The Hutchinson Factor

When the Dallas Cowboys signed Chad Hutchinson to a 7-year contract back on January 26th, the Quincy Carter bandwagon looked like it might be coming to a crashing halt. 5 months later, the quarterback situation in Dallas has certainly become much more clear.

After a year filled with question marks at the quarterback position in 2001, the Dallas Cowboys figured it was time for a little insurance.

It came in form of former Standford quarterback, and St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Chad Hutchinson.

Hutchinson started 23 games for Stanford back in 1996 and '97. He completed just over 60% of his passes for 4,235 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also was voted the MVP in the 1996 Sun Bowl game.

However, after two years of playing football on the west coast, Hutchinson decided it was time to take his baseball career a little more seriously. He left Stanford after two seasons to sign with Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals.

Chad bounced around the minor leagues for a few years, achieving modest results. He consistently got his fastball over the plate at over 98 mph, and most scouts saw him at least as a #2 starter in the big leagues.

But after posting a 24.75 ERA in three appearances for the Cardinals last season, he decided that it might be a good time to make the transition back to the gridiron.

"Baseball was something I really enjoyed, but I really wanted to explore my passion for football," Hutchinson said. "It's always been in the back of my mind."

After talks with several teams early this year, including Washington and Chicago, Hutchinson decided on the Dallas Cowboys. "The Cowboys were at the top of my list all along," said the former PAC 10 star.

But once the dust settled from signing another quarterback to a long term deal, questions quickly arose about who the Cowboys' number one starter really would be this season.

After all, it's not everyday you sign a backup quarterback to a seven year deal.

"I talked to Quincy, and I told him that he's our guy," Dave Campo said before the start of the first QB School. "The guys we get to compete at every position, the better off we're going to be. But Quincy is the starting quarterback. There's no doubt in my mind about that."

Jerry Jones certainly agrees, "I don't think it's going to be an immediate competition, because we feel like Chad will need maybe two seasons to get back to where he was," Jones said.

The thing is, Hutchinson may have gotten off to a bit of a slow start this offseason, but his physical skills alone, have set him apart from everyone else.

You see, he stands 6-feet, 5-inches tall and has an absolute cannon for an arm. Those attributes alone allow him to make plays that shorter, weaker armed quarterbacks can't.

"He's been a little rusty, but he's picking things up very well mentally," Campo said. "He has the talent and the type of ability to win the job. We don't want to waste a year with him not being on the second team because he hasn't played."

"On certain plays, I feel great," Hutchinson said. "Other plays, I feel like I've never played football before, but its better than those long bus rides in the minor leagues."

Obviously, this hasn't developed into a full-blown quarterback controversy between Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson just yet. Carter's work ethic and experience in the NFL give him the unquestionable edge this year.

And barring a complete collapse, he may just have it for the years to come.

But don't count out Chad Hutchinson just yet. We'll likely know much more about the young gun-slinger once training camp gets underway and the pads go on. Stay tuned.

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