Kevin Sherrington: It's almost time to give Henson a whirl
01:28 AM CST on Tuesday, November 16, 2004
IRVING – Man's on his hands and knees one night, searching the sidewalk, when a stranger asks what he's looking for.
"Lost my wedding ring," the man says, not even bothering to look up.
Guy gets down on the ground with him. A few fruitless minutes later, the good Samaritan asks exactly where he figures he lost the ring.
"Down there somewhere," he says, pointing.
"Then why aren't we looking over there?"
"Light's better down here."
Moral: You talk to Bill Parcells about what's wrong with the Cowboys, and you get the feeling he thinks everyone else is in the dark.
Certainly, you can see his point. The Cowboys have plenty of problems, as a 49-21 loss to the Eagles proved without a doubt to a nation's Monday night audience.
They need a pass rush. And a running back. A game breaker at wide receiver might be nice.
They need a miracle for Darren Woodson's bad back, which would go a long way toward fixing Roy Williams, too.
Worst of all, maybe, they could use a cornerback who can at least obstruct someone's view.
How bad was it Monday? Terrell Owens caught so many touchdown passes, he ran out of routines.
Here's how bad: Any more TDs, and a bored TO might have just flipped the ball back to the referee.
Vinny Testaverde can't do anything about any of that. He's not the problem with this team, now 8-12 since last season's 5-1 mirage of a start.
Not only that, Testaverde's been more effective than anyone would have dreamed going into this season.
For one thing, he's still standing. Not bad for a guy who turned 41 Friday.
But it's no longer about Testaverde's durability. And it's no longer about this season, either.
Not after the Eagles embarrassed the Cowboys. Parcells has complained that it would be a bad "sign" to his team if he replaced Testaverde with Drew Henson.
Hey, Bill: What sign are you waiting for?
Take a cue from your old assistant, Tom Coughlin. The Giants are still in the running for a wild card, and here's what he said Monday when he replaced Kurt Warner with Eli Manning:
"He is the future of the New York Giants; it just starts now."
You could make a case that Manning is better suited to starting than Henson, who might be better equipped to start for the Rangers at the moment.
Question: Then exactly when does the future start?
Answer: Thanksgiving Day.
Henson needs to kick off the Cowboys' new era against Chicago. Give him another week to get ready and avoid big bad Baltimore.
But then it's Henson's time. Good or bad, it couldn't be any worse, because there's nothing worse than a team without hope.
And this club doesn't have any. Not in its present condition. No hope for this season or the next, either, as long as we don't know anything about Henson's potential other than it's not as a third baseman.
Time for the Cowboys to move on again at quarterback. Nearly three years wasted on Quincy Carter and a half-season on Chad Hutchinson.
And now we've had enough of Testaverde, too. Not that it was his fault, but it's simply time to invest in a quarterback who'll be here when this team is any good again.
But does Parcells get it? Hardly. No way Testaverde should have been in the game in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys down by 21.
Henson needs to see what it's like in a real NFL game. He needs to see the speed, feel the rush, learn from his mistakes.
He needs to get smacked around a little. If he's good enough, he'll overcome it.
Hutchinson couldn't, and we found that out only because he played. Parcells acts as if Henson might be scarred by the experience, a valid point.
And if he is scarred by it? Then maybe he's not the answer at quarterback, either.
But it's just about time to find out. No use being so stubborn about it anymore.
Of all the praise heaped on Jimmy Johnson for his psychology and defensive genius and success keeping Jerry Jones out of the huddle, here's what stands out in my memory:
Not afraid to admit he made a mistake. Cut high draft picks and abandoned players who helped him to Super Bowls.
Jimmy knew when to move on. Another week, Bill, and time for you to do the same with your quarterback.