Quincy And Answers

In the three tumultuous years since Quincy Carter left the University of Georgia after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, the question has been in the forefront of most people's minds. How good can this player be in the pros?

The question has never been fully answered because of many reasons. Youth and inexperience, coaching, and the talent around him have all played a part in keeping this issue on the front burner. But a question that has yet to be answered.

The debacle at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday in the 36–10 drubbing of the Cowboys by the Eagles has served up some answers. But the results have been trickling in for seven weeks since the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And if this was a pre-finals, which counted 30% of Quincy's grade, he better be great at homework. Because he has flunked several major exams.

The real test results indicate Quincy is a mediocre quarterback at best when facing the teams in the top half of the league. In the last seven weeks Carter has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

"Should have thrown the ball away," Carter said of the first interception in the Eagles game. A roll out to the right that was intercepted by Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown turned the game around on the first Dallas series in the third quarter. And this is the crux of what ails the Cowboys and Quincy Carter. He understands after the fact that this was a no win pass. But in the line of fire, he continually makes the poor decision and tosses the pigskin to the other team.

This is the same type of pass that was under thrown to Jason Witten in the New England game, which resulted in an interception. But to compound this mental mistake, on the next series Carter again tried to throw off his back foot after rolling right to avoid the rush. If Eagles linebacker Carlos Emmons didn't drop a pass in his mitts, Carter would have thrown an interception exactly like the one in the series before.

"He knows what he did. He's got to stop what he was doing in the third quarter." Bill Parcells said.

But this type of turnover hasn't happened exclusively this season. During the Arizona game last year, when Quincy gifted the Cardinals with four interceptions, he tossed two as he rolled to the right looking for a receiver. During training camp Parcells boasted that Carter was playing smart and throwing the ball away and reloading when there wasn't anything there for his passing game. But as the competition gets tougher and teams force Carter to beat them, he presses and makes the error which turns games.

The New England game was manageable until a third quarter brain-freeze on a roll out gave the ball away during the most significant drive of the night. To compound this error, it was first down when he made his gaff. A one-hop to Witten would have caused the Cowboys to be second and ten. Instead they came away with no points after giving the ball and field position away.

Late in the Miami game Carter rolled right and threw a pass to Zach Thomas who was one of a trio of Dolphins covering the receiver. Momentum has changed on the arm of Carter in several significant games of late. Going into the Patriot's game, Dallas had their destiny in their own hands. But three out of the last four contests have resulted in losses and Carter's miscues have had a significant role in changing the outcome.

He is not the only reason the team has lost. Lately, the best defense in football has shown a propensity for giving up yards and points. As the season has progressed, their shield of invincibility has shown some rust. But game-after-game this defense has rescued the offense which has looked anemic on most weekends. Dallas has issues that need addressing and quarterback is high up on this list. The real irony is this team had the fifth over-all pick with Byron Leftwich waiting to become the next in line of the great Cowboy quarterbacks. Perhaps the hang(ing)-around Chad is exacting his revenge, because Dallas played Hutchinson last year when a healthy dose of Quincy might have offered the answers needed when draft time rolled around.

This is not a knock on Newman. However, Leftwich is looking like the real deal. And Dallas couldn't afford to overlook Carter in 2003 after being benched half way through 2002 for Hutchinson. Had we seen this type of results last year from Quincy, Parcells might have pulled the trigger on a player that looks like…a player.

Instead, we have the Quincy experiment headed into the fourteenth week with a third year player tossing 13 TD's and 18 interceptions.

If Dallas had a veteran signal caller on the bench, they could have spelled Quincy on days the team was far ahead, or when he was having a bad day. The lack of Hutchinson's appearance in any game this year but a mop up role once, clearly states Parcells doesn't believe he has anything to offer.

Next off-season, which may start sooner than many of the fans anticipate, will be a time when we know for sure how Parcells grades out Carter. While his public comments have been positive, one has to wonder if one of his statements he cut short in a post-game press conference had a more significant meaning.

When asked why the team didn't open it up he blurted out, "Well, you saw what happened when we tried to…" His cryptic silence surely was a way to deflect any public criticism of Carter, which might cause Quincy to tank when the team needs two wins in three games to reach the play-offs.

One need only look at a game plan so conservative with little passing to realize Parcells is not going to let this caretaker assume the role of a playmaker.

The tests are in and Quincy is flunking pro-football 101. Dallas should actively hunt for a veteran like John Kitna of Cincinnati or Jeff Garcia of San Francisco. Both are free agents and have more skill than Quincy has shown.

But the real Q & A now is for the management and Jerry Jones who stated in 2001 that he would turn over every leaf to find the answer to the quarterback question. This is a test that has more significance than a journeyman quarterback who seems to deliver the ball with greater accuracy to the opponents than his own squad.

If Jones wants to exploit the Parcells hiring to the fullest, this is a test where he has to make an A.

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