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Cowboys Must Draft, Develop A QB For Future Success

Bryson Treece

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys & Tony Romo: Future V

I remember back in the day when Bill Parcells was H.C. in Dallas and the revolving door of has-been and never-was quarterbacks was in full swing, Tony Romo looked like just another Dallas QB that wouldn't amount to anything. Then he took over one week against the Giants and came out swinging...

The truth is, we don't know how much longer we can look forward to seeing Romo dazzle us (and opposing defenses) each Sunday, as Inside The Star newcomer Nick Cocchiaro succinctly stated earlier today in his article, Tony Romo: The Harsh Reality I Had To Come To Terms With. Every season, every game brings him closer to the day when he hangs it up for good, and that terrifies me, me and a whole lot of other Cowboys loyalists holding their breath each time he gets hit.

While I have firmly believed the Cowboys should address the quarterback position via the draft... I always thought it would be so Romo could train the young player for a seamless transition in a couple of years. ~ Nick Cocchiaro, InsideTheStar.com

The Cowboys need to plan ahead for something like this. The 'Boys have been through the recycling bin time and time again and come up with bupkis for their efforts.

Kellen Moore, while oddly a huge fan favorite, is not the future of this team. He's barely even a footnote on the 2015 season, let alone the franchise as a whole. His role as a backup isn't even secure, and fans who believe he can somehow finagle a starting gig with the Cowboys are in denial. Plain and simple.

Next season will feature #9 as the starter at QB; there is no doubt about this. The optimism we held throughout the 2015 offseason for a fresh, rested back will be extended, carried over through the 2016 offseason. Romo will continue to proclaim his readiness to play football in 2016 and the offensive scheme and draft strategy will still center around him being the quarterback. Not that there's much contention over that fact, but still.

The pungent aftertaste of a Cowboys team missing its leader is still with us all. Some have hopped on the Moore bandwagon and maintain their stance that the backup spot will be in his capable hands next season, but the team has made it pretty clear that their search for a workable backup is still ongoing, even now.

But whether Kellen Moore or some other veteran is backing up Romo in 2016 is irrelevant. It's not an answer, but merely bides time.

Staff Writers Sean Martin and RJ Ochoa debated the merits of drafting a QB with the #4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (Points for and Points against), and both made good arguments. But considering the history of the position since Troy Aikman retired should give us all pause.

dc-qb-aikman-romo1bBetween Troy Aikman and Tony Romo as starters, we saw one of the worst collections of quarterbacks this league should never see again. In order; Rodney Peete, Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson, Drew Bledsoe, Kurt Bollinger, Stephen McGee, Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore. That list includes backups who have started. 14 in all, since Aikman retired.

The scariest thing about that is knowing that Troy Aikman didn't just start playing like crap one day, or even one season; it was a gradual decline that everyone saw coming. Yet the Cowboys front office at the time did little to prepare for it.

Ryan Leaf, Rodney Peete, and mid-to-late 2nd-round-pick Quincy Carter were the best they could come up with. None of whom have seen any real action elsewhere since the Cowboys moved on.

And we want to try that again? Absolutely! Call it for what it is; the Cowboys made some horrible draft selections when trying to find a QB after Aikman. And it started a dumpster fire full of 6-10 and 5-11 seasons that we had to endure. But there are some very key differences between the late 90s and early 00s Cowboys and this current one; namely, Stephen Jones, Will McClay, Jason Garrett, and Tony Romo. Yes, Tony Romo is included in that list.

Go back and watch any game from 2015 where Romo wasn't on the field taking snaps and look at where he was, what he was doing. He was on the sidelines coaching up the quarterback in the game, he had a headset on and his Microsoft Surface Pro reviewing plays and communicating with coaches about what was happening on the field; that man was more than just an injured player in 2015. He was an assistant coach doing everything he could to help his team win.

So yeah, he's on the list, because his input on the QBs of this 2016 draft class will be represented in the War Room come April.

They say it's a weak draft class for quarterbacks, 2016, but there are three front-runners out there right now: Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, and Carson Wentz. If you're not familiar with them, check out Senior Analyst Ryan Ratty's film review of each one by click on their names. Given the situation the Cleveland Browns are (always) in at the QB position, and the hiring of a new head coach for 2016, you can likely expect them to take one of either Goff or Lynch ahead of the Cowboys.

There is still a lot to be determined before the draft, as quarterback prospects are rarely graded  by on-field performance alone, but two or more of those guys are going to be around at #4 and one may possibly be the best player available on the Cowboys draft board. And people are saying we shouldn't take one of them? Nah. Can't do it.

I can't sit by and watch another painful year of Weeden, Cassel and Moore under center, and I doubt the Cowboys can either. Drafting a QB is a must in 2016.

It's still unclear if the Cowboys are even considering doing that with a top-5 pick, but there's good reason to believe they might. The highest of which being that it's a chance to bring in a very talented guy to learn from Tony Romo, Jason Garrett, and Wade Wilson; some of the best people in the world of professional quarterbacks. And with Will "The Architect" McClay leading the talent evaluations, it's a no-brainer.

It's time for the front office to trust their guys to do their jobs and make the smart, tough choices for the long-term health of this franchise, because Tony Romo isn't going to be around forever.



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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19 Comments
  • Robert

    I agree with your assessment, regarding the Cowboys quarterback situation. With the Cleveland Browns, recent hire of hue Jackson as their head coach. I don't think the Cowboys will be able time draft a quarterback at #4. I was hoping the Cowboys organization would have a opportunity to draft jared goff. With Jackson hire, it appears that Goff is headed for the Browns. It also appears that Carson Wentz will be the Cowboys pick. I'm not excited about Wentz, as with goff. Goff would fix the Cowboys offense like a kids glove. Maybe, which I doubt, the Browns sign RG3, pass on goff. But you never know what the Cowboys will draft between now and April 2016. But I do agree with your assessment, regarding its time for Jerry to finally pull the trigger and draft Romo's heir apparent in the first round of the NFL Draft.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      I like Wentz okay, about as much as Lynch, but I feel Lynch is the better talent long-term. Goff would be the ideal option for a QB that can play in our scheme, but the Browns are taking a QB in the 1st. I'm just not totally certain that Goff is the type of QB they want, so they may take Lynch and leave Goff for us.

  • Randy

    Bryson you are so spot on with this article and I'd like you to put it in an envelope and address it to Jerry Jones. Your analysis about all those down years hit the nail on the head. I believe it was Charlie Casserly that said you draft a QB every year in the draft because you always have to have the next guy on the roster and if you end up with 3 good ones then you have an embarrassent of riches. I think Goff is our guy and I sinceely hope that Cleveland doesn't snatch him first.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      It's what the more dominant, lasting teams have done for years and there's a reason for it. No NCAA QB is NFL-ready come week 1. Some are forced to start week 1 but they're just doing their best not to get killed. You start with the right pedigree, a high talent draft selection, and you mold him. The Cowboys draft a lot of QBs, but they tend to take them in late rounds where the talent isn't as rich. Romo was a fluke. Brady was a fluke. If your plan is to take a guy few people wanted and turn him into a super star, then your plan is subject to luck. Better to stick with what works than play the odds year after year. Thanks for reading, Randy!

  • George Johnson

    I would just say one thing related to the article. I doubt any of these three QBs can beat out K Moore for the 2nd team QB during their rookie year. A rookie goes through a learning curve and transition. K Moore has four years NFL experience and now starting experience. A future franchise type QB like A Luck in his first year, could beat out K Moore for 2nd team in his rookie year but none of these three QBs are being compared to an A Luck or a franchise type QB. These three QBs could possibly replace Romo down the line. I also don't see K Moore replacing Romo, but he could surprise a lot of people. He is known for playing way better than anyone thinks he can play and he is extremely consistent. If he can improve from here watch out as he is not that far away from being a solid starter and the mistakes he made are very uncharacteristic for K Moore.

  • RJ Ochoa

    All in on this… As long as it's not at 4 Overall. #TeamImpact

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    Well, the more I've thought about this, the more I think they'll take a different position at #4 but perhaps trade back into the latter part of the 1st round if Carson Wentz or perhaps even Paxton Lynch are available after about pick #20. This is assuming the Browns draft Goff before we get a chance to.

    If the amateur draftniks are to be believed, none of these top three quarterbacks are worthy of an early 1st round pick anyway, so you'd imagine at least one of them would at least fall to the latter part of the 1st.

    I could definitely see the Cowboys pulling the trigger on something like that. They're coaching Wentz in the Senior Bowl so they'll get a lot of interaction with him anyway, and getting the 5th year option on a developmental quarterback like this is not an insignificant thing especially if you think Romo even *might* be around for 3 more seasons.

  • Daniel

    Why does everybody continue to stay on the Romo bandwagon? Kellen Moore outplayed him easily in half the time. Romo was 5 TDS/6 INTs 880 yds in five games, while KM had 4/5 770 yrds in 2.5 games in only his second start. Do you really believe that once Moore gets used to playing in the NFL speed that he won't improve. Besides if Dallas' defense could have stopped anybody KM would have won all three of this games. He had them leading until the defense just fell apart and got lost against the Bills and Jets. With the Redskins, he actually had their team back in the game until the defense got lost again. They need to fire the Sevondary coach or at least focus on that area in the draft first. Then they should get WRs that can actually catch and create seperation, then a DE (get rid of Hardy), then MLB (Lee keeps knocking himself out), then at the end you draft a QB who can push Moore and Romo.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      I don't know why I'm even indulging this insane comment, but I am… Tony Romo played in 5 games in 2015? Cause I'm pretty sure he played 2 full games and 2 half games, meaning he played the same amount of time as Moore. The extra TD and 110 yards equaled 4 wins for Romo, 3 losses for Moore. So, to answer your question, the Romo bandwagon is alive and well because he wins games. A claim Kellen Moore cannot yet make; even with only 3 starts, he's got 4 years in the league! Come on, dude. #ThatsMyQB

    • Randy

      Daniel you must be a huge Boise State fan! Heck, we all want to see Moore develop into a great QB but before you go off thinking Moore is a future HOF'er, which Romo may or may not be, know that Romo is highly esteemed in the circles of people that know as one of the greatest QB's to play the game. You can knock him all you want for not winning the big one but if you look at the body of work, you cannot argue with the data. Your statement shows the lack of understanding that comes with just looking at stats. Did you even watch the game against the Redskins? In the first 5 drives of the game Dallas had 3 punts, 1 interception, and 1 fumble. The score was 24-0 before Moore did anything significant. By that time Washington was playing off of the receivers and it was easy for Moore to hit them because they were open. So Dallas got 2 easy touchdowns at the close of the half. When the second half opened, Washington tightened up and the first 4 possessions, Dallas had 2 punts, 1 interception 1 fumble. Dallas had no choice but to air it out and when Washington had a commanding lead they played off the receiver in prevent. So Moore's stats were artificially inflated. Against Buffalo Moore helped Dallas to 2 FG;s and threw an Int. In the Jets game, no TD's and 3 INT's. So before you take a guy that had one decent game against an opponent that was indifferent to the pass, and put him on a pedestal above a guy that has almost 35,000 passing yards, 250 TD's, and a lifetime rating of 97.1, you should really know a little something about football instead of just playing the Bronco homer card!

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    InsideTheStar.com UserWhy does everybody continue to stay on the Romo bandwagon? Kellen Moore outplayed him easily in half the time.

    Well, for starters, the Romo bandwagon has been built on a foundation of nearly a decade of watching him play….

  • cjprine

    All I know is that taking Ramsey #1 and Henry #2 sounds great ! I think we fill 2 huge needs with immediate impact!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • RJ Ochoa

    Tony Romo bandwagon? I've seen everything.

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

    • Randy

      Yea RJ…didn't you see that Romo bandwagon! Its just getting started? Wanna get on it? LOL!

  • RJ Ochoa

    I'll take two tickets please!

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

  • cjprine

    Romo has probably been the most criticized QB!
    And I really can't say how someone is honestly going to compare Moore to Romo! Clearly we know where are as a team without him

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • RJ Ochoa

    Preach.

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

  • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

    Two tickets as well please.

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app. Check out InsideTheStar.com!

  • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

    Two tickets as well please.

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app. Check out InsideTheStar.com!

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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