Quincy Carter is talking confidently about remaining the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback.

Forget that Bill Parcells doesn't believe in incumbents or that 40-year-old quarterback Vinny Testaverde reunited with his old coach in hopes of being a starter again.

"I wouldn't say it's an open competition," Carter said yesterday after the team's first California workout in Oxnard. "I'm clearly the starter right now. . . . The team knows who their starter is. I'm going to stand firm on that, and I'm going to be their leader."

After starting all 16 games last season, when the Cowboys went 10-6 and got back in the playoffs in Parcells's first year, Carter took snaps with the first-team offense when training camp opened.

Parcells admits that Carter has an early advantage, but the coach has repeatedly said that he will go by what he sees during camp. Whoever plays the best now is going to start, regardless of what happened before -- at quarterback or any other position.

"He has a leg up on pretty much everybody because he was the guy that played the best and started last year," Parcells said. "Obviously, I have that in mind. He is in a good position to be improved. And that is what I'm looking for."

* GIANTS: By all appearances, Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne is making the most of what could be his last chance with New York.

Just looking at the Giants' first-round draft pick in 2000 tells the story.

His gut is gone. His body is lean. His mind is focused on playing football -- playing being the key word -- for new coach Tom Coughlin in a backfield where he will share time at halfback with Tiki Barber.

"I think he realizes this is his time. This is his opportunity," Barber said between practices at camp. "Coach Coughlin laid it right out for him when they met in the offseason. 'I am going to expect this out of you.' "

* JAGUARS: The Super Bowl will be played in Jacksonville, Fla., in February and the Jaguars would like to be much more than just good hosts.

With a promising young quarterback, a roster that has added depth and a defense that improved as last season ended, the Jaguars are getting lots of hype as one of those teams that can make the quick jump from also-ran to contender.

And the Jaguars in the Super Bowl? Stranger things have happened.

"The last few Super Bowl champions had no history around them," quarterback Byron Leftwich said on the opening day of training camp. "I feel like, why not us? Why not me? Why can't I get a part of that history?"

* RAMS: St. Louis tackle Kyle Turley re-injured his surgically repaired back in practice, and the team scheduled tests to determine the extent of the problem.

The team characterized the injury as a strain, and tests were done at training camp rather than having Turley go back to St. Louis. Results of the tests were not immediately available.

* BILLS: Buffalo signed first-round draft pick J.P. Losman to a five-year contract. Losman, a quarterback out of Tulane selected 22nd overall, signed the contract at the Bills' headquarters in Orchard Park, N.Y., and was to report to training camp in suburban Rochester later in the day, Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said.

The Bills hope to groom Losman as the eventual replacement to starter Drew Bledsoe.

Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich is thinking big -- Super Bowl big: "I feel like, why not us? Why not me?"