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Carter Country
By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 26th, 2004
New Jets QB Quincy Carter hopes the Jets will be a springboard to reviving his NFL careeer. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
New Jets QB Quincy Carter hopes the Jets will be a springboard to reviving his NFL careeer. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets Head Coach Herman Edwards is a big fan of giving second chances. Edwards feels that if you don’t give someone a second chance, then you are not being fair. DT Josh Evans and recently signed G Pete Kendall are good examples. The Jets gave QB Quincy Carter a second chance when they signed him Tuesday to backup QB Chad Pennington. The move comes about three weeks after Carter was released by the Dallas Cowboys amid reports he was facing disciplinary action from the league for a failed drug test. The fourth year pro from Georgia was shocked by the sudden release.

I was very surprised,” Carter said at his introduction to the NY media. “But in this game we learn that surprises, there are a lot of them. I definitely got to move on from here. I'm looking forward to being a Jet and also helping this football team winning games however I can. I'm just so excited to have a job right now; I'm so excited for this organization to give me an opportunity to have a job.”

The signing of Carter gives the Jets a player with NFL experience ready to come in at any moment. The team quietly negotiated with Carter for several weeks and finally cam to terms this week. It’s really a no lose situation for Gang Green since he was signed for a NFL veteran minimum contract with no signing bonus. With an experienced veteran now on the bench behind Chad Pennington, Head Coach Herman Edwards is a happier man.

“He's going to help us in a lot of different ways,” the Head Coach said. “At this point, we're just fortunate enough to have him here. I look at it for us as when you can get a guy like this at this time of the year to help you with your depth at quarterback, it's going to help you in the long as a football team.”

One of the biggest questions on the offensive side of the ball during training camp has been the backup QB situation. Brooks Bollinger, Ricky Ray, and Chris Finlen had never thrown a pass in an NFL game. Jets General Manager Terry Bradway says Bollinger and Ray have bright futures are still in their plans. And in all fairness, they were given the opportunity to impress. However, Bollinger has struggled throughout training camp and Ray, while showing signs of promise, seems to be picking up the system slow.

One of the messages Edwards expresses to his players is the opportunity to compete for a starting role.

“Brooks and Ricky still have two more weeks,” said the Coach. “Quincy gets a chance, too. Everyone gets a chance if you're here. You get an opportunity. That's what we do, we provide guys opportunities. We've always done it that way here. I'll continue to do it that way.”

Carter now has the difficult task of learning his fourth offense in four seasons. His only experience with the WCO was when former Jets Coach Bruce Coslet was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator before Bill Parcells came to Dallas. Unfortunately for Carter, Coslet’s tenure only lasted a year and he was thrust into a different system. Edwards says it will take time for Carter to master the west coast offense.

“I think he can’t pick it all up in a month or two,” Edwards said. “But for the most part, he has a little bit of a background in it. The biggest part for him at this point is learning certain aspects of what we want him to do, just the beginning of it and saying this is what he can do.”

General Manager Terry Bradway praised Carter.

“He’s a tremendous athlete that can make things happen,” the GM said. “Quincy is a smart guy. He's played in different systems. He's picked them up. So from that standpoint, you know, we have no concerns about that. But just like any new system, you're not going to be able to get it all done in one week.”

After coming out of the University of Georgia after his junior year, Carter was selected in the second round by the Cowboys in the 2001 draft. Carter went into training camp competing with Tony Banks for the starting job. Midway through camp, Banks was released and Carter was named the starting QB. Carter struggled with thumb and hamstring injuries throughout the year but completed 90 of 176 passes for 1,072 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions in eight games.

The next season, Carter led Dallas to a 3-4 record before being replaced by rookie signal-caller Chad Hutchinson. During his time in the starting lineup, Carter completed 125 of 221 passes for 1,465 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Carter had a breakout season for the Dallas Cowboys last year, starting all 16 regular season games, throwing for 3,302 yards and 17 touchdowns, leading them to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Carter knows his role with the Jets is a backup and he is fine with that.

“When you have an organization that's going to tell you the truth and you know your role, and I definitely know my role here, we have a very good quarterback here in Chad Pennington, so I know my role,” Carter said. “When I come into a situation, everybody's telling me the truth, letting me know up front what's going to happen, I love to be in situations like that. So I can accept it.”

The Jets are familiar with Carter as they scouted and tried him out before the 2001 draft. Edwards talked about the difference in Carter from then to now.

“You are talking about a young guy coming out of college trying to play quarterback in the National Football League,” Edwards said. “He’s a very, very competitive individual. He’s a hardworking guy. He’s a player who wants to please the coach. He’s going to work to try and please. He’s going to do the things you asked him to do. That hasn’t changed. He’s obviously gained some confidence. He’s been a starter in the League. That’s something he brings to the table that he didn’t have when he first walked through the door as a young rookie.”

Despite Carter’s past transgressions the Coach has no off-the-field concerns about Carter. “I think Quincy is a fine young man,” said Edwards. “I judged him that way when he first came out of college. My opinion hasn't changed. It won't change. We had a lengthy conversation in my office. He knows how I feel about him, where he's at in his career, what we're going to try to do to help him in his career as a football player.”

Offensive Coordinator Paul Hackett is excited to have Carter in his offensive system.

“I think it’s transformed the position now because it’s given us young guys, rhythm guys that are kind of built for this rhythm that we do with Chad,” the OC said. “Then we’ve got this guy that has this marvelous talent that can do those things to a point and all sorts of other things as well. Is just opens up a whole horizon, a whole endless amount of possibilities. We’re going to go slow and we’re going to take it one step at a time. As I told him, ‘I hate to tell you this, but I hope you never play.’ If he has to, you guys have met him just for a little bit. We spent the time with him three years ago. This is a wonderful young guy. I’m really thrilled to have him here.”

Carter won’t play against the Giants on Friday so the earliest Jets fans will get to see him is next week against Philadelphia.

It took until nearly the end of training camp to find a QB with NFL experience but now that the Jets do have one, they can breathe a little easier if something does happen to Pennington and Carter has to come in. Keep in mind, if Carter does not work out or a more viable option at QB becomes available via the waiver wire, based on the contract Carter signed the Jets can release him without paying him a dime. The Jets though hope that Carter will take advantage of his second chance and flourish as the understudy to Pennington.