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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
  • 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.

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Amari Cooper Wins 2nd NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of 2018

Jess Haynie

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Amari Cooper

For the second time in just three weeks, Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Cooper scored three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, to lead the Cowboys to victory last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 10 catches for 217 yards, which led all NFL receivers last week.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

After his record-setting performance during week 14, @AmariCooper9 is the FIRST #DallasCowboys to win NFC Player of the Week twice in a season! → https://t.co/kvBDIeOgBd #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote #ProBowlVote

As the official website stated, Cooper is the first Cowboy to win the award twice in the same year. He's also the first Cowboy to be named Offensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.

Before this year, Elliott was the only Dallas player to win the Offensive award in three seasons. Cooper has now done it twice in three weeks.

Since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns.

His wasted time in Oakland may keep Cooper out of the Pro Bowl this year, but he's already become a fan favorite in Cowboys Nation. Congratulations to Amari for another well-deserved award!



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Cowboys Playoff Scenarios: Week 15 Impact Games

Jess Haynie

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Making Sense of the "Garrett Guys" Behind Cowboys Dez Bryant Release

It's hard to believe that we're looking at the Dallas Cowboys potentially clinching the NFC East this week, but that's how dramatic the turnaround has been over the last five games. Week 15 could lock Dallas into the playoffs and give them a lot of freedom over their final two games.

If the season ended today, these would be your NFC playoff standings:

  1. New Orleans Saints (11-2)
  2. Los Angeles Rams (11-2)
  3. Chicago Bears (9-4)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1)
    ----------------------------------
  7. Carolina Panthers (6-7)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
  9. Washington Redskins (6-7)

TIEBREAKERS

  • The Cowboys lost to Seattle earlier this year, but still remain the 4th seed as a division winner over a wild card team.
  • The Panthers are ahead of the Eagles thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
  • The Eagles are ahead of the Redskins thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker. They play each other again in Week 17.
  • The Redskins beat the Panthers earlier this year, but their loss to Philadelphia within their own division negates that tiebreaker.

In truth, there's not much intrigue left for the Cowboys in this regular season. One win gives them the NFC East, and it would take the Saints or Rams dropping all three of their remaining games for Dallas to have a shot at a top-two seed.

So, barring the nearly impossible, Dallas is locked into either the 3rd or 4th seed. They will host one of the Wild Card teams in the first round of the playoffs.

The biggest thing to watch now is how the seeding shakes among the bottom four playoff teams. The Seahawks seem a cut above the likes of Minnesota, Carolina, or one of our NFC East friends, so avoiding them in the first round would be lovely.

Here are this week's games involving the NFC playoff contenders:

Dallas Cowboys @ Indianapolis Colts

We've already discussed what the Cowboys need to do, so let's talk about the Colts. Not only do they have home field advantage this week, but they are fighting for their playoff lives.

Indianapolis is one of four teams with a 7-6 record battling for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos are also in the mix at 6-7, giving none of these teams any cushion for losing.

Dallas has its own incentive to win, though. If they want to avoid Seattle in the first round, they probably need to take the #3 seed from the Chicago Bears. They need to keep winning and hope for the Bears to drop a game or two.

Ultimately, getting into the playoffs and starting at home is a huge reward. But anything that can help make the road a little easier is worth pursuing. It's no time to rest on your laurels.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

As we just discussed, we'd like to see Chicago drop a few games to give Dallas a shot at the #3 seed. This week isn't the worst opportunity, with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay still not completely eliminated from playoff contention.

Expecting much from the Packers here is unwise. They've had a coaching change and appear to be in a state of organizational disarray. But they still have Rodgers, and crazy things always happens in rivalry games.

So while these are two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions, you never know what could happen given the variable elements. By all means, root for the Cheeseheads.

Miami Dolphins @ Minnesota Vikings

Your rooting interest here comes down to a simple question; who do you prefer to play among that last bunch of Wild Card teams? Who does Dallas match up best against between the Vikings, Panthers, and Eagles?

I think we'd all agree that we don't want to see the Eagles a third time. Beating a team three times in one year is tough to do, and especially given how close last week's meeting was.

The Panthers beat Dallas in the season opener, but that was in Carolina and well before the Cowboys were playing at a high level. A second meeting could go very differently, especially with the recent slumping by the Panthers.

Both Carolina and Minnesota are struggling, with one on a five-game losing streak and the latter having lost their last two. The Vikings just fired their offensive coordinator, so neither of these teams appear to be going into the postseason with any real momentum.

At this point, I'd say it's a toss-up between the Panthers and Vikings. Both are much preferable to seeing the Eagles again, so I would just keep rooting for both to win. In either case, they knock out Philadelphia.

We'll reassess the threat level of Carolina and Minnesota as playoff opponents in a few weeks.

Washington Redskins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

I didn't mention the Redskins among those last three teams because they may not win another game this year. Their QB situation is so bad that even the Jaguars look good by comparison.

Granted, Jacksonville is lousy right now. Washington might be able to go down there and get a win, but neither team has anything to play for now. This one may come down to whether or not the Jaguars have gone into tank mode.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Seattle just walloped the Niners 43-16 a couple of weeks ago, and changing venues is unlikely to make that much difference. The Seahawks are a legit NFC contender and San Francisco is already thinking about the offseason. A Seattle loss would be great, but it ain't happening this week.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams

While catching the Rams and getting a top-two seed would be great, it's barely plausible. The far more concrete benefit here is seeing the Eagles lose and getting them further away from a possible Wild Card spot.

In fact, an Eagles' loss this week would give Dallas the NFC East even if the Cowboys fall in  Indianapolis. That's not the way we want to win the division, but you take what you can get.

With the breaking news that Carson Wentz is unlikely to play this week with a back injury, you'd generally think this suits the Cowboys' interests. But Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is still the backup in Philadelphia, so is anything really for certain?

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

We have every reason to root for Carolina here. For one, it helps the Panthers stay ahead of the Eagles in the Wild Card race. Also, it brings the Saints one loss closer to possibly being caught by Dallas. A Saints win doesn't really benefit us all.



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Ezekiel Elliott has Huge Day vs Eagles Thanks to Receiving Prowess

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott has Huge Day vs Eagles Thanks to Receiving Prowess

The Dallas Cowboys came away with a huge win against their division rival Philadelphia Eagles, putting them in a commanding position in the NFC East. They're up two games in the division and one of the more underrated story lines from the victory is Ezekiel Elliott's game. He had a huge day that no one is talking about.

Elliott had 28 carries for 113 yards and then caught 12 passes on 13 targets en route to his big performance in the 29-23 win over the Eagles. That's probably the quietest 40 touch, 192 total yard game you'll ever hear about. And yet, that's where we are. Please read that stat line again, because in all of our talk about Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and the defense, Ezekiel Elliott's stat line is absolutely ridiculous.

The receiving element that Elliott is providing the biggest difference to the offense this season. He's been a huge asset to Dak Prescott in the passing game as both a primary target and a check down option in the short part of the field. If Elliott isn't showing that he's the best running back in the league, with what he's doing with a broke down offensive line, then people will never give him the credit he's due.

For the last three years, the Dallas Cowboys and their fan base has known what an elite player the Cowboys have in Elliott. He's easily one of the best runners in the NFL, but if you talk to the general NFL fanbase or analysts around the league, Elliott doesn't get the same kind of love as players like Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell receive from the national media. The knock against Elliott has been that he doesn't bring the same value as a receiver. With what he has done over the last six weeks, and really all season long, it's safe to say, that won't be a knock against the Cowboys All-Pro running back.

Among running backs this season, Ezekiel Elliott ranks sixth in targets (77), fifth in receptions (65). seventh in yards (502), and is tied for 12th in receiving touchdowns with three. Elliott is the seventh highest rated running back when targeted among running backs with at least 50 targets this season.

Over the last six weeks, since the Amari Cooper trade, only Christian McCaffrey has more targets, receptions, and yards than Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott's previous career high was in 2016 when he caught 32 passes on 39 targets. With three games left in the season, Elliott has more than doubled his previous career high from that season. Over the last six weeks, he's caught 40 passes with an average of 6.7 receptions per game.

Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for his best total yardage season in the NFL. If he continues at his current per game averages, Elliott would finish the season with 330 carries for 1,553 rushing yards, 80 catches on 100 targets for 618 yards and 10 total touchdowns. He's been great this year, but he's been even better over the last six games. At his per game averages for the last six games, over a 16 game season, Elliott's numbers would look like this; 363 carries for 1,715 yards rushing, 107 receptions on 120 targets for 872 yards, and 13 total touchdowns.

It's rare that Ezekiel Elliott has a game like he did on Sunday and it goes largely unnoticed by Cowboys Nation, but that's just how tremendous Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper were. In a game where the Cowboys got big games and big plays through the passing game, it was Elliott's steadiness that held things together and helped sustain drives like the fourth and one conversion in overtime. Even with Amari Cooper elevating his game since coming to the Cowboys, there's no question that Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys best skill position player. Expect more big games for Elliott as the Cowboys continue to "Feed Zeke."



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