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Cowboys Have A Quarterback Controversy Brewing In Big D

Bryson Treece

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys have a Quarterback Controversy Brewing in Big D

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys improved their record to 5-1, and sit on top of the NFC East. The Cowboys success has been due to the play of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the league in rushing yards, and just set a record for consecutive games rushing over 130 yards. The Cowboys weren’t NFL odds favorites coming into the season because of Tony Romo’s injury, but they are now, thanks to their impressive rookies.

While a lot of Cowboys fans are excited about the team’s early season success, there is a looming controversy the team will have to deal with when Tony Romo is cleared to return to the lineup. Should the team keep Prescott as their starting quarterback or give Romo his job back?

According to team owner Jerry Jones, Romo is the team’s starting quarterback when he returns, and that isn’t sitting well with a lot of fans.

Let’s look closer into the situation. Over his career, Tony Romo has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but the Cowboys fan base has never fully been behind him. After Romo became the team’s full time starter, he enjoyed the trappings of success a little too much, dating celebrities and took a trip to Mexico a week before a playoff game, which rubbed some of the fans the wrong way.

Despite his off-field gaffes, Romo statistically is one of the best quarterbacks to play for the franchise, which is very impressive considering the number of Hall of Famers that have played the position for the Cowboys.

Despite his impressive stats, Romo has been under fire because of the team’s inability to make the playoffs consistently and to win playoff games.

The truth of the matter is Romo hasn’t had a lot of help in recent years, which is why the team has struggled to make the playoffs consistently. When he was first named a starter, he had weapons like Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, who gave him reliable targets to throw to.

After Owens was let go by the team, Witten was his only receiving weapon, and the team didn’t have much of a running game to take the pressure off. Now, that the team has had weapons around him, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

When Prescott was drafted, the team figured he would spend a couple of seasons behind Romo learning how to play the position at the top level, but during the preseason, he proved he is a quick study and is ready for prime time.

Through the first five games of the season, he didn’t throw an interception and was effective moving the chains. Last week, he finally threw his first interception, but was able to lead the team to a victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau.

A lot of experts have compared the Prescott situation with the Tom Brady situation when he filled in for an injured Drew Bledsoe before taking over as the full-time starter. They believe that despite Romo being the better quarterback right now, removing Prescott from the starting lineup could disrupt the team’s momentum.

While that is a possibility, Romo still gives the team the best chance to win, and has the experience to lead them on a deep playoff run. The question now is does head coach Jason Garrett feel the same way?



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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5 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Oh really??? This is a real news flash! Holy smokes how many more of these need to be written?

  • Mike Young

    Last season when Romo went down against Carolina for the second time that year, I thought to myself and sent to my friends this message: I’ve just witnessed the end of Romo. What I meant is that Romo was injury-prone, unreliable at QB and that the Cowboys needed a new QB. All opposing teams needed to do to defeat the ‘Boys and send them into a tailspin is get to Romo.

    Last 3 games, 3 injuries. Injury – 8 games, injury – 6 games, injury – 7 games.
    Anybody who follows the Dallas Cowboys should be concerned for Romo’s health (although the potential impact of another injury on the team has been mitigated by the presence of Dak Prescott).

    Are we to believe that Romo’s performance will not be affected by these recent injuries? Navigating the pocket, movement away from pressure, throwing on the run (er, move)? How will Romo’s decisions and delivery be affected with a 300 pound lineman coming at him with intent to do damage? Will his in-game mentality be negatively affected? Romo has always taken risks, made bad decisions and bad plays that cost his team at the worst possible times. I think the frequency of bad plays increase now.

    Team momentum. The ‘Boys are on a roll. There is a significant risk that a change in QB’s affects the team’s progress, rhythm and energy. Do you take that risk?

    There is a unique opportunity to make the team better through savings under the salary cap. It is being reported the Dallas Cowboys could save millions under the salary cap by moving on from Romo.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      @Mike Young — Meh. I thought and said the same thing. Where we differ is that I don’t believe he is incapable, or going to be “hearing footsteps” at all. I do seriously wonder if he can sustain the hits anymore. The injuries you mentioned… breaking a collarbone he broke once before (2011 I believe), breaking that same collarbone again when he rushed back, and injuring a back he’s had multiple prior injuries to. If it were new problems, that’s one thing, but the same areas being affected again and again? Sounds like a body breaking down to me.

      Anyway, I’m for momentum, I’m just also for not losing your job because of injury. If Romo comes back healthy and playing like he was, he’s twice the QB Dak is now, and that’s okay. Dak could end up being a better QB when it’s all said and done. But his rookie year isn’t his only shot to make that happen.

      Thanks for reading, Mike.

  • Mike Young

    Bryson – I am not going to go anywhere near what may appear to be questioning Romo’s courage or ability when healthy (the key is health – there is no escaping the realty that Romo is 36 years old coming off 3 straight serious injuries). I believe it is fair to question whether he can do it like he used to? Particularly, when coming off several shoulder and back surgeries. Keep in mind it has been almost a season and a half since Romo’s outstanding 2014 campaign.

    I think you are being a little naïve and overly sentimental to say you’re not for losing your job because of injury. Try missing too much time due to illness and see if you aren’t replaced on your job. Also, you are way off the mark to say a healthy Romo is twice the QB Dak is now! What do you base that on? Not Super Bowls, Not NFC Championships, Not even playoff victories! I say let the rookie have is day. We all may be unexpected rewarded.

    Some folks have a more difficult time getting past the sacrifices made by players and loyalty we feel for those sacrifices and also the sentimentality of moving on, especially when we want the best for them. But it’s not like Romo hasn’t had opportunities or been handsomely rewarded for his sacrifices. Football is a business. Sometimes things change suddenly in business but we have to find a workable solution and keep moving. I think we’ve done that and to extend the business analogy, the bottom line looks good and prospects look even better.

    Thanks for your article and your comments.

  • Brian

    I believe that Tony Romo, with all his injuries, would be a great relief quarter back. Let Dak Prescott remain the starting QB with a “healthy” Romo behind him ready to play. I would be more than willing to let Romo ride out his contract on the bench as the highest paid back up in the league.

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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

John Williams

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Is Dak Prescott's Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

As the final whistle sounded last Sunday with the Carolina Panthers coming away victorious over your Dallas Cowboys, it was pretty clear there were a lot of things wrong with the offense. Many pointed to Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and the play calling. Others to the offensive line. Others to Quarterback Dak Prescott. And others to the wide receivers.

There was plenty of blame to go around in an offensive performance that left Cowboys Nation struggling for answers. Simply put, there wasn't much good from that side of the football in their 16-8 loss. 

Well, as this week has gone on in preparation for the New York Giants Sunday night, there have been answers to questions from within the organization that make me, an outsider, feel really awkward about the relationships inside the organization. Particularly on the offensive side of the football. 

There was this from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan responding to Troy Aikman's critique of a lack of creativity in the play calling of Linehan.

"People have their own opinions. It's hard to be super creative when you're having loss-yardage plays, to be honest with you. But I thought we had some really good stuff for the game that we couldn't use. But he's entitled to whatever opinion he has about that. It's our job to go out and show him that we have some stuff that maybe he'll be impressed with."

Scott Linehan - via Jon Machota, Sports Day DFW

Then this from Wide Receiver Allen Hurns. 

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys WR Allen Hurns on loss to Carolina: "Statistically people are going to say we didn't play well. If you really break down the game, we created separation. That's what you want to do as a wideout.

With Dak Prescott speaking to the media on Thursday, some interesting nuggets of information came out about the communication that takes place on game day between Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, and Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Namely Dak described Kellen Moore as a "mediator" between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.

“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline. Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback

Count 1310 The Ticket's Bob Sturm as one of many confused by Dak's statement about Moore as the go between.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

Thought it was really interesting to day that Dak said he talks to Kellen Moore and QB coach Kellen Moore talks to Linehan. Linehan doesn't talk directly to his QB during the game. I think that is weird.

It's becoming clear that there is a huge disconnect between the play caller and his quarterback and this disconnect is affecting everyone on the offensive side of the ball.  

Everyone, after one week, appears to be placing blame on someone else, which is really odd to me. Normally, when a unified group of players is asked a question that may lead to finger-pointing, they don't really answer the question.

Above, you can see that Hurns basically said, it wasn't the wide receivers' fault. Linehan, reacting to Troy Aikman's comments about the lack of creativity in the offense, placed the reason for the lack of creativity on the players. And Dak Prescott appears to allude to a really odd communication structure.

It has me wondering, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if there is a trust issue with the Dallas Cowboys offensive staff and players.

Trust is a very important aspect of any group of people who work together to meet a common goal. Football is no different. As far as team sports go, the NFL requires a strong sense of trust and commitment to one another to make the intricacies of an NFL offense work.

As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a "Go-To" Receiver After All?

Oct 8, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) congratulates wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) after a touchdown in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The coach has to trust that the player he's calling the plays for. If the play caller doesn't trust the players to execute, he's going to be much more conservative than he should be. A play caller who trusts his players will allow them to play and will be aggressive in his game planning and play calling. 

The player has to trust that the play caller is putting the player(s) in the best position possible to succeed. If the players don't trust the play caller, they aren't going to buy in to the offensive scheme. If they don't buy in to the offensive scheme then there may not be the necessary effort put in to see the scheme succeed. 

From the outside looking in, the relationship between quarterback and play caller seems fractured.  It's not a good sign for the relationship of the two men tasked with guiding this offense that there is a mediator involved in their communication. If there is an issue in the relationship that is leading to poor communication, then the Dallas Cowboys leadership structure -- Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett -- need to make a change to better enhance offensive communication.

They aren't going to change quarterbacks at this point in the season. The move they can make that Head Coach Jason Garrett appears unwilling to make, is changing who calls the plays. If the relationship between Linehan and Prescott is such that Kellen Moore needs to act as "mediator," then the time has come to change the play caller. Whether it's Moore who takes the reigns or Garrett who returns to calling plays, the change may need to be made soon to salvage this season. 

Trust is a very valuable resource in any organization. It's the reason that Jason Garrett has remained head coach for as long as he has. The ownership trusts him. 

The lack of trust that appears to exist between Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan is something that not only hurts their relationship, but the chemistry with the entire offense. 

Football may be the greatest team sport in the world. And as such it requires a high level of chemistry . It requires everyone on offense and defense buying into their respective schemes and trusting each other to execute those schemes. 

Obviously a win against the Giants would go a long way toward healing whatever wounds exist between Prescott and Linehan. A loss however could potentially deepen a divide between the quarterback and his coordinator.



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