JUDGE: Griese should be the word

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Clark Judge

Shortly after Denver released , Dallas coach Bill Parcells went on record as saying he wasn't interested in the quarterback. OK, fine. It's a free country. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Only I don't get this one. Griese has the experience. He's won. He took his team to playoffs. He was chosen to the Pro Bowl. What he hasn't done is win appreciably more than he's lost, quarterback a playoff game (he missed the 2000 playoffs because of a shoulder injury) or convince the that he's better than . But let's be honest here: We're not talking about having him replace . These are the , for cripe's sake, a team that sank to 15-33 the past three years while running through seven different starting quarterbacks — including Ryan Leaf. So why not Griese? "Good question," said one NFL player personnel director. "It makes no sense. He would at least give them a chance."
No Comparison
Player Comp. Att. Yards TDs INTs QB Rating
Brian Griese 1,044 1,678 11,763 71 53 84.1
Quincy Carter 215 397 2,537 12 15 68.2
Chad Hutchinson 127 250 1,555 7 8 66.3
What he means is that he would give them more of a chance to win than the guys who currently serve as quarterbacks, and . Parcells said he's committed to both and has no interest in either Griese or because he has no interest in going 8-8. I guess someone forgot to tell him that the last time the Cowboys were 8-8 they went to the playoffs with Troy Aikman. "The problem," said one scout who knows Parcells, "is that Griese isn't Bill's kind of a quarterback. He wants someone who's mentally tough. This is a coach who can crush a quarterback; someone who will ride you at practice and during a game. So he likes tough guys. That's why he and (Phil) Simms got along so well. It was a love-hate relationship, but Bill always respected the guy because he was mentally tough." An NFC coach familiar with Parcells and Griese disagreed, saying it's not that Griese isn't a tough guy; he is. It's that he "overreacts," unable to accept criticism or responsibility for mistakes and unwilling to overlook errors or flaws in his teammates or coaches. I can't imagine that going over big with someone like Parcells. "There's almost an arrogant aggressiveness in his feeling toward his abilities and your abilities," the assistant said of Griese. "And when there's a crossover you can get problems. That's got to change. He has to be as willing to accept your faults as a coach is willing to accept his." OK, so he needs to straighten up. But Griese offers more ability than what the have at quarterback. According to a source close to Parcells, the head coach voiced concern about the quarterbacks he had the moment he took control of the club. Those who know him believed Parcells would wait until June 1 to make a change at the position, much as he did in 1998 when the New York picked up . But that hasn't happened, and, if you believe Parcells, it's not going to. Which is what I don't understand. Line up Griese, Hutchinson and Carter for your next football game, and tell me who you choose first. Yeah? Me, too, only Parcells isn't biting. Maybe money's part of this equation. The invested plenty in Carter and Hutchinson, and if they were serious about Griese as a starter they'd have to pay big bucks. Think about it: If you're negotiating a deal to be the next starting quarterback for America's Team and Jerry Jones, you don't exactly go for the no-frills fare. Griese's agent, Ralph Cindrich, acknowledged that he spoke to the at the March owners' meetings but that they seemed interested "in going with the young guys they had." Those young guys are a combined 8-16 as starters. Griese is 27-24. Someone tell me what I'm missing. The Denver experience probably figures in here, too. There are few coaches better suited to working with young quarterbacks than Denver's Mike Shanahan, yet two years after he designated Griese as his franchise quarterback he gave up on him. People would like to know why, and maybe Parcells has the answer. I don't know, I just look at the and have trouble taking them seriously as long as they operate without a quarterback or running back of consequence. There are plenty of coaches within the league who can't see them winning with Carter or Hutchinson. But let's forget about them for a moment. What about running back ? When Baltimore won Super Bowl XXXV with it had a hermetically sealed defense and . A year later, it was running back who pushed New England over the top. OK, so Tampa Bay's running game stunk a year ago, but it had quarterback playing the best football of his career down the stretch, throwing 20 touchdowns and four interceptions over his last nine starts — including Super Bowl XXXVII. Just curious, but can anyone out there see Hutchinson or Carter doing that? I can't. The two combined for 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions a year ago. Now, can anyone out there Griese doing it? He already has. He threw 19 touchdown passes and four interceptions in 2000, when he produced the NFL's second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio for any season and led the league with a gaudy 102.9 passer rating. So what's there for Dallas not to like? Griese's attitude? His three shoulder surgeries? Money? For the life of me, I don't understand why the aren't interested in someone who can make them better. "I have the same question," said one NFC coach. What I'd like is an answer. Senior writer Clark Judge covers the NFL for and can be reached at his e-mail address,
Tagged: Cowboys, Broncos, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Ravens, Troy Hambrick, Brian Griese, Peyton Manning, Antowain Smith, Jamal Lewis, Chad Hutchinson

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