NFL

THE BLITZ: Carter doomed by losses, Jones

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 
Dallas owner Jerry Jones expected a lot from . Probably too much. That's why the quarterback had so little time to prove he was the man to fill 's cleats. Monday's decision to go with — a player who has yet to throw a regular season pass — and bench Carter can be viewed as an indictment of the quarterback's performance or another example of the impatient management style that is arguably Jones' greatest weakness. Both are valid. We start with Carter. Strong statistical evidence exists to support a change. There are 25 players in the league with a better quarterback rating than Carter's 72.3. The have averaged 13.4 points through their first seven games, a figure that can be topped — or in this case, bottomed — only by Cincinnati's 8.5 points. Keeping company with , and the rest of the isn't the way to earn respect and job security in the NFL. Carter threw four interceptions in Sunday's 9-6 overtime loss to Arizona. But Jones and coach Dave Campo stressed the decision was not based on that one game. It wasn't based on the previous five games. It was based on the 15 games Carter has started over the last two seasons. He was 6-9 in those games and deemed more erratic than the team could afford. "We were looking for and evaluating improvement," Campo said. "While there has been improvement, the bottom line is we didn't feel we were moving the ball consistently enough and we weren't scoring enough points. "We have seen over the course of games that Quincy is very capable of making the big play. At the same time, it's all about consistency. A pattern has developed where that wasn't the case." There had been internal discussions about whether or not Carter should keep his job even before Sunday's overtime loss to Arizona. Some within the organization argued that a change needed to be made sooner rather than later. Others lobbied to keep Carter as the starter until the bye week began on Nov. 4. That scenario would have given Carter two more starts to prove his worth and the coaching staff two weeks to prepare Hutchinson for his first start if Carter failed. In the end, this decision was driven by the belief inside the organization that the have better talent than their 3-4 record indicates. "This is about winning games now," Campo said. "We feel very strongly that the pieces are in place. "If we have a little more consistency, we'll win games. We're playing well enough to win in other areas." Jones is the one who gave his personnel department a mandate to find the best quarterback available in the 2001 draft after and . He's the one who became enamored with Carter after watching countless hours of videotape and meeting with the player. There are two principles of time at work here: normal time and Jerry time. In Jerry time, 15 games to determine if you have the quarterback of the future is the equivalent of other franchises investing two or three years into the process. Jones was hurt deeply by the season-opening loss to Houston and openly questioned why Carter didn't run more in that game. He was quiet for a week, then came out after a loss to Philadelphia and wondered if Carter had the credentials to one day lead the back to the Super Bowl. It was telling Monday that Jones said he thought Carter's best games came at the end of last season. "For me, I would have liked to have seen Quincy take advantage of his speed and his power," Jones said. "Make some more plays with his feet. I would have liked to have seen Quincy be more accurate. "This offense is quarterback friendly. You should be able to step out there and with limited protection and consistently go to receivers in the part of the field where the play was designed to go to." Carter didn't do that. The now turn to the quarterback offensive coordinator Bruce Coslett thought was best suited for this offense all along. That's not to say Coslett is the reason behind this move. The driving forces were Carter's inconsistency and Jones' impatience. "The bottom line is we're not moving the football," Jones said. "I felt like we ought to be able to move the ball and score more points than we are right now. "We saw New England win a Super Bowl last season with a second-year quarterback. Those are the standards I'm looking at whether it's fair or unfair."

Zero tolerance

Six with picks
QBTeamTdsIntRecord
Cincinnati170-6
Minnesota7121-5
Seattle451-5
Detroit562-4
Cleveland563-4
N.Y. 583-3
Jones isn't alone in this view of the position. A premium has always been placed on protecting the football. But after the ' unexpected rise with , coaches around the league have become even less tolerant of mistakes. Remember when quarterbacks were asked to go out and win games? Now, many of them are simply asked not to lose. Carter's demotion in Dallas and getting the hook from Steve Spurrier at Washington leaves the league with just six starting quarterbacks who have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. None of those teams has a winning record. Some of these players might want to start looking over their shoulder pads.

Secondary concerns

With two quality, cornerbacks out, another beat up and a starting safety limping around the complex with a quad strain, Oakland is trolling the free agent wire to add a healthy body or two in the secondary. "There's no question about that," coach Bill Callahan said. "We're going to have to bring somebody in." The are in bad shape. Rookie cornerback had a pin inserted into his broken left wrist and will be out at least eight weeks. The were debating Monday whether to keep him on the active roster or put him on injured reserve, ending his season. Pro Bowl cornerback has missed the last four games with a cracked bone in his left shoulder. He's listed as day-to-day, but privately the are concerned he could be out another week. Backup corner was X-rayed for broken ribs (negative) after the loss to San Diego and remains sore. Starting free safety declared he will play Sunday against Kansas City, but he's slowed with a quad strain. Oakland was so thin in the secondary that if the had put four wide receivers on the field, the didn't have enough bodies to use their dime package. They would have had to stay in the nickel and gone with one less defender in the secondary. What can Oakland do this week against the ? "I'm trying to figure this one out myself," said. "I don't know what they're going to do upstairs. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens." Oakland has discussed bringing back , who wasn't claimed on waivers after he was released by the club earlier this year. The might even try to lure out of retirement. Allen played for Oakland the last four years before retiring. When asked if he ever filed his retirement papers with the league office, Callahan joked that was being investigated as he spoke. Could Allen come back? "Is that a possibility?" Callahan said. "Everything is a possibility right now."

Fourth and short

  • The have suffered a huge hit on special teams as well. Buchanon was the team's punt returner. , who returned kickoffs, broke his fibula and tibia and will be out for the season. The club placed him on injured reserve Monday and called up running back Madre Hill from the practice squad. Hill, along with receivers and will be considered to take Kirby's place. and have been mentioned for punt returns, although Callahan is reluctant to use them in more than a fair catch capacity. The team is also considering activating another player from the practice squad (Ronald Curry) to throw into the return mix. "We're going to work those people into those roles as soon as we can," Callahan said.
  • Think San Francisco misses safety ? Opponents have converted 20 of their 29 third-down attempts over the last two games since he's been out with a broken foot. New Orleans stung the for 157 yards on third down in its come-from-behind victory Sunday.
  • Detroit general manager Matt Millen has never revealed the player he called "a devout coward" in a radio show last week, but there's a strong sense among those in the building that he was referring to receiver Scotty Anderson. If that's true, it's interesting to note that Anderson caught three passes for 34 yards in the final drive of regulation that put the in position to send the game into overtime.

    The final word ...

    ... comes from San Diego quarterback , who was hit on the head with a water bottle thrown by an Oakland fan as the team celebrated its game-winning touchdown in the end zone. "It might have been the hardest hit I had all day." David Moore can be reached at his e-mail address, dmoore@foxsports.com.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Lions, Raiders, Patriots, 49ers, Chargers, Michael Vick, Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, Charles Woodson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phillip Buchanon, Chad Hutchinson

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