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Cowboys Backup QB Battle: Kellen Moore Vs. Luke McCown

Brian Martin



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.

  • George_Johnson

    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.

  • johnathan

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

    • Brian Martin

      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

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

  • Ned Fiacco

    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

      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.

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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