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Cowboys Backup QB Battle: Kellen Moore Vs. Luke McCown

Brian Martin

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Kellen Moore Vs. Luke McCown: Cowboys Backup QB Position Battle

I don't know about a lot of you, but I feel little bit relieved that Luke McCown is now in the mix to become the Dallas Cowboys backup QB in 2017. He will get the chance to push and compete against Kellen Moore to prove his worth, which has a lot of Cowboys Nation looking forward to see how the Cowboys backup QB situation shakes out.

There is certainly no shortage of position battles to pay attention to throughout the remainder of training camp and preseason, but the Cowboys backup QB position should definitely be at the top of the list. Backup QBs play an important role that a lot of us don't fully understand. They not only have to be ready at the drop of a hat, but they are also mentors, especially for young players such as Dak Prescott.

Both Kellen Moore and Luke McCown are capable enough to become the Cowboys backup QB this season, but for different reasons. Let's dive into that a little deeper and try to figure out who might be the best backup for the upcoming season.

Kellen MooreKellen Moore has been the de facto backup QB since Tony Romo's retirement. But, to bring in a veteran QB like Luke McCown cast a little bit of doubt from the Cowboys regarding Moore's standing with the team. Everything should and probably will be reevaluated from this time on.

Kellen Moore has the trust of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and the experience in his system, which probably gives him an advantage over McCown. But unfortunately he doesn't have a lot of game experience. The lack of game experience is concerning, but no more so then the fact that he is possibly just one hit away from an injury because of his size.

Both he and Tony Romo contributed to helping out Dak Prescott through his rookie season, which means there's already an established working relationship. That would also indicate that #17 has an advantage to become the Cowboys backup QB. But, don't count out a savvy veteran backup like Luke McCown.

McCown didn't decide to sign with the Cowboys to become a "camp arm" to help them through training camp and preseason. He came here with the mindset that he can become the Cowboys backup QB this season and unseat the previously unchallenged Kellen Moore.

At 36, McCown certainly isn't a spring chicken anymore. But, he has been able to survive over a decade in the NFL as a backup QB. In that time his has been able to soak up a lot of knowledge and game experience. He knows what it takes to be a backup QB in the NFL and how to help mentor younger players.

McCown's veteran experience is an enticing quality that might be too much to pass up. This is especially true when you consider that head coach Jason Garrett usually gravitates towards these types of players when it comes to the backup QB position. But, he is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to beat out Kellen Moore.

I personally like Luke McCown's experience, but I can see why a lot of people like Kellen Moore too. There is no way of knowing right now how this will turn out, which makes it a position battle worth following.

Who will be the Cowboys backup QB in 2017?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. George_Johnson

    July 31, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Brian: I think McCown is likely to just be a camp arm in 2017 for the following reasons: 1) K Moore is designated to get the 2nd team reps and 2nd team playing time in preseason games. He is ready and knows the offense/playbook intimately. McCown will get the 3rd or 4th team reps and 3rd or 4th team playing time in preseason games. 2) McCown will have to go through a learning curve concerning the Dallas offense/playbook/game plans/knowing Linehan/etc. that will take some time. He probably won’t be ready to be considered for 2nd team until some time during the season, 3) the speculation is that Dallas will probably only keep two QBs on the 53 man roster which will mean McCown is cut after the preseason. If they keep three QBs than McCown may get a chance at 2nd team but probably in 2018 not 2017. How would K Moore lose his 2nd team position sitting on the bench during the season?, 4) I expect K Moore to do well in preseason play. He should be very ready at this point and this is his only time to prove what he can do. McCown could do well also but it will be at 3rd or 4th team. K Moore will really have to start screwing up big time, which isn’t likely for any other QB to get a shot at 2nd team QB.

    In terms of K Moore not being a veteran, that is not what S Linehan has said. He said K Moore even though he has not played much, is like having a veteran because of all his knowledge and ability to know exactly what to do without a lot of reps. In terms of experience K Moore has a lot of total experience for someone who has only played in three NFL season games, because of studying, practicing and playing QB since he could walk, because he was in a constant football environment growing up. This probably has something to do with his ability to play instinctively.

  2. johnathan

    July 31, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Do you have that concern about the “lack of game experience” when Dak was starting?

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      August 1, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Yes, I did. But, at the same time the Cowboys didn’t really have another option and we were all waiting to see Tony Romo was going to come back and be reinserted as a starter.

      • OGHailMary

        August 5, 2017 at 1:46 am

        Yeah, you can’t really throw in Dak as an example of anything. He broke up all kinds of conventional wisdom.

  3. Ned Fiacco

    July 31, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I respect any player’s desire to think and act competitively, but I don’t see McCown being looked to/ at in any way to supplant K. Moore. Maybe more like and insurance policy? If Moore were to do just awful in preseason, then sure, there would be some justified noise. But do I see that happening? No. Moore kept getting better in 2015, knows the playbook, the players and has a working “rhythm” with the offense. He is described as very accurate (yes, he made mistakes in 2015) and his timing is amazing (i.e. yesterday’s “play of the day” with Brown). Even Mr. Broaddus, who isn’t a big Moore fan, talks about his “perfect timing” and “sweet throw to so and so” as he recaps the practices. Moore has been described as a guy who is cool under pressure -preseason is not going to stumble him Indeed, it is not a reach at all to say this preseason will see him play remarkably well. Again, I respect every guy who actually gets in the arena and risks it all, so good luck to McCown being at and doing his best. However, I believe this preseason sees Moore silencing his critics-the sane ones at least, big time.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      August 1, 2017 at 9:24 am

      I’m hoping Kellen Moore comes out and performs really well. But, at the same time I don’t think it hurts that the Cowboys now have another option to back up Prescott. Luke McCown wouldn’t have come here if he didn’t think he was getting an honest shot to compete.

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.

The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.

Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.

These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.

Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.

Should a veteran TE be an option?

This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency? 1

TE Tyler Eifert (Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports)

Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.

The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.

Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.

There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.

We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?" 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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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback

Jess Haynie

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Byron Jones

Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.

Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.

That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.

It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.

Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.

Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.

If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.

Chidobe Awuzie, Giants

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.

However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.

Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.

While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.

If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.

If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.

More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.

With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center

Jess Haynie

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.

Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.

Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.

Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.

We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.

Joe Looney

Dallas Cowboys G/C Joe Looney

This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.

After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.

Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.

With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.

At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.

With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.



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