Questions abound about Carter

The Dallas Cowboys-New York Jets quarterback soap opera continues.<p>

The Jets released quarterback Vinny Testaverde on July 1st because he refused a demotion to third-string quarterback behind Brooks Bollinger. So Testaverde moved on to Dallas where he emerged as the starter this summer, and the Cowboys released last year's starter Quincy Carter.

Now Carter is with the Jets and will likely emerge as the #2 quarterback ahead of Bollinger. So let's get this straight. The Jets thought Bollinger was better than Testaverde. The Cowboys think Testaverde is better than Carter. Now the Jets think Carter is better than Bollinger. Go figure.

Jets coach Herman Edwards said on Tuesday that the signing of Carter was not a reflection on how Bollinger and former CFL star Ricky Ray played this summer. Okay. Jets GM Terry Bradway said the Jets were talking to Carter's camp since his release in Dallas on August 4. That seems unfair. Camp just opened and they were already looking to replace Bollinger as the #2 quarterback? At least give the guy a little time.

The signing of Carter doesn't make sense in a few regards.

Let's dismiss this notion once and for all that Carter had a great year last year.

"I think what he did in Dallas last year was special, taking the team to the playoffs and winning 10 games," said Bradway.

Special? He had a 71 quarterback rating, which is poor. Carter didn't lead the Cowboys to the playoffs, they made the second season despite him. He was terrible down the stretch and even worse in the playoff loss to Carolina. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells put in a simple offense and just told Carter not to make too many mistakes. He ended up making too many mistakes, throwing 21 interceptions.

Two of the most important characteristics of a West Coast offense quarterback are accuracy and decision-making, and Carter gets poor grades in both departments.

Carter talked today about how he has some experience in the West Coast offense under former Dallas coordinator Bruce Coslet in 2002. What he understandably didn't bring up is that Coslet, and then-Cowboys coach Dave Campo, benched him midway through that season because of how poorly he played.

Bollinger and Ray are clearly better fits for the West Coast offense. True neither has looked great this summer, but they haven't exactly been given great protection. For the second summer in a row, Bollinger took an awful beating thanks to the Jets suspect backup offensive line. Bollinger hurt his knee in the New Orleans game when he was hit by two Saints linemen simultaneously. He actually completed the pass for 29 yards to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He showed a lot of courage finishing the drive with the knee injury. Ray took a beating against the Indianapolis Colts in the Jets second preseason game mainly because his left tackle, Adrian Jones, is extremely raw and not even close to being ready to start.

Bollinger and Ray have clearly been dealt a bad hand this summer, but both have shown flashes nonetheless.

And then there are the off-the-field issues. Carter has failed two drug NFL drug tests.

"I think Quincy is a fine young man," said Edwards.

Carter does seem like "a fine young man," when you meet him, but he does have a drug problem. The addition of Carter now gives the Jets four two-time offenders of the NFL's substance policy (Carter, John Abraham, Josh Evans and Jason Ferguson).

Bradway claims the team did an extensive check into Carter's background.

"Similar to what happened to Pete Kendall in Arizona," said Bradway. "Any time [a player is released], we're going to do our homework, research it, and see if the fit is right for us. In this case, it was."

That remains to be seen, and that analogy is quite an insult to Kendall. Being a clubhouse lawyer is a little different than having a drug problem.

This move might work out in time, but to expect Carter to be their immediate answer at #2 quarterback is far-fetched.


Rookie free agent cornerback Rod Bryant had another terrific practice on Tuesday and looks like a lock to make the team. He had three defensed passes and an interception . . .

Don't expect Quincy Carter to make his Jets debut this week.

"Playing him this week is a strain, but next week is more realistic," said Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett . . .

In the afternoon practice, in the battle for perhaps the #3 quarterback job, Ray looked a lot better than Bollinger. He had a nice connection down the middle of the field to tight end Mike Ricks. Bollinger is clearly effected by the bulky knee brace he is wearing to support the injury he suffered against the Saints . . .

Offensive lineman Brent Smith was held out of practice for the second day in a row with a torn pectoral muscle. His arm is heavily wrapped. We hear Smith is on the bubble, but if the Jets release him, they will probably have to claim an offensive tackle on the last cut. Jones and fellow rookie Marko Cavka clearly aren't ready to start this year if either starting offensive tackle goes down . . .

It looks like no matter how much Dewayne Robertson struggles, he will keep starting at the three-technique defensive tackle job.

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