Backup Plan

Vinny makes a nice No. 2 to Quincy-- wait, reverse that

It amounts to dogma for Parcells, and that's fine. He likes to toss his guys into the fray and let them bloody each other until the alpha male is established. But if Testaverde looks better in the preseason, if they watch him throw pretty balls, as he's wont to do, and they watch Carter throw ugly ones, as he almost always does, does anyone think Testaverde can be the guy over an entire season? Because he's accurate, but he's not fast, and with an offensive line that's anything but certain, being able to run away ought to be a prerequisite. Plus, old people are fragile. Starting an old, slow guy might not be in their best interests. The whole idea makes me nervous.

The flip side is equally troubling. Because if Testaverde doesn't win the job immediately, and they go with Carter again, will the open competition leave Quincy as damaged goods? Will Carter be looking over his shoulder the whole time, worried that he could be replaced at any moment? It's no secret that Carter's confidence has ebbed now and again. At least last year, when they finally decided that Carter was it, you had a good feeling that Hutch didn't have the stuff Parcells was looking for and that Carter was relatively safe. But with Testaverde in camp, anything is possible. And so what if this move just ends up screwing with Carter's head?

"That's a fair question," Parcells said. "But I can't worry about things of that nature. I have to do things that I think will be good for the team. If paranoia sets in or insecurity sets in, that's the way it is. I can't worry about that. This is the NFL.

"It's just like when I'm golfing--I keep two drivers in my bag. I just like her to know if she acts up, I have this other one over here that I'll go to."

There's no easy answer, and I'm not sure one of them is a better option than the other. I'm not sure what I would do, but I am sure of this: I don't envy Parcells.

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