Inexperienced quarterback coming off a bad game facing a pressure-oriented defense with six sacks the week before. Sounds like a defensive coordinator's dream.
But according to Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, don't expect them to turn up the heat on Dallas' Quincy Carter this Sunday simply because of his inexperience.
Yes, the Titans will throw some wrinkles at the second-year Cowboys quarterback and try to pressure him into making rapid-fire decisions, but according to Schwartz, changing the type of pressure applied or how much won't necessarily come into play just for Carter's sake.
"I think you've got to stick with what you do. If you try to do too much, then you end up making mistakes," Schwartz said. "Then, the young guy gets some confidence and capitalizes on some of your mistakes. I don't think you necessarily change what you do based on having an inexperienced quarterback vs. an experienced quarterback.
"There's different things you'll do, not scheme-wise, but disguise-wise that you'll try to take advantage of. But you've got to have a personality on defense where you're doing what you do and not so much tailored toward a specific opponent."
Titans head coach Jeff Fisher echoed that, saying the entire Cowboy offense and its tendencies are what the game plan will be comprised of, not solely Carter.
"What we decide to do on defense is solely based on what they do offensively," Fisher said. "It has nothing to do with the quarterback. It has to do with the system, the protection, the run game, with their formations and their personnel groupings."
Having the inexperienced Carter at quarterback won't dictate how the Titans approach Sunday's game, but it will have some bearing, says Schwartz.
"It always affects what you do, but it doesn't dictate," he said. "I think if you let it dictate, then you're behind the eight-ball. I think you want to do the dictating on defense and not let the opponent affect your play. I think it's more important what you do, not what the opponent does."
Still, the temptation to throw the kitchen sink at a youngster like Carter is a viable option, and the key to throwing an inexperienced signal-caller off his game is to take him out of whatever comfort zone he might have.
"I think you try and throw as much at them as you can and try and make them read everything, as opposed to just sitting back there and him being able to pick one or two things out right off the bat," safety Lance Schulters said. "When they're young, you try to throw everything at them and make them read each progression."
Cornerback Samari Rolle agreed and said it is imperative that the Titans make a young QB like Carter look beyond his first read in the receiver routes.
"You've just got to be sound and take away his first option," Rolle said.
Carter has had an up-and-down 10-game career as the Cowboys' starter, but Sunday night's 19-10 loss to the expansion Houston Texans might have been rock bottom. He completed just 13 of 30 passes for 131 yards and one interception. He was sacked three times by the Texans and had a passer rating of just 42.5.
Still, Cowboys coach Dave Campo is standing by his man for now.
"I think Quincy's fine. After looking at the tape - and I think that's what you have to be careful not to do, the knee jerk after the first day - you have all kinds of different feelings," Campo said. "But after watching the tape, there were a number of positive things that he did.
Titans veteran quarterback Neil O'Donnell said young quarterbacks can usually expect the toughest defensive calls to come on third down.
"You usually see those on third down," O'Donnell said. "That's when the defensive coordinators usually try to confuse young quarterbacks in those situations, because there are so many ways of attacking, with three down linemen, four down linemen. There's a lot of different ways of doing it. Defenses sit around thinking of ways to confuse you."
The stats from the Cowboys' Sunday night loss certainly bear that out as Carter and Cowboys converted just 2 of 13 third-down situations. Likewise, Houston rookie David Carr, making his first pro start, was just 2 of 15 on third down.
Cowboys' QB won't dictate changes
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