Case Closed: It's Romo

palms.

Now the guy who has to make this decision is Bill Parcells, and he didn't seem to be in any mood to announce any decisions after the game. When asked about playing Romo second, and to the end, and not even getting Henson into the game, Parcells said, "I think he's doing all right."

That's fair. But before camp began, Parcells said this competition for the backup job would play out on its own; that we would be able to tell when he's able to tell. And although he wanted to tell after the second preseason game, my guess is he's now ready to tell.

Hey, we're ready to tell.

Now Romo's second foe is all the quarterbacks in free agency, and there doesn't seem to be a veteran free agent out there piquing the Cowboys' interest. Probably for good reason. Really slim pickin's. And forget about Vinny coming back again. Parcells dismissed that Friday, saying he talked to last year's 15-game starter, and figures he's done. That golf is his priority these days.

And, let's face it: What are the chances of some team cutting a veteran capable of being a No. 2? They don't grow those guys on trees, and if you have one, you're probably not giving one away.

Plus, for the third consecutive week - and maybe even more adamant than he was before the first preseason game - Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team's backup quarterback was currently on the roster. He insists the Cowboys are committed to developing one of their own young quarterbacks.

Well, then taking all that into account, and Romo's clean performance Saturday night and Henson not getting into the game and the Cowboys having just two full days to prepare for Thursday's final preseason game here against Jacksonville, the job is Romo's. He's been the more consistent of the two day in and day out in training camp practices, two scrimmages and now in three preseason games.

How did he do it?

Going back to training camp, when Romo was asked how he deals with this daily competition for the job, he said he just takes it one day at a time, and no matter what, tries not to let one day bleed into the next.

"More and more I tell myself that," Romo said Saturday night, "and now I think that will be my situation my whole career.

"I just think I've gotten better. Just throwing the ball better, feeling more natural."

No arguments here. But thinking ahead, my guess is Parcells will caution one and all about putting Romo in Canton, just as he did Monday night after DeMarcus Ware's performance. He'll say this is only preseason, and Romo must do this in a regular-season game to ultimately prove himself.

He'll even point out that dropped snap on the field-goal attempt. Wonder if Romo's answer to Big Bill will be the same as it was to us:

"What snap?"

Good answer, and even better, more convincing performance.

Hope those darn friends of his tell him that, too, the gossips.

MICK SHOTS

Once the Cowboys offensive line settled down, and figured how to pick up those blitzing Texans, the Cowboys' first-team offense functioned efficiently. And the encouraging thing about this? Those problems didn't seem to be on the right side of the line. Rookie Rob Petitti seemed to be solid, and even Torrin Tucker had another encouraging performance.
Keith Davis seemingly has won this free safety job. Not only did he have a couple of bone-jarring hits on passes over the middle, he was seen in the box making tackles in the running game at or near the line of scrimmage. That's what Parcells said he wanted to see from his free safety, and he saw that.
That was a rookie running back test for Tyson Thompson when Parcells gave him what he likes to call a "dose pack" in the fourth quarter. Thompson, after scoring a touchdown on the previous possession, was given the ball next time out on eight

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