Owner Jerry Jones beamed. He couldn’t wait to be asked about backup left tackle Jermey Parnell.
“Parnell, I’m really proud of him,” Jones said. “He got his baptism under fire here and he came in and played.”
Parnell is one of Jones’ favorite players. He believes in the upside of the former college basketball player, who went undrafted out of Mississippi.
“I really am anxious to look at every play of Parnell,” Jones said. “But man, am I proud to see him come in, play like he did. And get this baptism under fire. He’s got a chance to be a good player for us.”
As a rookie, Parnell spent a year on the Saints’ practice squad, then went to the Dolphins’ practice squad in 2010. He was released, went back to the Saints, and then the Cowboys plucked him off the Saints’ practice squad.
He spent 2011 with the Cowboys, and before the draft this year, they signed him to a three-year extension.
“He has a whole career of upticks. I think he does. He’s got that kind of talent,” Jones said.
Parnell may get a chance to show Jones a lot more in the coming weeks. Starting left tackle Tyron Smith has a high ankle sprain.
“I think the film’s going to bear out that he really got a chance to play, and we’ve seen him,” Jones said. “We’ve seen him do things. But I noticed on several key plays there, short yardage, long yardage, that he was really bulldozing them out of there on the run game, which he does really well.”
Jones was also high on the performance of center Mackenzy Bernadeau, who had to play for the injured Ryan Cook.
“I’m anxious to personally see the tape to see how well he did,” Jones said. “I know his snaps were adequate to good for Tony. Tony told me before the game, if we can get through this game and not have snap issues, we may really have found us something in him at center because of his size and athletic ability.”
Jones said Smith might be able to come back sooner than expected.
“We know how those things are, but man, is he a focused young man,” Jones said. “And if anybody could fight through this level of – and don’t ask me what level I’m talking about – the trainers were a little more-than-usual optimistic that it might not be as bad as it can be, a high ankle.”
-- Carlos Mendez