'm going to play him."

PETITTI THE STARTER? With Jacob Rogers out of the equation at right tackle, with Torrin Tucker struggling, and no new signings at the position, Bill Parcells may be forced to go with rookie Rob Petitti as the starter.

How confident is the Cowboys third-year head coach with that scenario? "To say would I be confident if Petitti was the starter, that would be hard to do," Parcells said.

"This position he's playing (right tackle), is more of a difficult transition than some of the skill positions on offense. There is a lot of mental work involved, and there are a lot of nuances technically involved."

Parcells later added, "He has enough size. He has enough intelligence and I think his footwork is good enough. I think his strength is adequate at this point. At Petitti's position, you have deal with power."

FOURTH CB BATTLE: Bill Parcells addressed the battle for the fourth cornerback spot on Thursday. He said the following about Nate Jones, Bruce Thornton, and Lance Frazier.

Jones: "Jones is a guy that wins your respect by osmosis. He's another guy that's extremely intelligent as a player and you see that on the field. He makes very few bad decisions. Very few. He played 206 plays for us on special teams last year. For a small guy, he will tackle. He's a very heady player. As far as size and speed and all of that, he's a little bit limited. But one of the reasons he's in this league is that he brings some things you can't see. That's good."

Thornton: "I thought Thornton, last week, was the most he's ever played (46 total plays). I thought overall he did quite a bit better than what I've ever seen him do which is very limited because he only played three plays last year. I'm a little concerned about his tackling. I got to see some consistency from him. I do like his ability and he has more of the physical ability than Nate does. Slightly more. But he doesn't bring as much in some other areas yet. We'll see. If he can get that game up to speed, then he should have an edge."

Frazier: "Frazier is not on the field now. We are going to try to work something out with Frazier. I don't mean with other teams."

QUICK HITS: Drew Bledsoe will play a "good bit" Saturday against Houston. ... Rich Coady will get a look at free safety, "I'm just looking for a little help. We are down to about nine days now. He has a little more experience," Parcells said. ... The Cowboys will practice twice today, once indoors, once outdoors. ... Parcells usually tries do more for his third preseason game, but this year he can't. "This year is a little bit different because it's such a short week. I'm just trying to get the players as ready as I can without killing it," he said. ... Jason Ferguson will likely not play Saturday at Houston.

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