IRVING - The Cowboys' search for help at defensive tackle led them to a familiar face Wednesday. The club signed eight-year veteran Chad Eaton, who played under coach Bill Parcells at New England.
Eaton signed a one-year contract for $660,000 before participating in practice with the Cowboys.
Before the 6-foot-5, 303-pounder can help the Cowboys' interior run defense, he must prove he can hold up physically.
Eaton signed a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks before the 2001 season after five years with the Patriots. He started 32 consecutive games in Seattle before missing all of last season with a knee injury that eventually required four surgeries.
The Seahawks cut him for salary-cap reasons in the off-season.
Eaton, 32, passed a physical before signing with the Cowboys. The next test for Eaton is his conditioning and getting reacclimated to the game. Eaton gives the Cowboys a proven option to play behind Leo Carson at nose tackle.
Dress rehearsal Monday
Bill Parcells said he will treat Monday's home game against Tennessee as somewhat of a dress rehearsal for the season, with the starters playing at least into the third quarter.
That means that Vinny Testaverde will get the bulk of the work at quarterback, and either Drew Henson or Tony Romo will sub in late.
Testaverde, 40, might also play, instead of starting Henson, against Kansas City four days later in the preseason finale.
Parcells said Testaverde needs as much work as possible before the season opener.
"I am going to play the guy that is going to play," Parcells said. "I think this guy [Testaverde] needs work. Everybody is ready to put him in the cemetery. I'm trying to dig him up."
Woodson feeling better
Bill Parcells remains troubled about what to do with injured safety Darren Woodson, who underwent back surgery in July.
The best possible scenarios have the 12-year veteran sidelined at least through the first game and possibly the first two games of the season.
Parcells has to decide whether to keep Woodson on the roster and tie up a spot or place him on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would keep him out of action for the first six weeks of the season.
Woodson said he's improving daily with his rehab.
"I am shooting for the second week," Woodson said. "I know a lot of people don't think so. But that is what I am shooting for."
Parcells said he might not make a decision until after the final preseason game.
"My inclination is to keep him on the roster, if I could," Parcells said. "If he was going to miss a game or two, then I might keep him on the roster. If he's going to miss four or five games, then it wouldn't pay to keep him on the roster. I'd put him on PUP [physically-unable-to-play list]. But if there's a chance he's going to play three, four more games by keeping him on the roster, I'd like to do that. But just because the doc says he's ready to practice now doesn't mean this guy is game ready. Well see."
Cundiff in jeopardy?
It's becoming increasingly clear that kicker Billy Cundiff might lose his job to Matt Bryant if Cundiff doesn't improve.
Although Cundiff had a strong season a year ago, he has struggled some in training camp.
The Cowboys aren't forgetting what Cundiff did last year, but in the what-have-you-done-lately world of kickers, that was last year. Bryant, meanwhile, has been impressive since joining the team two weeks ago and has caught Bill Parcells' attention.
Parcells said Wednesday that Bryant reminds him of one of his all-time favorite kickers -- former New York Giants star Matt Bahr.