Parcells Fine with QB Concerns

Coach Bill Parcells acknowledges that quarterback is the single biggest question mark facing the Cowboys this season. He also admits that he's not quite comfortable with the prospect of choosing a starter between youthful holdovers Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson.

Yet, it's a situation he plans on living with in 2003.

Some thought his tone might change during the week former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese was available.

The Cowboys had been speculated as a possible destination for Griese, considering the inexperience of Carter and Hutchinson and Parcells' supposed preference for a veteran quarterback to help him win immediately.

According to Parcells, the Cowboys never were suitors for Griese.

"I'm not going to get involved in Brian Griese," Parcells said. "Everybody in Texas has been asking about Griese. We are going to go the way we are right now. I don't think anybody has ever gotten any other indication from us about this quarterback thing. Right now we are going to go with what we got. If that's good enough, fine. If not, next year we will be looking at somebody."

Parcells' attitude is based more on the dearth of quality quarterbacks available on the market, rather than an expression of confidence in Carter and Hutchinson.

He and owner Jerry Jones decided upon his hiring in January that they'd rather go with "what we've got" than invest in someone just for the sake of having another option but lacked a championship-caliber upside.

"That word comfortable is a very common one," Parcells said. "I really don't know (about being comfortable). But the question is what's the recourse? What are your options? This has been a question from Day 1. Jerry and I have talked about this. I am not interested in being 8-8. So I am not interested in a quarterback that could get me to 8-8. There are some guys I felt I could do that with. If I a saw a guy that was economically feasible and could get us a division title, I would be interested in the guy. I don't know who that would be at this point. I haven't seen that guy out there."

Parcells said doesn't know what he has in Carter and Hutchinson, either but plans to find out in mini camp this and training camp before naming starter.

Hutchinson, who joined the Cowboys after four years of professional baseball, started the final nine games a rookie last season, completing 127 of 250 passes for 1,553 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He was also sacked 34 times and lost eight fumbles.

Carter, entering his third year, has 15 career starts. He completed 125 of 221 passes for 1,465 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions before being replaced by Hutchinson after seven games last season.

"You can look at a tape, but you don't really ever know what that guy has been asked to do, so it's hard to pass judgment," Parcells said. "I'd rather just wipe the slate clean and turn it over to what I see. I have to be equitable with these guys and give them an equal chance. I don't think you can just say this guy is a starter. We are going to let them fight it out at camp, and figure it out as soon as possible."

Hutchinson has no problem with the clean slate, saying "that's what I expected coming into this thing. I don't make the call on the starting quarterback. The only person I can control is myself, do the best I can and prepare myself to do the best that I can. I am ready for competition."

Getting an equal shot is enough for Carter, who doesn't believe he was dealt with honestly by offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet last season.

"Last preseason, I was only getting 50 percent of the reps, and this preseason I'm getting 50 percent of the reps again," Carter said. "It was an undercover quarterback competition last year, and now it's all out in the open."

As for Parcells, he doesn't care what either thinks about the situation or their perception of another quarterback battle. All he cares about is how they perform on the field.

"If that's an issue and that takes one of them down, then that's good," Parcells said. "Then I know the other one should be the guy. If they can't handle it, they sure can't handle he scrutiny if they are the guy."

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