2nd round draft pick Quincy Carter, who has been the subject of so much criticism during training camp, calmly directed two scoring drives in the 2nd half to give the Cowboys their first lead at 14-7.
Carter entered the game late in the 2nd quarter and finished completing 9 of 15 passes for over 160 yards and 2 TDs. Those statistics could have been even better if were not for several dropped passes.
Gone were the wobbly passes and indecisiveness. Instead Carter was very poised, made good reads, and threw the ball with power and accuracy.
He was able to escape the pocket and get the ball downfield to avoid losing big chunks of yardage on numerous occasions. He also very impressive in lofting a perfect touchdown pass to Bashir Yamini on 2nd and goal from the 18 yard line after avoiding a middle linebacker blitz.
Overall, Quincy Carter looked like a prepared quarterback that is ready to play in the NFL.
Starting quarterback Tony Banks also looked sharp in limited action, as he finished the game 5 of 9 for 36 yards. The banged up offensive line forced Banks into throwing the ball before he wanted to, but he was effective in moving the chains as the Cowboys advanced into Raiders' territory several times only to be thwarted by penalties.
The first-team defense also showed improvement against the NFL's best running team from a year ago. The Cowboys limited Oakland's first-team offense to 23 yards rushing through the first quarter and a majority of those yards came from Rich Gannon's scrambling ability when he was unable to find an open receiver.
There is no question that there is hope for this team.
The defense was very focused on stopping the run and the offense is going to have the weapons to put point points on the board. The offensive line's health is a big concern, but its still early and a lot of those guys will be ready to go before the start of the season.
Tony Banks avoided making any big mistakes in his debut as a Dallas Cowboy. Despite being under constant pressure, he delivered several quality passes and got rid of the football when he had to, and that's a good thing. He needs to keep this team in the game as long as possible, and the best way to do that is by not turning the ball over.
Quincy Carter silenced a lot of critics Saturday night, but this is only the beginning. Can he throw his passes with authority and accuracy consistently?
It will take several more games to be able to answer that question.
Quarterback coach Wade Wilson has said many times that Carter will perform better in game situations because he is forced to react as opposed to think. He'll have to do more thinking as the regular season gets closer, and that's when we will find out what he, and the rest of this team is made of.
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