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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

16 Comments

  1. Erie Adams

    May 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

    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

      Brian Martin

      May 3, 2017 at 9:22 am

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

  2. Johnman

    May 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

    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

      Brian Martin

      May 3, 2017 at 11:23 am

      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.

  3. Russ_Te

    May 3, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    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

      Brian Martin

      May 4, 2017 at 10:08 am

      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.

  4. George_Johnson

    May 4, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    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

      Brian Martin

      May 4, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      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

        May 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        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

          Brian Martin

          May 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm

          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

      May 4, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      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

        Brian Martin

        May 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

        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

          May 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm

          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

            Brian Martin

            May 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

            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

        May 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm

        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

          Brian Martin

          May 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

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

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Smiley N. Pool / The Dallas Morning News

Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?

Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.

Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli Should Be On The Hot Seat

Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli

El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.

Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.

Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.

Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.

En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.

Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Dallas Cowboys OC Scott Linehan (Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports)

Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan

Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.

Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.

A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.

Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.

Jerry Jones Delivers Vote of Confidence in "Real Deal" Jason Garrett

Head Coach Jason Garrett

El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.

Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.

Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.

Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.

Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches" 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

2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL's Top 10 Rookies

As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.

It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.

Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.

No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.

Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.

There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.

Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.

Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.



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What Is The Cowboys Most Pressing Offseason Need?

Kevin Brady

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Finishing their season with a Division Round loss, Dallas Cowboys fans are getting a somewhat late start on the 2019 offseason. Of course, we'd much rather a later start, but the results are what they are.

Now Dallas must get better, and re-tool before heading into Dak Prescott's fourth season, and the Cowboys' 2019 campaign. Though they didn't feel all that close to a championship this season, looking around the roster, it's actually tough to identify one key need the Cowboys must address.

They are filled with young, talented players that they have high hopes for across the board. And in the places they are "older," such as across the offensive line, they have established veterans who aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

So what is the Cowboys' most pressing offseason need?

Well, despite already using their 2019 first round pick to address it, the answer very well might be wide receiver.

Adding Amari Cooper midseason provided a massive jolt to the Cowboys previously anemic passing attack, but on his own he is not enough to take this passing game to where it needs to be to compete in this new NFL.

Third round pick Michael Gallup is going to be a very good pro, and progressed really well as his rookie season went on. I think he can play opposite Amari Cooper nicely, and be the number two option in the passing game going forward.

Though arguably their best wide out against man coverage, Cole Beasley is a free agent, and if the reports are true about Scott Linehan returning in 2019 it could very well mean Beasley will not be opting to sign back with Dallas.

Regardless of Beasley's decision, however, the Cowboys need to seriously evaluate their pass catchers heading into next season.

This is a passing league. The rules have dictated that you must be able to pass the ball efficiently if you want to compete with the best of the best around the NFL. To take the next step in their progression, and reach an NFC title game and/or Super Bowl, Dak Prescott will need to have as explosive a group of pass catchers as possible.

The Cowboys have already taken solid steps to making this a reality, but another move or two this offseason could go a long way to putting Dallas in the conversation with teams like the Rams and the Saints in 2019.



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