Matt Mosley: McNabb steering Carter on course 04:23 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter made a public appearance Tuesday afternoon at Plano's Gulledge Elementary School. He then agreed to talk to reporters on the following condition: They couldn't ask anything about football. This qualifies as something you'd like to know before driving out to Far North Plano. Sure, you appreciate the fact Carter would take time out of his schedule to read to kids, but the Little Golden Book angle wasn't what the boss was looking for. Fortunately, Carter brought along a good buddy named Donovan McNabb. He was more than happy to talk football. After Carter was drafted three years ago, he immediately called McNabb, who had already become a star in Philadelphia. The two quarterbacks eventually met through their moms, who both belonged to an NFL mom's association. Carter said Tuesday that the best advice he got from McNabb was that you "can't worry about anything people are saying." McNabb learned that lesson early in his NFL career. His selection by the Eagles angered the city's passionate fans. And even after he'd led his team to the brink of the Super Bowl two straight seasons, it wasn't enough to insulate him from criticism. When the Eagles began last season 2-3, critics seemed to place the blame squarely upon McNabb. He'd suddenly lost his ability to hit moving targets. McNabb answered his critics once again by taking his team to its third consecutive NFC title game. He thinks Carter has too many critics. And he's not just talking about Cowboys fans. "Last year, he had a great year and led his team to 10-6 and into the playoffs," McNabb said. "No one has done that since Troy Aikman. And yet they're still trying to bring someone in. It's sad that a guy still has to prove himself every year." With Bill Parcells in town, that won't change. The biggest difference between Parcells and the previous coaching staff is that Parcells' only agenda is winning. The former coaching staff – namely offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet – didn't have any faith in Carter. And once the staff got him out of the lineup, Carter withdrew from his teammates and coaches. Want to know how far Chad Hutchinson has fallen in the eyes of this coaching staff? Just look at Carter during the second half of 2002. The Cowboys have brought in yet another failed baseball player to compete for the starting job. Some feared the addition of Drew Henson would hurt Carter's confidence and McNabb even called the move "a slap in the face." But Parcells has never minded stepping on toes. He hopes Carter will improve on last season's performance. But he has to have a contingency plan in place in case that doesn't happen. Parcells gambled last season by entering the season with Hutchinson as the No. 2 guy. But he's not likely to take the same chance this season. McNabb said Tuesday that he and Carter would work out together in Arizona this summer as long as Parcells would let Carter off his "leash." "Donovan's the epitome of what you want to be as a quarterback in the NFL," said Carter, briefly forgetting his no-football talk edict. "It doesn't surprise me when I see [Falcons quarterback] Michael Vick jerseys in Irving or Donovan jerseys. I'm going to get to that point where everyone will have mine. That's where I want to be."