Jones Expects Improvement

As stated here earlier, Quincy Carter will be the Cowboys starting quarterback in 2004. Owner Jerry Jones said recently that he has no interest in signing any of the veteran quarterbacks who might be available to compete for the starting job.

"From the standpoint of free agency, I don't see [us signing a veteran quarterback]," Jones said. "I'd never say never, but I don't see us going the route of the theoretical commitment that you would make to a veteran in terms of draft picks ... and also a pretty big financial commitment."

Moreover, Jones believes Carter can be the upgrade the Cowboys need at quarterback.

"It would not surprise me -- it wouldn't surprise me at all -- for Carter to show significant improvement," Jones said. "I can show you games he played as a rookie that were outstanding, as well as games last year. The issue here: Is that him? Or is he about to do what [the great ones] all do and ... bump it on up.

"Ask around this place right here and the weapon we had last year was Carter. They'll tell you, if anybody worried them on offense, it was Carter."

Jones says his team needs to establish a backup for Carter. He said Chad Hutchinson might prove to be that player, but he also sounded intrigued about possibly finding such a player in April's draft. The Cowboys have the 22nd selection in the first round.

Ole Miss' Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger of Miami (Ohio) are receiving plenty of attention as top 10 picks, and the bottom of the first round could have some franchise quarterbacks.

"We got a couple in this draft that are right up there in terms of [Troy] Aikman in terms of what these grades are going to be," Jones said.

Which is a big reason the Cowboys want to fill their running back needs in free agency and add a player like Northern Illinois' Michael Turner or Ohio State's Maurice Clarett in the second round.

The Cowboys also have holes to fill at defensive end, offensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver.

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