Parcells not wasting any time with Cowboys

Updated: August 4, 2003, 7:12 PM ET

SAN ANTONIO -- Bill Parcells isn't wasting any time.

After 16 practices and one scrimmage the first 10 days of training camp, Parcells said the Dallas Cowboys are already "90 percent finished" installing the team's schemes and plays.

And now that Parcells is getting a better feel of what he's got, he's ready to see better execution and start determining who's going to be on the field. The season opener is only a month away.

"When this week is over, we'll be 55, 60 percent practice-wise down the road for Atlanta," Parcells said Monday. "We've got to now start understanding how we have to play, what we need to do well. I can start being more definitive and explicit about how I want to build this team."

Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson will get more snaps in practice this week, diminishing time for backups Tony Romo and Clint Stoerner, as Parcells tries to determine the starting quarterback.

Parcells said Carter and Hutchinson will both start a preseason game and that he may be able to determine the real No. 1 by the third preseason game. He isn't saying who will start Saturday at Arizona. He said Carter's start in the scrimmage Saturday wasn't any indication of a choice.

"I just indiscriminately decided to start him with the first group," Parcells said. "I'll start one of them one game, one of them the other, and then decide."

That's only part of improving a team coming off three straight 5-11 seasons, and Parcells doesn't expect things to go smoothly.

His idea for a 53-man roster is picking 20 players each for offense and defense, plus three specialists. That leaves 10 other spots to fill, players that Parcells expects to do well on special teams.

"I haven't picked those 20, but if I were to do it, right now I could probably pick 12 each, maybe a few more," he said.

While the Cowboys did some good things in their scrimmage against the Houston Texans, Parcells made sure they forgot about that when they returned to the field for their only practice Monday, a hard 2{-hour workout in the Alamodome.

"This training camp, period, this team, period, is being led by Bill and he let's you know that," said defensive Greg Ellis, sweat streaming off his forehead after practice. "It's his way of saying don't be fooled by it, it was a scrimmage game. You can't make anything out of it other than that."

Dallas scored 26 points and all four quarterbacks played well, completing 17 passes to 15 different receivers, but the Texans also didn't play any of their defensive starters. The Cowboys also had eight sacks, that coming against a Houston line that gave up a record 76 last season.

Parcells gave the scrimmage mixed reviews.

"On the plus side, we didn't turn it over and didn't have any penalties. I obviously like that," he said. "Defensively, we didn't have any mental errors until the 34th play of the scrimmage. That tells me the first two groups were pretty good."

But there were, according to the coach's count, 28 mental errors on offense and 19 on defense. While conceding most were from young players, Parcells wants to see those numbers cut in half at Arizona.

As for what part of the scheme hasn't been completely installed, Parcells said there hasn't been enough work on goal-line and short-yard situations, or two-minute drills.< ^Extra points:@ C Al Johnson and OT Joe Johnson didn't practice. Joe Johnson sprained his ankle in the scrimmage, after AlJohnson, a rookie listed No. 1 on the depth chart, twisted a knee earlier Saturday in practice. Parcells hopes AlJohnson is back on the field soon. "When we try to put him back on there, if he would have continued problems, we would then maybe do something about it scope-wise. If he seems to get through it OK, then we'd' leave it as it is," he said. ... Practice started about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled but still went only 2{ hours. ... WR Randal Williams was impressive in the first week of camp, but dropped two passes in the scrimmage. "He didn't perform like he had been in camp but we're not very far down the road yet. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt," Parcells said. "You can't discard all the good work he has done." ... Hutchinson and Carter both threw some nice deep balls in practice Monday. Hutchinson stepped away from pressure and found Antonio Bryant behind the secondary about 50 yards down the field. Carter threw a strike down the middle that Ken-Yon Rambo caught in traffic with his back to the end zone.

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