Cowboys Starting Over At QB with Rookie Hutchinson
Oct. 22, 2002
IRVING, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys are giving another rookie the chanceto be their starting quarterback.
Unhappy with their inconsistent offense in 15 games with Quincy Carter asthe starter, the Cowboys on Monday replaced the second-year quarterback with25-year-old Chad Hutchinson, who has never played in an NFL regular seasongame.
'It is a very important part of our building plan to do what it takes todevelop a quarterback,' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. 'This decision ispart of that process. We gave Quincy a great opportunity.'
Hutchinson, whose last regular-season game was in 1997 as a sophomore atStanford, makes his debut Sunday when the Cowboys (3-4) play at home againstSeattle. In the game, Emmitt Smith is seeking the 93 yards he needs tobecome the NFL's career rushing leader.
Carter was 6-9 as the Dallas starter, a job he assumed in training camp lastyear when the Cowboys unexpectedly cut veteran Tony Banks and thrust theirsecond-round draft pick into the high-profile spot.
Even after the Cowboys won a bidding war with a handful of other teams lastwinter to acquire Hutchinson, who had played four seasons of professionalbaseball, they stuck with Carter.
But Carter's trial period ended after Sunday's game, when he threw acareer-high four interceptions - two in the end zone - in the Cowboys' 9-6overtime loss at Arizona.
While his performance in that game was a factor, coach Dave Campo, offensivecoordinator Bruce Coslet and Jones said the bigger problem was that theoffense simply wasn't producing.
'We're not scoring touchdowns. That's the key. The offensive productionisn't acceptable,' Coslet said.
Campo and Coslet said the switch was a consensus decision by the coachingstaff and other team personnel. They said it was not a knee-jerk reaction.
'This decision did not come from one game or five games, it came from a15-game evaluation,' Campo said. 'While there has been improvement, we don'tfeel at this particular time that we are moving the ball consistently enoughor scoring enough points.
'It comes down to a basic football decision.'
Dallas is 21st in the NFL with 311 total yards per game. But the Cowboys aresecond-to-last in the league with 13.4 points per game, with a season-highof 21 points and no more than two offensive touchdowns in a game.
Campo said the Cowboys will be patient with Hutchinson, and give him a fairopportunity to prove himself. He said there are no plans to changequarterbacks on a weekly basis.
Making the switch at midseason also gives the Cowboys an opportunity to geta thorough evaluation of Hutchinson, and determine if he can be thequarterback of the future.
'Everybody is speculating how Chad will do. I don't know,' Coslet said. 'Weneed to find out. That's the key. But we weren't getting it done the way itwas going.'
Hutchinson returned to football after briefly pitching in the majors earlyin the 2001 season for the St. Louis Cardinals and then having a poor yearat Triple-A. The Cowboys gave him a $3.1 million signing bonus that'sslightly less than Carter's overall five-year contract.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Hutchinson, who played just 23 games at Stanfordbefore going into pro baseball, was 16-of-27 for 154 yards with aninterception and no touchdowns in three preseason games for the Cowboys.
In his seven starts, Carter was 125-of-221 (57 percent) for 1,465 yards withseven TDs and eight interceptions. As a rookie last year, he was 90-of-176(51 percent) for 1,072 yards with five TDs and seven interceptions in eightgames.
Hutchinson and Carter had left the team facility before the quarterbackswitch was announced and weren't available for comment. They aren't requiredback until practice Wednesday.
When asked earlier Monday if he felt he was competing to keep his job,Carter said he was still gaining experience and was 'prepared for anything.'But he insisted that he hadn't lost confidence in himself.
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer