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Could Dak Prescott’s Development Cost Another QB a Roster Spot?

Jess Haynie

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Jerry Jones: Carrying 3 QBs "Very Likely" On 53-Man Roster
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys decide their 53-man roster this year, some cuts will be very tough. Right now we assume the team will keep three quarterbacks, but could the growth of starter Dak Prescott lead to one of their other prospects losing his spot?

With Prescott's starting job not being threatened, the need to keep three quarterbacks on the roster is up for debate. Cooper Rush and rookie Mike White are both intriguing, but are they both worth keeping if it means losing talent at another position?

If Dak has a great camp and preseason, that debate heats up even more. Not only are you increasingly confident in your young starter, but so far he's shown himself to be very durable. You'd essentially be stashing that third QB for security only, with little chance of getting anything from him during the season.

The Cowboys have often gone with just two quarterbacks during the Tony Romo era. It was usually Romo, the clear starter, and then a veteran backup such as Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, or Kyle Orton.

Neither Rush or White are experienced vets, of course. That may be good enough reason to keep both.

Mike White

Dallas Cowboys QB Mike White

Even by drafting White this year, considering Rush was already here, Dallas seems to have shifted philosophies about their QB depth. It appears they want to move to having more of a pipeline of talent at the position, similar to what we've seen from the New England Patriots.

But even if that's their intention, tough decisions still lie ahead. They will still have to look at Rush or White, and the prospect of that guy spending all season in street clothes, compared to cutting someone else who might be more useful in 2018.

When that time comes, will the front office stick to their new mentality or get pushed back into old habit?

If that happens, things get sticky for Cooper Rush. Even with the extra season under his belt, he doesn't have a four-year rookie contract like Mike White. He also wasn't a draft pick like White, who Dallas took in the fifth round this year.

This question could come up even without a big surge from Dak Prescott. It may come down to pure roster math and value across all positions.

But if Dak has a strong August, leaving no doubt as to his readiness for 2018 and beyond, then the Cowboys might start rethinking how much QB talent they need on the roster.

It's just another of the many hypotheticals to play with as we move closer to final cuts.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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14 Comments
  • John McClain

    It’s not about what Dak does it’s all about what Cooper Rush shows in camp and the preseason games. If Rush shows the potential that he showed last year worst case scenario is trading him for future draft picks

    • Jess Haynie

      I agree that he could be trade bait with another great preseason. But whether he gets traded or released, it still goes back to the Cowboys only wanting to keep two QBs on the roster. That was the point.

  • RE2

    @Jess Haynie, this has got to be the most ignorant premise & title for an article that I’ve ever read. Let’s state this in a different way to show how silly the title of your article really sounds.

    Could the development of your starting quarterback (Dak Prescott) who won Rookie of the Year, who posted career numbers and wins in his first season similar to Tony Romo’s best season ever cost an undrafted free agent and a low round draft pick a roster spot because last year his coaches asked him to force the ball to their alleged number one wide receiver who had problems getting open, couldn’t establish separation, and couldn’t run routes?

    Between The star, The Landry Hat, and The Dallas Morning News, you people write some of the most ignorant articles I’ve ever read. I’d love to read other pundits however unfortunately we’re stuck with you guys if we want local information about the Dallas Cowboys which is just flat out sad.

    • Jess Haynie

      So other than that, what did you think of the article?

      I just want to make sure I understand you. It’s entirely ridiculous, or ignorant, to wonder if a team which has shown a propensity for only keeping two quarterbacks on its roster might do so again?

      It seems that you’ve misinterpreted what I wrote as a backhanded slam against Dak Prescott. That was not the intent at all. I’m a firm believer in Dak as the QB of the future.

      This was only to look at roster math and what the team might do if presented with similar circumstances to what they’ve had in the past.

  • Melvin S Edgmand

    there not trading cooper rush the pats wanted him bad and jerry shut that off quick. cooper rush over the last three practices has taken a lot of first team snaps I know I am here right now. I see it. you all can fool yourselves into believing dak is going to do well. yesterday 7 straight incompletions. not the recievers fault bs, daks fault. while rush is killing it. he was the best qb in preseason in the nfl last year. and he will do it again. when does he get a shot when the seasons gone when these writer keep blaming the recievers which is bull they lie its 100% dak. its way different being here then listening to the bs they put on nfl network thee isn’t nothing wrong with these recievers. iam a huge cowboy fan been here from the beginning. no way we see a playoff ever. with dak as quarterback..

    • Jess Haynie

      But…. we’ve already seen a playoff with Dak as the QB.

      Thanks for all of your clearly unbiased and objective analysis.

      • Melvin S Edgmand

        no we seen one with zeke dak just happen to be on the team what about the 7 plus games last year under 200 yds passing your argument holds no water you can ride that band wagon til the tires fall off dak will be siiting the pines by week 4

        • kabob

          So your solution is to start a less athletic, less mobile, weaker-armed UDFA in place of the QB that won 22 games as a starter in two season despite serious struggles last year? You think Cooper Rush is a unique talent amongst NFL QBs? You’re looking at a right-handed Kellen Moore here. He has yet to prove himself among 1st-string talent and those lollipop rainbows he throws in practice (yes, we’ve all been watching) don’t cut it come game time.

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            just your first sentence told me you no little about football and to walk away this is me walking

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            oh fuck it ok dumb ass you need to know football. cooper is way faster smarter stronger throws the fall farther then Dak ever dreamed of he is 6 ft 5 235 how the fuck is heslower your just fucking idiot jesus I mean stupid do you even k own who cooper rush is wow read a stat watch a game you make no sense what a joke

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            sorry Iwas gone they way you described cooper rush made me laugh so hard I had to tweet it and send it to my friends your to funny

          • kabob

            Go ahead and walk away, Melvin. The game tape proves who’s the better QB.

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            your arguing just to have conflict. you’ve commented 289 times on this site. oh didnt know they kept count.they do if you were smart you’d learn how and erase them. your a pathetic troll who basically insults everyone comments that dont align with yours. problem is your not football smart. I see it a lot in your crowd. your a beer swilling douchebag probably from the fucked up state of texas that goes around jerking off to anything cowboys. your football knowledge comes from your fading memories of being a second string jr varsity back up tight end or some shit who peaked in 7th grade so this will be my last comment on this matter for you. so now you have all the time in the world for that cowboys circle jerk and bbq you have coming up next weekend. your pathetic

          • kabob

            Get back on your meds, Melvin. I didn’t even read that delusional rant. Come back at us with some facts and maybe learn some grammar, vocabulary and syntax while you’re at it.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

The Dallas Cowboys are not only breathing in playoff contention, but they're now the favorites to crown themselves as the NFC East champions in 2018. It's pretty impressive how the tables can turn so quickly in the NFL. Dallas played very well against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday and we learned quite a bit from them as they bounced back to .500. Here's this week's Takeaway Tuesday! Enjoy it as much as you did Brett Maher's game winning field goal a couple of days ago.

Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

Despite taking steps in the right direction, it's impossible to compare this offense to units like the Chiefs, Saints and Rams. However, it's the Cowboys' defense that could be labeled as a championship unit. Facing an offense with such a strong WR core, allowing only one touchdown on the road is impressive.

The Cowboys sacked Matt Ryan three times and were constantly causing pressures. Byron Jones was great once again, allowing only two catches in passes thrown in his direction. And of course, the kid who's been impressing us all, Leighton Vander Esch continued to play out of his mind. He should be the Defensive Rookie of the Year front runner at this point.

The Cowboys' defense is one of the best in the NFL right now, and any offense will have a tough time facing them. It'll be intriguing to see if they can take the next step and stop a high-powered unit like the Saints in a few days.

Offensive Line Woes Are Gone

The offense has improved a lot the last couple of games. Although there is still a lot to work on, they're not struggling as they were in the first half of the season. The offensive line is a huge part of this. With Marc Colombo at OL coach, things have looked very different in Dallas.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott: "I feel great. I feel fast. I feel physical. I feel very comfortable with the running schemes. We just got to keep rolling. That's what's important. We just got to keep rolling.

Ezekiel Elliott has been on a roll the past two weeks and his comments regarding how he feels about the running schemes shouldn't go unnoticed. The offensive line wasn't playing as well as they are right now earlier in the year. Dak Prescott is noticeably more comfortable in the pocket.

It's intriguing to know what will happen at left guard for the Cowboys. With Connor Williams injured, Xavier Su'a-Filo has done a good job filling in for him. Williams has the upside, but should Dallas mess up the mojo this OL has lately?

Dak Prescott Continues To Be Money In Clutch Si

Dak Prescott: Clutch QB

Dak Prescott continues to be criticized by fans while he keeps proving us why it's not that easy to move on from him. The guy is far from the perfect passer, yet he's been clutch time and time again. This time he did so on the road on an impressive two minute drill.

With 1:46 on the clock, Prescott marched his team down to the Falcons' 24 yard line. He managed to give his team another game winning drive in consecutive weeks. The Cowboys' young quarterback needed a confidence boost and this is perfect for him. He needs to keep it up if the team is going to finish the season as the NFC East champions.

Since entering the NFL, Dak has 12 game winning drives. As frustrating as his play is at times, he will not be easy to replace if the Cowboys decide to move on from this guy down the road. Hopefully, they don't have to. I, for one, believe Dak can be way better with a proper coaching staff. But that's a discussion for another day.

Now, it's time to celebrate the Cowboys' victory and get ready for a short week as the Cowboys play the Washington Redskins on Thursday.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Player News

Geoff Swaim Needs Surgery, Should the Cowboys even use a Tight End?

John Williams

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Cowboys TE Geoff Swaim Quietly Exceeding Expectations? 1

Well, the injury woes continue to mount for the Dallas Cowboys with news coming down this evening that Tight End Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist in the 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The injury will need surgery which will mean Swaim will be out a while, if not for the rest of the season.

David Helman on Twitter

Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist yesterday and is going to need surgery. Sounds like it might not be season-ending, but he won't be available Thursday #cowboyswire

In previous seasons this wouldn't be much of a blow to the offense, but Geoff Swaim has been the only tight end that the Cowboys have ben able to rely on this season. Dalton Schultz is a rookie, Blake Jarwin's been inconsistent, and Rico Gathers still isn't fully trusted. With the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan's insistence on using a tight end, it seems there's a huge hole at the position heading into Sunday's first place showdown with the Washington Redskins.

But in reality, is there?

For weeks, I've been screaming for this team to use more 10 personnel (one running back and zero tight ends) as its primary passing formation because it gets their best pass catching weapons on the field at the same time. Swaim has been solid and consistent in his first year as a starter, but the rest of the tight end group has disappointed. So why even run a tight end out on the field.

The Dallas Cowboys have options that could replace the tight end in the passing game without actually using a tight end.

First, they could use Noah Brown as the de facto tight end. He's been one of the best blockers on the team in his first two seasons with the team and this is the type of role he's made for. Split him out wide and motion him in tight when you want to run. He can be a threat down the seem and in the red zone with his athleticism. He'd be a mismatch for the linebackers that try to cover him and could open space underneath for Cole Beasley. Brown is also a really good run blocker, so having him on the field doesn't negate what you want to do in the run game.

The other player the Cowboys coaching staff could work into more of the tight end route responsibilities is Allen Hurns. Hurns is a really good route runner, especially in the middle of the field, where the Dallas Cowboys haven't received a lot of production. You can put Hurns in as the fourth wide receiver and split him a couple of yards off the tackle to give him a cleaner release than a TE might get and have him run "Y-option," shallow post routes, or drags. He can be a threat in the passing game if put in situations where he can excel. See below for something Allen Hurns does really well.

Film Review: What's Up with Allen Hurns?

In fact, by going four wide receivers with Brown or Hurns on the field, it's possible the opposing defense is forced to run more of dime packages against the Dallas Cowboys 10 personnel.

Why would you want to get teams into dime packages?

Most NFL teams have two pretty good linebackers that they can deploy in nickel situations, but teams rarely have four corners that they can put on the field and feel really good about. So, if you can force teams to remove one of their 11 best players for a backup corner back or safety, you are already winning that matchup.

That matchup would also get you into much more favorable defensive fronts to run against. Even if the opposition put seven or eight in the box, it would be against smaller personnel like corners and safeties instead of a second linebacker.

Running 10 personnel as their base offense moving forward would be unconventional, but with an opportunity to take control of first place in the NFC East on Thanksgiving, now is not the time for conventionality.



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Player News

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup on Personal Leave; Team Offers Support

Jess Haynie

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Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Michael Gallup suffered a personal tragedy on Sunday, being informed that his brother committed suicide. He is now on personal leave away from the team, and both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have given their full support to Gallup during this difficult time.

According to reports, Gallup was unaware of his brother's death until immediately after the Cowboys' win over the Atlanta Falcons. Michael did not return with the team to Dallas and remained in Atlanta to be with his family.

A formal statement was made by owner Jerry Jones yesterday regarding Gallup:

“Our team and our entire organization are deeply saddened by the news of Michael’s loss. His family is our family. We share in the grief and pain that comes with something so personal and tragic. We offer our support, care and comfort for Michael, and we ask that all of those who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters join us in keeping Michael and his wonderful family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Throughout his time owning the Cowboys, Jerry has built a reputation for personal loyalty and compassion with his players. His head coach is no different.

As he addressed the media Monday, Jason Garrett did not get into football matters when addressing Gallup's situation:

“This is a very challenging time for him. We’ll take it moment by moment, day by day, and give him all of our love and all of our support.”

While Michael is certainly dealing with something far more important than football, his availability for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins does come into question.

The Cowboys have a short week to prepare for Washington, and Gallup has started their last five games. If the rookie has to sit, which seems probable given the timeframe, we can expect more playing time for Allen Hurns and Noah Brown.

Whatever happens happens on that front. Our focus is on Michael Gallup during this sad time, with him and his family in our collective thoughts as Cowboys fans and fellow humans.



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