Dallas Cowboys hope to reverse preseason fortunes

Thursday, August 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Quincy Carter finds himself embroiled again in a simmering quarterback controversy as the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the Oakland Raiders in the preseason.

This time, however, he returns as the presumptive starter while 25-year-old rookie Chad Hutchinson waits in the wings.

``It's something you've got to be able to deal with anyway,'' Carter said between practices earlier this week. ``I don't mind being pushed anyway.''

Carter will likely play about a half and Hutchinson could play a quarter in the Friday night game at Texas Stadium in Irving.

While most incumbent starting quarterbacks get to coast through the preseason, the unproven second-year quarterback finds himself fending off a burgeoning challenge from Hutchinson.

Head coach Dave Campo has said Carter is the starter and Hutchinson is the backup.

``Carter's No. 1 no matter what happens Friday night,'' Campo said. ``We just want Quincy to get in some quality work.''

You can't blame Carter if he's still suspicious. He knows the other end of the situation.

Last season, Carter was mostly an unknown, but talented rookie quarterback who was the backup to veteran Tony Banks. Carter made an impressive debut in Dallas' preseason contest against the Raiders, but Campo insisted that Banks would remain the starter.

A week later, Banks was unexpectedly released and Carter was inserted into the starting lineup. Campo and owner Jerry Jones said at the time that they decided to change the offense to suit Carter's talents.

Carter went on to become an eight-game starter in an injury-plagued season, but showed considerable improvement near the end of the year.

``As a quarterback, you've got to be thick-skinned,'' Carter said. ``I've been proving people wrong all my life.''

Until training camp began nearly two weeks ago, Hutchinson hadn't played football since his sophomore season at Stanford in 1997.

He gave up football after two varsity seasons when the St. Louis Cardinals took him in the second round of the June 1998 draft. He spent most of his time in the minors and made only three appearances with the Cardinals last season.

But now Hutchinson has surpassed Anthony Wright, who started three games last season, and Clint Stoerner, who was a two-game starter in 2001, on the team's depth chart. He's even getting nearly the same amount of snaps as Carter.

Coaches have been impressed with Hutchinson's arm strength and composure, which probably isn't surprising for a guy who had a close-up view of the circus surrounding Mark McGwire when he was baseball's home run king.

``The biggest thing for me is to take care of business, but have fun while I'm doing it,'' Hutchinson said. ``There's a long road ahead for me getting prepared to be this team's quarterback.''

That might not be so bad for Carter.