Looking at the Quarterback position there may be more questions than some would believe.
One of the major discussions has been surrounding whether the team will carry three on the 53 again this year. While I do not have a definitive answer; I hope they do not, at least in the traditional sense. More on that thought in a moment.
Tony Romo is healthier than he has been the past few camps with no signs of back soreness. The questions begin with backup Brandon Weeden, many fans only remember his less than stellar (he was bad) performance against the Cardinals. Yet his play against the Redskins after Romo went down, the week prior, was inspired.
His status on this team as a backup? I believe all the talk of Dustin Vaughan being the primary backup Quarterback this season has been fan engineered, internally it would be hard to believe that was given much serious conversation by the Coaching Staff. Talkin Cowboys co-host Nate Newton said it best on Friday, “Object of this is to win,” when speaking on Vaughan as the lone backup of the team.
While Weeden left a lot to be desired in his lone start of the 2014 campaign, Dustin Vaughan has never taken a meaningful snap in the NFL. When taking into consideration that aside from his performance against San Diego, his Training Camp performance has been okay at best. He has not taken a dramatic leap from his rookie season.
If not for the San Diego game many more would call for Jameill Showers overtaking Vaughan on the depth chart. Bryan Broaddus of Cowboys Break had positive feedback of Showers in June and has reiterated these points recently as well. Showers also brings the potential Special Teams element, having been practicing on several units since the beginning of camp.
On Sunday against the 49ers Vaughan did not distance his play from Showers. Not only did Showers make a crucial tackle on Special Teams, he also showed a lot of poise in the pocket. His play at the worse was equal to that of Vaughn and probably better.
The next two Preseason games are crucial for Vaughan and Showers. If Showers performs well enough to pull himself into a tie with Vaughan, his versatility makes him more deserving of a roster spot. Either way, I believe the team is high enough on Showers to place him on the Practice Squad if another spot is needed during the final cut to 53. If Vaughn does not play well in the upcoming weeks, his time as a Cowboy is over.
Of note, Vaughan is eligible for the Practice Squad as well since he does not have an Accrued Season of NFL Experience, meaning that he has not been deemed active (among the 46 dressed players) for six games or more. The aforementioned Cardinals game being the only game Vaughan has been active for. It could be very interesting to see whether or not they would keep Vaughan if they decided to keep two Quarterbacks on the 53.
I expect Showers to keep improving, which will make the battle between he and Vaughan very interesting for a spot on this team. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they keep both, with one being on the Practice Squad, but I don't feel that is likely with the depth at other positions.
During yesterday's Cowboys' Break I called in and inquired about the play of Vaughan and Showers. My call was at the beginning of the show,Bryan Broaddus seemed to agree with my assessment that Showers could very well outplay Vaughn for at the least a Practice Squad position. Which led to a discussion where Broaddus proposed the 53rd spot could come down to Danny McCray and Jameill Showers. During the show he also stated that in these next few weeks Vaughn will play for his Cowboys future.
At this point it looks like Jameill Showers has the upper hand, especially when looking at the multiple roles he can play. Broaddus highlights them with his eleventh point. Only time will tell which will remain on the roster. With Weeden's health currently in doubt after the 49ers game, this competition has become even more vital.