Parnell replaced Smith in the first half of Sunday's overtime victory against Cleveland. It was Parnell's most extensive action since the preseason where he started the final preseason game against Miami. Parnell said it was slow in comparison to what he went through against the Browns.
"It was a big shocker and I didn’t take a rep in practice all week," he said. "But you got to be ready."
Thursday afternoon, Parnell is slated, if Smith doesn't play, to get his first NFL start in a regular season game.
"Anytime you get a chance to start in this business you have to take advantage of your opportunity," Parnell said.
This week while Smith has been watching on the side, he's given Parnell advice on what to do when he's facing right defensive end and former Cowboy Stephen Bowen.
"Stick with the fundamentals," Parnell said of what Smith told him. "Stay square, keep a base and go out there and have fun." Later he said, "extra film work helps. Worry about the reps on the field, that's about it."
The instability of the offense line has come from the interior where three different centers have started. But the Cowboys moved right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau to center with Ryan Cook out and inserted Derrick Dockery to Bernadeau's spot.
Now one of the tackle spots has some issues and the Cowboys have been praising the practice work of Parnell. In games, he receives some limited snaps on offense when the Cowboys want to use a big package on run plays.
"Just got to be ready whenever coach calls you," Parnell said. "In this business, it changes in-and-out. You just got to be ready."