The Dallas Cowboys are without a viable option at backup quarterback for 2016.
After Kellen Moore suffered a broken fibula during practice Tuesday evening, this statement was true. Left now for the Cowboys are a fourth round rookie quarterback in Dak Prescott and a player who spent most of his 2015 season on the practice squad in Jameill Showers.
If Tony Romo were to go down for any real period of time, it won’t bode well for the Cowboys.
Yes, after Moore’s injury these statements are all true, but before the Cowboys even opened camp all of these statements were true.
The Cowboys were resigned to believing in Kellen Moore as the backup quarterback. They were resigned to this reality despite the overwhelming evidence which told us Moore was not the answer. They decided to throw their hands in the air and say “well, I guess it’s Kellen Moore’s job” despite lackluster performances from Moore during the final three games of last season. But most importantly, they were willing to resign themselves to Kellen Moore in large part because of the complete lack of affordable and viable options elsewhere.
Prior to joining Inside The Star, I detailed my elaborate plan for the Cowboys to sign Colt McCoy this offseason. McCoy was a favorite of mine during his time at the University of Texas, and he had proven that he could, at the very least, operate an NFL offense when called upon. McCoy had come into Dallas, during that 2014 season we all lust over, and won. In doing so, he had won over a lot of Cowboys Nation who hoped he’d return to Texas in a new capacity this offseason.
Then Colt McCoy re-signed with the Washington Redskins, and my plan was destroyed.
Many Cowboys fans looked towards the NFL draft as the place where the Cowboys could not only add a legitimate backup quarterback, but also an heir to Tony Romo’s throne. Other immediate needs at different positions got in the way, Stephen Jones refused to “overpay” for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, and the Cowboys went without a quarterback for the first three rounds.
Now it’s August.
Training camps are open, the Hall of Fame game is right around the corner, and we are only days away from the first “game” week of the 2016 NFL season.
And the Dallas Cowboys are still without a backup quarterback. Or at least we think so.
All signs now point towards the addition of a “veteran” quarterback who could have six weeks to learn the offense and serve as a viable backup to Tony Romo in 2016. Nick Foles is the name everyone is throwing out there. Nick Foles. The player who when we last saw him was being benched in favor of Case Keenum, and the player who’s team basically paid him to get out of town.
Yes, you could point to his (miraculous) 2013 season where he threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions averaging a little over 10 yards per attempt, but I would argue that was more of an exception than the rule of his ability. I would also argue that the numbers lie a bit about that 2013 season. The eye test told me Foles wasn’t very good, but things just happened to bounce his way for much of that year.
But Foles has done it before. Foles has been in the league since 2012 and has started in 35 games. That’s 35 more than any of the current healthy quarterbacks the Cowboys have not-named Romo. But if the Cowboys were okay with relying on Moore come an emergency this season, then should they really be in a hurry to spend for a veteran quarterback?
Is the answer on the roster?
Those who have been around Cowboys camp so far have all come away saying the same thing; Moore might be the worst of all four of the Cowboys quarterbacks, especially when it comes to arm strength.
Blogging The Boys’ Landon McCool noted that Moore was significantly behind the other quarterbacks in terms of arm strength and velocity. Dallas Cowboys’ writer and former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus also noted Moore’s lack of arm strength during the early days of training camp.
If all of this is true, then why not give Jameill Showers and Dak Prescott a chance to earn the backup job? If this team was totally fine with settling for Kellen Moore, then why the need to jump on every available free agent quarterback for an interview now?
The Cowboys offense relies heavily on the threat of pushing the ball deep down the field at any time. Without said threat, this offense cannot open the field and they struggle to move the ball at all. Moore cannot make those throws which can take the top off of a defense. He simply can’t. Showers and Prescott, albeit in a very small sample size, seem be stronger in this area. Does that mean they will be able to command an NFL offense? Not necessarily, but I do believe it is at least worth a try.
The Cowboys are going to sign a veteran quarterback to be the backup in 2016. I think this is basically fact at this point. However, it is just another example of this organization being reactionary and making moves when it is too late. The Cowboys front office failed to be proactive enough in their search for a backup quarterback, and seem to be living in a fantasy world where Romo is invincible and pass rush doesn’t exist.
Backup quarterback should have been addressed months ago, so when it finally does get addressed this week, don’t celebrate this team for making the move. They should’ve had this matter settled in April.