A Day At The Movies

Studies show that sportswriting hacks who do game summaries with a movie theme will, 99 percent of the time, utilize Clint Eastwood's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'' to break down their summaries into categories.

That's too trite for us, and too narrow. Let's instead summarize Monday's Cowboys 30, Saints 7 exhibition game by taking a deeper tour around the Cineplex, with real movies that will be in theaters in the fall:

Little Mister Sunshine: Once Parcells crony Peter King announced it on NBC, it took on a life of its own: Tony Romo is very close to being the starting quarterback of the Super Bowl-hopeful Dallas Cowboys. And to insiders, Peter's "I didn't get this from anybody, it's just my own opinion'' fudging fooled no one but confuses everyone; King just left Oxnard, just had a 45-minute one-on-one with Parcells, isn't the type to make things up, and -- well, there is simply nothing that's happened at practice to suggest that Tony Romo is the best QB on this football team. Nothing.

So we don't quite know where the QB controversy came from. But if you can direct us to the nearest toilet, we can predict where it is going. That's not to say that Romo -- a fan favorite, a staff favorite, a good kid, a regular Little Mister Sunshine -- wasn't again impressive in game action. He completed 6-of-8 passes and tossed a 48-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

"It's an open competition,'' Romo said before the game. And he should think that.

Scoop: Drew Bledsoe (12-of-16 passes, 156 yards, no interceptions, three TDs engineered, a QB rating of 144.8) is still the starting quarterback here. No matter how many times somebody speculates, guesses or gossips otherwise.

Running With Scissors: Careful out there, fellas, or next thing you know, you'll get to -- I mean, HAVE to -- sit out a preseason game.

We'll apply this to both kicker Mike Vanderjagt and to left tackle Flozell Adams. Vandejagt said he realized in warmups that "I just wasn't comfortable enough," so he rested his groin and sat out the game. Flozell limped off the field after 10 plays with a calf contusion.

The feeling is that had the game been of the regular-season variety, both men would've taped an aspirin to it and played.

Said coach Bill Parcells: "We got out of this game relatively injury-free. I'm happy about that.''

Fast Food Nation: Did you get much of a look at New Orleans? Nope. Because Dallas dominated the TV screen, with a first-quarter time-of-possession edge of 11:51 to 3:09. For the game, the numbers were 37:48 to 22:12. If you were planning to take your trips to the fridge during Saints' possessions, you starved. Everyone's Hero: No, not Reggie Bush, though he was the guy people arrived in Shreveport to see. Everyone's Hero should be Demarcus Ware, who won a series of one-on-one, open-field battles with the electric rookie. Ware is the guy people left Shreveport talking about.

Snakes On A Plane: And snakes around the end. And up the middle. And in the backfield. Dallas' defense did everything expected and more, the No. 1 unit forcing three straight 3-plays-and-out series for New Orleans. Parcells groused, "The defense didn't get enough work, particularly the first half," he said. "I think we only had 12 plays, 13 plays, whatever it was (actually 19). It wasn't enough.

Well, yes, coach. The No. 1 unit didn't play alot. But that was the reward for playing so well.

Two positives: Rookie safety Pat Watkins started and survived; and defensive end Marcus Spears, playing in his first game since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery at the beginning of training camp, played and held up fine.

All The Kings Men: This is all about the wide receivers, four of 'em. The kings men: Terry Glenn was spectacular, highlighting the first quarter with four catches for 71 yards, including a gymnastic one-handed TD catch. Undrafted rookie Sam Hurd looked like the real deal with three catches for 30 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown catch. Another rookie, Jamaica Rector, contributed greatly. Third-year receiver Terrance Copper caught two passes for 32 yards. And first-year guy Mile Austin snared a 48-yard TD pass.)

Said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, "It certainly makes you feel good about not breaking my neck to go find me another receiver."

Now, All The Kings Men implies that something eventually falls off the wall and breaks. That, of course, regards Terrell Owens. Didn't play. Didn't make the trip. Might get another MRI. And for one night, anyway, wasn't missed.

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