Fourth and One

The quarterback turnstile is spinning like this blue green globe of ours once again in Big D. Anthony Wright, the on again off again quarterback for Dallas has aggravated an old injury to a repaired knee he suffered in college and will be doubtful for Sunday's contest.

A five-year old surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee has flared up and is causing swelling. So much so that he couldn't bend it earlier this week. The team is leaning toward mid-season surgery, which would effectively mean Wright's season and audition is over this year.

A tough break for a tough kid that's brightest hope for gridiron glory was to impress with his skills this season and end up on someone else's roster next.

The replacement for Wright and the third quarterback to start for the Cowboys this year will be Clint Stoerner. Formerly a starter for the University of Arkansas, Stoerner will debut against the Cardinals this Sunday.

While Stoerner has moved the club and scored against several teams both in the pre-season and regular season this year, he will face the front line defense of Arizona. His past success will be tested. Yet Arizona is the 29th team against the pass this season. Clint's ability to find receivers may be exactly what the doctor ordered for Dallas.

Ryan Leaf has been taking a crash course in Cowboys Offense 101 since signing with the club. It's suspected that Jerry Jones secretly wanted Leaf to get a shot at starting. With the Wright injury apparently Jerry's rabbits foot is still working.

Leaf will wear a wristband with the offensive plays he knows. Each play is numbered to streamline the process for the new quarterback.

When asked about his adapting to this system, Leaf said, "I've done it before. I did it in San Diego. It's not that difficult."

With the current situation playing out for the Cowboys, it is reasonable to expect Leaf to be geared up for the start against the Falcons, and perhaps as soon as the NY Giant game a week from Sunday.

Dallas is expected to scour the practice squad rosters of other teams and sign a third string-quarterback this next week. But against the Cardinals if an emergency arises Dallas will turn to Tim Seder, the field goal and extra point kicker to run the offense.

If worse case scenario does prevail, can the surprise drop kick field goal be far behind.

A season that promised to be a little different from the decade of Aikman has now turned into the Twilight Zone.

One can only wonder if Rod Serling can throw the 19-yard out with any zip.
The surprise cuts by Dallas in mid-week were foreshadowed by events as far back as last spring. For Darren Hambrick, the axe fell on a player that groused during the off-season and willfully missed voluntary quarterback schools.

While the league stresses that these practices in April are not to be a required event. For a team that is spiraling downward faster than the Andrea Doria, it needs full attendance at every turn to stay semi competitive.

Hambrick who spent more time complaining about his inability to buy a 25,000 square foot house during his interviews in the off-season should have seen a new attitude at Valley Ranch. Jerry and company are putting attitude above all else with a team on the rebound. Hambrick has now lost a stage to showcase his skills and receive the check he feels he's worth.

As of Thursday he landed on his feet in Carolina. Another woefully bad team where wins are as far between as successful diets to Oprah.

The feeling at the Update is Hambrick will still be seeking that lottery payday this time next season. Carolina is hardly the fishbowl Dallas has become over the years.

Perhaps the more shocking of the two releases this week was Kareem Larrimore, the cornerback selected in the 2000 draft. It is reported the second year player failed a drug test.

Dallas had fined Larrimore many times last year for his miscues off the field. Over sleeping seemed to be the biggest problem. But when interviewed about his constantly being in the doghouse, the player from West Texas A&M was philosophical about his troubles. He seemed to understand it was his fault.

This was not the first drug test Larrimore had failed. His first strike was during the Combine in February of 2000. Dallas appealed the test that was failed over a month ago. No word from the league had come down as yet on the appeal. This compromise would have required a 4 game suspension had the appeal been lost. It is suspected that Larrimore's behavior in this area continued even while under the appeal, thus prompting his release.
Dimitrius Underwood could be headed for the physically unable to perform list and be lost for the season. A relapse of his bi-polar illness has caused him to miss practices and the Redskin game.

Dallas can save the remainder of his salary, some $198,000 of cap space by not paying Underwood.

Jerry Jones has indicated that the team will continue to support Underwood.

In this era of the Cowboys where Jones is given little credit and much blame, the support of Underwood is a class move by a man that backs his huge heart with his pocketbook.

Bravo Jerry Jones.

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