Pretty Please, Find Me A QB

Wilson, too, another former backup quarterback to become the team's quarterbacks coach.

Told you the Cowboys couldn't throw enough resources at that position.

Plus, when you think about this quarterback position, as delicate as it usually is, the percentages just might start catching up with the Cowboys. Over the last five seasons (2002-06), the Cowboys have lost only one quarterback start to injury, and even at that, Vinny Testaverde returned to play the second half of the game Drew Henson started on Thanksgiving Day.

The norm? Hardly. Consider the four seasons before that (1998-01), when the Cowboys lost 17 quarterback starts to injury.

Just think, the Eagles last year without Jeff Garcia don't win the NFC East. Kansas City without Damon Huard doesn't keep its head above water (5-3) during the eight games starter Trent Green misses. Same for Seattle, going 2-2 with Seneca Wallace filling in for the injured Matt Hasselbeck.

Or for that matter, look no further than what happened to Tampa Bay once Chris Simms went down for the season in Game 3 with a ruptured spleen. The Bucs had to play the rest of the season with rookie Bruce Gradkowski starting and Tim Rattay coming in at times in relief.

In all, 12 teams last year (37 percent) had to turn to their backup quarterbacks to start at least one game because of injury to their starters. The total number of games those backups started for injury reasons came to 79.

The Cowboys, they might be living on borrowed time.

So then, you ask, who might be available in free agency? Glad you asked, and we'll concentrate on unrestricted free agents, figuring if the Cowboys didn't even spend a draft choice on their starting quarterback, they sure aren't going to give up a first or second for a restricted guy to be their backup.

Top names on the list of unrestricted free agents as of Thursday afternoon would be: Garcia, Huard, Vinny Testaverde, Kerry Collins and Anthony Wright.

Sorry, that's the best I can do at the moment. Not sure the likes of Aaron Brooks, Todd Bouman, Shane Matthews, Koy Detmer or Marques Tuiasosopo would do much more for ya.

Now it's really hard to imagine the Eagles will let Garcia walk onto another team, though they might give him a chance to cast for a potential starting job. I mean, they have no guarantees Donovan McNabb will be ready to start the season.

Nor would it seem probable Kansas City would let Huard just up and leave, unless they think Casey Printers is ready for a backup role.

To me, the best fit here with the Cowboys would be Collins, but the Cowboys might run into the same roadblock with the 12-year veteran they did in 2004 when he drew their interest: Collins still has designs on procuring a starting job.

Remember, that's what he held out for last year, finally signing with Tennessee, but only to be ousted from that starting job in the fourth week when the Titans decided it was time for first-round draft choice Vince Young to take over, which he did that week against the Cowboys.

That's what Collins did in 2004, too, signing a deal in May with Oakland after Norv Turner was named the team's new head coach. Collins started 28 games over his two-year stay with the Raiders.

The Cowboys were interested in signing Collins as their experienced backup to Quincy Carter that season, but they were hesitant after finding out Collins not only was still looking for a starting job, but also wanted to be paid as a potential starter. The Cowboys were still committed to Carter, and ended up signing Testaverde once the Jets released him after June 1. As it turned out, Collins would have been a starter in Dallas since the Cowboys ended up releasing Carter a week into training camp.

Unfortunately, though, if they still feel the same about Collins, his tune hasn't changed, telling the papers covering the Titans at the end of the season, "If there's a starting job out there for me, I'm going to take it." And evidently that's what he will be searching for before he decides between returning to Tennessee as Young's backup and moving on to another backup job.

What to do, what to do?

But this quarterback search doesn't end with finding a backup. Depending

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