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Is The Dallas Cowboys Backup QB Situation A Concern?

Brian Martin

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Kellen Moore

Isn't it funny how much things can change in just a years time span. Last year at this time we were discussing who the Dallas Cowboys backup QB would be for Tony Romo? Now, it's Dak Prescott's show, but the question still remains. So, who will backup Prescott in 2017 and is it a concern for the Cowboys?

The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and as we now know the Dallas Cowboys drafted nine players, but not one of them was at the quarterback position. It wasn't a complete surprise considering this year's talent at the QB position, but the Cowboys could use a developmental prospect to groom behind Prescott.

Now, before any of you get your panties in a wad, I have nothing against Kellen Moore. In fact, I think he is a serviceable backup QB, but not someone you want under center for an extended period of time if something were to happen to Prescott.

Moore knows offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's scheme and understands his strength and weaknesses as a player. He doesn't have the strongest arm, but his ability to quickly read defenses and get rid of the ball are both reasons why he has been able to stick around in the NFL.

Kellen MooreI'm starting to believe that the Cowboys just carry two QBs on the roster and Kellen Moore is the hands-down favorite to backup Dak Prescott in 2017. So, the Cowboys backup QB could already be set, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's still not a concern.

My biggest concern is whether or not Kellen Moore can remain healthy if he is thrust into action. He is not the biggest QB in the league (6'0", 200) and one good hit could have him on the sideline once again wearing a headset and holding a clipboard. I mean, he didn't even make it out of training camp last year.

As things stand right now, there really isn't anybody to even compete with him once off-season practices get underway. The Cowboys did sign two undrafted free agent QBs, but I don't think either Cooper Rush or Austin Appleby are legitimate competition. At best, they are probably practice squad material.

Of course, there is the possibility that I'm just reading too much into this. But, if this wasn't at least a little bit of a concern for the Cowboys, then they wouldn't have tried to bring in Josh McCown.

Only time will tell if the Cowboys backup QB situation is an actual concern or not, but fortunately they still have plenty of time to figure it out. And, there is always the possibility they have Tony Romo on speed dial if worst comes to worst.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys backup QB situation is a concern?



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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16 Comments
  • Erie Adams

    it did cause concern before the draft for me. that is until we signed UDFA Cooper Rush Who I thought before the draft would be a huge sleeper this year

    • Brian Martin

      I like Rush, but I think he’s a year or two away before he can be a reliable backup QB in the NFL.

  • Johnman

    Kellen Moore is going to be just fine You Doubters……. Jerry believes in him… The kid has been under estimated many times before. He has that special knack and is a perfect back-up to Dak……

    • Brian Martin

      I think Kellen Moore is serviceable, but the fact the Cowboys tried to bring in Josh McCown would indicate they’re not completely satisfied with the current roster.

  • Russ_Te

    Maybe Romo has a sabbatical clause in his deal with CBS…

    Moore is lucky if he is 5′ 10″. It’s his only problem. Very smart, fast reads and playmaker moxy.

    His camp will tell a lot, and he’ll play a lot. I’m sure they will look for a veteran who’s released in the summer, but that is probably as a 3rd QB not 2nd, unless Moore looks ineffective in camp.

    Winning teams are supposed to have a proven veteran, especially in a playoffs spot ala Bernie Kosar / 1993 season. They will have a decision to make of whether to carry only 2 QB’s, or make room if the right veteran becomes available.

    2 things make it a little less of a concern IMO: Dak is young and a thick-bodied QB, and Moore actually is a veteran in the league.

    Ideal: The Cowboys get way ahead and Moore gets reps with games already decided.

    • Brian Martin

      Russ, I can’t argue with anything you said. I think they’re going to go with Kellen Moore unless he starts to struggle in training camp.

  • George_Johnson

    Brian Martin: As you know I know a lot about K Moore as I have followed him his whole career from high school until now. In terms of getting injured he has been relative injury free his whole career. I think it has something to do with his not being a runner, knowing where to move in the pocket and outside the pocket, knowing how to fall away when being sacked and having a quick release. His breaking his leg last year seems to be a complete fluke. It was at practice where the QBs are not to be touched. Also it might have been a coaching mistake as an offensive lineman was pushed into K Moore and stepped on his leg. Why?
    Since no one is going to listen to me, I would only point to Scott Linehan. S Linehan should be one of the top QB experts in the world or maybe the top expert. S Linehan has said, “K MOORE CAN PLAY IN THE NFL”. He says is arm is strong enough to play. He also said he compensates or overcomes his weaknesses with his outstanding pocket passing abilities/skills. S Linehan has worked with K Moore for going on four years, and should know him well at this point. His confidence in K Moore tells you all you need to know. As K Moore gets more experience and reps he will likely just get better as he is a student of being a QB and coach. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if K Moore outplayed D Prescott in preseason games.

    • Brian Martin

      George, your defense of Kellen Moore is admirable, but he has likely reached his peak as a QB. He will never be anything more than a backup and if not for Linehan’s devotion to him, likely wouldn’t still be in the NFL. Due to his size, he will always be a risk to injury. I don’t care if it’s in practice or a game. If thrust into action, every big hit he takes will have everybody holding their breath.

      And as to the question about why his injury was allowed to happen? It was practice and he was in there receiving his normal amount of reputations. That’s just how things fell and unfortunately he ended up on the wrong end of the stick.

      I personally don’t have a problem with Kellen Moore as a QB2 right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned. I would like to see somebody brought in to compete with him instead of handing him the job. Competition makes everybody better and Kellen Moore is no exception to the rule.

      • George_Johnson

        Brian: I tend to think competition is always good. However, what I have learned is that competition for 1st or 2nd team QB is difficult or limited. The coaches would prefer to pick one QB as the number two and another as the number three until their play dictates otherwise. The problem seems to be there are only so many reps and so many preseason games to go around so it is hard to have two QBs competing for the reps with the second team and first team that would normal go to the # 2 designated QB. In K Moore’s case this is even more true as he has limited experience with the 1st and 2nd teams for Detroit or Dallas, so they need to get him ready to play because if something happened to D Prescott, K Moore would be starting. It looks like Dallas’s plan this year is for the two undrafted QBs to compete for the 3rd team QB and K Moore to be designated 2nd team sort of like what was going to happen last year with K Moore until he got hurt. This could change if K Moore doesn’t look very good which I doubt will happen.

        • Brian Martin

          George, everything you say is true. Kellen Moore’s experience in the Cowboys offensive scheme is the reason he will likely be the QB2 in 2017. I’m okay with that, but if the Cowboys do decide to carry just two QBs on the active roster, it creates somewhat of an unknown situation. Usually when they just carry two QBs, the backup is someone that has been a proven vet with game experience. Moore doesn’t have a lot of game experience under his belt so far. He still is somewhat of an unknown. That’s really my biggest issue along with the fact that I think he susceptible to injuries due to his size.

    • Russ_Te

      I see Moore’s arm strength as slightly less than a Romo or Montana. They both rolled up big numbers without a big arm.

      It can become a problem in a game you are behind and must throw, and the safeties choke up and work the box more because they do not fear the ball deep.

      However if Moore were to be in with Dak injured, most of the time he will have good run support. That will allow him to pick apart defenses who have to honor run 1st.

      • Brian Martin

        The Cowboys having such a dominant running game might be why they haven’t brought anybody in to compete with Kellen Moore. This will be a situation I will be following closely, but if the Cowboys bring in another vet QB, that could tell all we need to know.

        • George_Johnson

          The Cowboys are not likely to bring in a vet QB unless K Moore really screws up in preseason practices/games. This is not likely to happen as K Moore has played his best NFL football in preseason games. K Moore was nicknamed “Mr August” in Detroit because of his outstanding play. He is consistent, smart, accurate, poised, and finds the open receiver, therefore there is little reason for him not to perform well unless he is being constantly pressured and can’t get to his reads or is running for his life. The only time he didn’t look like a top QB in Detroit was when he was being pressured and had to get rid of the ball very quickly and did not have time for any reads.

          • Brian Martin

            George, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the cow was brought in a vet QB. I know they like Kellen Moore, the Cowboys have always had more experienced QBs as their backup under head coach Jason Garrett. Moore has been able to stick around in the NFL, but he doesn’t have a lot of game experience under his belt. Preseason games going against roster bubble guys is a lot different than going up against the starting units. I think someone like Shaun Hill makes sense because of his past experience with Linehan. Moore would still likely be the backup, but would be pushed by someone with experience in the system. But, if he doesn’t perform well the Cowboys would have their backup plan in place with Hill.

      • George_Johnson

        I think it is a mistake if a defense thinks they can take advantage of K Moore not having a strong arm by cheating up. He is a smart QB, with good vision down field and can throw the ball pretty accurately and a long ways down field. He just has to put more air under the ball than someone with a real strong arm but if the receiver can out run the defender, the defense is likely to get burned. If you have to throw a rocket pass across the field or down the field to make the completion, then K Moore cannot do that and wouldn’t try as he knows his limitations. You need a Mathew Stafford type arm to make that kind of throw.

        • Brian Martin

          I do like the fact that Kellen Moore knows his limitations as a QB.

Star Blog

QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott Continues To Be Money In Clutch Si

Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.

Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.

There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.

One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.

Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.

This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.

Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.

He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.

For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.



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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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