The Cowboys Bank On Carter

"The best successes, I have gotten to be a part of with the Cowboys," said Jerry Jones in Tuesday's Tony Banks exit press conference, "(have been about)… balls out decisions and burning our bridges behind us." And so Jones, in one of his more emphatic public appearances spoke to the changing of the guard at quarterback and plans for the future.

"Don't be surprised if all of a sudden a personnel decision is not consistent with what was talked about 2 or 3 months ago, if opportunity comes along that we can, in our opinion, build the team." Jones added.

The Cowboy's have embarked on an audacious new path counting on a rookie in Carter, and a player with less than three games experience in Wright, to carry the standard for the Cowboys this season. Both players fit the mold of a quarterback with personality and a hunger for the game.

"I think it's important that you know this is a 365 day-a-year job." Dave Campo echoed the sentiment of Jones. "Coaches do it. Players do it."

Rumblings from St. Louis spoke about Banks cavalier work ethic, which became all too familiar when Tony didn't immediately come in to learn the offense. Apparently the Cowboys felt this was not the type of player or attitude they wanted to lead this team in the post-Aikman era.

Yet both Jones and Campo commented that this was more a decision on what Carter and Wright bring to the team than anything Banks has done.

"A big part of this decision was Dave's opinion, that we can take the skills of the quarterbacks that we have here right now, and do offensively a better job than if we had gone in the other direction." Jones said.

Campo's positive attitude was reflected in his musings about the offense and what could be expected from his tandem quarterbacks this year.

"Number one I think the perception that they are running quarterbacks is not correct. What they are, are maneuverable quarterbacks." Campo said. "We want them throwing the ball. We have three quarterbacks that can throw the football, are leader type guys that step into the huddle and command a little bit of respect, and they can throw the ball and run the ball. And that's the direction of keeping the ball moving in a ball control type of offense."

Maneuvering the quarterback behind the line to by time for the wide receivers with the occasional option to run appears to be the way this team plans on moving the sticks. Shades of Roger Staubach.

But the question does arise about both Carter and Wright recognizing blitz packages and disguised defenses. Forcing a young quarterback to make a split second decision on where the open receiver is when facing a blitz sounds like there will be more running for one's life than passing.

In an artful display of sidestepping, Jones cautioned that this might not be the final line-up throughout the season.

"There is no consideration…nothing working on the horizon about bringing in another quarterback in here right now. But don't confuse going back on your philosophy if we make a personnel change if we had the opportunity."

Rumors of an interest in a deal with the Bears for Cade McNown weren't put to rest, nor should either Carter or Wright feel too comfortable with the exit of Banks. This season is turning out to be chameleon-like, and Jones is apt to pull a rabbit out of his hat at any moment.

But the bottom line on Banks sudden departure may be a page from Jimmy Johnson's motivational handbook. Jones addressed the affect this will have on the other men taking the field.

"One of the reasons for approaching it this way, is the enthusiasm and the promise and excitement that a decision like this can bring to the team," Jones said.

While unprecedented, the firing of Banks today does have a semblance of reasoning behind it. This campaign appears at this juncture to be nothing more than a 5-win season. Banks stewardship didn't figure to change that number significantly.

Jones will have a high pick in the first round next year. Letting Banks go almost assures this as fact.

But the real brilliance in this is the evaluation of Carter under real game conditions. Does he have the character to stand up to the defenses, physical pounding, and scrutiny a starter in the NFL endures?

Jones will find answers to these questions with a draft pick in his pocket in case neither quarterback succeeds. A test that Banks would impede by his presence.

Jimmy Johnson once commented that by bragging of a win once, ‘he wrote a check with his mouth that the team would have to cash.'

Jones, famous for signing all kinds of checks may have written his largest with the ouster of Banks and promotion of his rookie. All eyes will be watching the kid from Georgia ready to rave or rip Jones' decision.

Jerry talked the talk. Can Quincy now walk the walk?


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