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How The Cowboys Failed To Properly Backup Tony Romo

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Why Splurging For A Veteran QB Now Is A Bad Idea

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.Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Sign Veteran Quarterback Nick Foles 1

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?Cowboys Headlines - Which Games Could Kellen Moore/Dak Prescott Conceivably Win In 2016? 4

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.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. George Johnson

    August 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Kevin Brady: You keep putting down K Moore but don't have the guts to criticize S Linehan. S Linehan said K Moore can play in the NFL and he also implied he could play in his vertical offense. He said K Moore would be a good backup to T Romo. Based on your analysis, S Linehan is either incompetent in his assessment of K Moore or he is being payed off by someone or something very crazy is going on. Instead of any of this, I take S Linehan at his word and he should know having worked with K Moore for two plus years. He knows K Moore has physical limitations and can't throw the ball as hard as most NFL QBs. What he has said is the K Moore doesn't have the strongest arm in the NFL but it is STRONG ENOUGH. He also said K Moore overcomes his not having a real strong arm with accuracy, timing and uncanny anticipation. He said he doesn't have to change much when K Moore comes into the game for T Romo. He said K Moore had more 20 yards or longer throws in the Washington game then had been thrown in the previous ten games. He also said K Moore knows his limitations. All of these statements imply to me he thinks K Moore can make most of the throws in his vertical offense and can be effective in his offense. S Linehan also recognized that K Moore has some special/unique skills/abilities that are mostly intangible and that he uses these outstanding skills/abilities to overcome or compensate for his physical limitations. I hope or think K Moore will get some more chances. If he could play in S Linehan's vertical game, then he can do even better in a west coast type offense. PS: Showers and Prescott will always be able to out run and out throw K Moore, but I doubt they will ever be as good of a pocket passer as K Moore is. They will not likely be ready to play in 2016, so Dallas has no choice but to try to find a veteran QB.

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Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo Won’t Be the Next Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator

John Williams



It Is Time for the Dallas Cowboys to Move on From Tony Romo

The pipe dream has been going on since former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback-turned CBS Analyst Tony Romo hung up his cleats for the black blazer. Fans from all corners of Cowboys Nation have clamored for a return to the field or at worst the sideline as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.

Let me stop you right there. It's not happening.

First of all. He's never been a coach at any level of football, so to assume that he could leave the broadcast booth and step into coaching an NFL offense and doing so at a high level is a huge leap of faith in number 9. Sure, Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football booth for his lucrative deal with the Oakland Raiders, but he had won a Super Bowl and had been an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL for years before joining the broadcasting ranks.

Tony Romo has an excellent understanding of football. He displays it on a regular basis during the CBS broadcasts. But doing from the broadcast view, seeing what the defense is trying to do, and calling the plays to counter what the defense is trying to do are very different things.

Secondly, the coaching job would be a major time commitment that at the moment he doesn't have. Even if he's working a 40 hour work week in preparation for his three-hour time slot, the demands on NFL coaches are easily twice that with many coaches putting in 100 hour work weeks in preparation for Sundays. Tony Romo has a family that even he's talked about as part of the reason that he went into broadcasting instead of looking to hop on with another NFL team.

Finally, the job would mean a significant pay cut from what Romo is already making. It's estimated that the former Cowboys quarterback is making anywhere from $5-10 million dollars a year with CBS. Jason Garrett is making $6 million per year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, so even if the Jones family was willing to pay first-time NFL coach Tony Romo a ton of money to come out of the broadcast booth, there's zero chance they pay him what he's making as a broadcaster. To do so, would be to undercut the head coach. Jason Garrett is Jerry Jones' guy. The owner and general manager wants Garrett to be the guy that leads the Cowboys to Super Bowl success, so there's zero chance he'd pay a coordinator close to Garrett's money, which would lead to constant speculation about the head coach and his future with the organization.

I love Tony Romo. His jersey is one of only two Cowboys jerseys that I own -- along with Darren Woodson -- and I think he could make a good coach one day, but I'd be hard pressed to see him come out of the coaching booth to take a coordinator job and have immediate success. The guys that are offensive coordinators in the NFL have been grinding for years to earn their jobs. Most started as position coaches -- see Sean McVay as Redskins TE coach. The Dallas Cowboys will spend the next few days, and perhaps weeks, identifying their replacement for Scott Linehan, but let's put to bed the dream of Romo as offensive coordinator.

It's just not going to happen.

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Player News

Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie



Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back.

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!

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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams



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

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.

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