Bill Parcells has made it perfectly clear that it would be wrong to pencil in Chad Hutchinson as the Cowboys' starting quarterback just because he got a $3.1 million bonus last season and finished 2002 as the starter.
Unlike Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who after the NFL Draft said Hutchinson was slightly ahead of Quincy Carter, Parcells said that it is not safe to say Hutchinson is going into training camp as a starter. "It's not safe to say anything around here right now. I mean that literally," Parcells said. "I'm going by what I see at every position. I'm going with the guy who can get the ball in the end zone. That's the way I judge them. If they can get it in there, I like them. If they can't, I don't." Parcells added that "If [Hutchinson] during the course of the preseason and training camp looks like he is the best guy, then he'll be the starter. If somebody else does, then he'll be the starter."
If nobody does then the Cowboys will look outside the organization and to the free agent market, where Ray Lucas is and where Brian Griese will be in June. The Cowboys, however, said they will not go outside until they get a good evaluation of the players they have on the team, meaning it may not be until training camp before the Cowboys decide to look elsewhere.
Hutchinson believes it's still his job but says he's prepared for anything and is ready to compete with Carter. "It's the way it goes. I don't really have a say about it," an upbeat-sounding Hutchinson said. "[Parcells] is a bottom-line guy, and I like it because whoever wins ball games and gets the ball in the end zone more, he is going to go with that guy." Carter really likes it. Before Parcells arrived in Dallas, Carter seemed destined to leave. He had been benched in favor of Hutchinson midway through the 2002 season, with a poor work ethic, poor mechanics and poor games given as reasons.
Carter, who believes departed offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet had a lot to do with problems last year, never thought his days in Dallas were done. "I didn't see any reasons why I wouldn't be here," Carter said. "I won games here. I never said anything publicly wrong. I took the heat when I had to. I shut my mouth and knew when to say what I had to say. In my world that I was in, I never thought I wouldn't be here because of the success I did have. I can't do anything about what anybody else thinks."