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Ranking the Top 10 Quarterbacks in Dallas Cowboys History

Jess Haynie

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Troy Aikman, Tony Romo
AP Photo/James D Smith

With Tony Romo's retirement and release from the Dallas Cowboys this week, it seems a good time to look at where he stands among the all-time quarterbacks in franchise history. Based on a variety of factors, I've put together my Top-10 list for the greatest passers to ever wear The Star.

Of course, lists like these are always subjective and based on one individual's values and priorities. After reading, I hope that you will comment with your reaction and your own lists.

(All of the statistics used in this article came from Pro Football Reference.)

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10. Jason Garrett (1993-1999)

Jason Garrett, Packers

Jason Garrett

It would be easy to dismiss Garrett, a career backup, as an all-time great. However, a closer look at Jason's numbers with the Cowboys make him stand out.

During his seven years as a backup, Jason Garrett went 6-3 in games that he started in relief of Troy Aikman. That .667 winning percentage puts him near the top of all Cowboys starters. His passer rating of 83.2 is slightly above Aikman (81.6) and just below Roger Staubach (8.4).

Elevating Garrett over the rest of the pack is a single day (pictured above) that stands out in Cowboys history. As a third stringer in 1994, Garrett had to start in the Thanksgiving game against Green Bay due to injuries to both Aikman and Rodney Peete. Jason threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys stunned Brett Favre and the Packers for a 42-31 victory.

Jason Garrett was the consummate backup. He only threw five interceptions in 294 attempts, which gives him the lowest INT ratio of anyone on our list but Dak Prescott. The Cowboys' dynasty train was able to keep rolling whenever Garrett was called upon.

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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7 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    And Staubach’s comeback wins are legendary – only a Google search away. He could strap the team on his back and will a win, whereas Aikman was IMO the ultimate system QB.

    Aikman had to have talent around him – in 1996 with Irvin suspended and Emmitt Smith hurt, that became clear. But with it, he was a machine.

    The classic 1974 Thanksgiving comeback of rookie QB Clint Longley, as told by the immortal John Facenda

    ;^)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcteaJHZDF0

    • Jess Haynie

      While I get where you’re coming from, I think Aikman was essentially the offensive coordinator in 1995 and his leadership was essential in keeping guys in check during the dynasty. So much of what makes a great QB goes in in the huddle, locker room, and practice field and anyone from that era will tell how important Aikman’s presence was.

      • Russ_Te

        No doubt Aikman was a general on the team, and it was a factor. He meshed well with Jimmy Johnson’s hard-ass approach, and was at odds with Switzer’s more relaxed coaching.

        I’ve often said the similarity between Johnson and Landry was an intolerance for mediocrity, and that was Aikman also. I hope that Dak will go in that direction also as he completely assumes the mantle now. The difference between W and L, even titles, can be 1 play & who wants to make it most.

  • wconsult

    This is a great list and very accurate. I hope that Dak will be able to overtake Romo at some point in his career. Overtaking the top two will mean he had a INCREDIBLE career with the “BOYS”

    • Jess Haynie

      Thanks! Here’s a fun question; if/when Dak wins his first Super Bowl, does he automatically jump to #3 on the list?

      • John Williams

        I don’t think so. While playoff success is important, it’s also a team statistic. I’d need to see Dak have several years of playing success along with that championship.

  • John Williams

    Can’t find anything to argue with on this list.

    Dak has more to prove in order to climb higher. While Tony Romo’s numbers are all-time leading, that playoff success has to be considered, especially in context of Cowboys history. Hard to put a guy higher than 3 when he didn’t play in an NFC Championship game.

    The Danny White-Tony Romo comparison is just too accurate.

Dallas Cowboys

Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?

Jess Haynie

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Barry Church

Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?

Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?

Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.

The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.

Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.

Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.

According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.

Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.

Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.


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Dallas Cowboys

How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week

Jess Haynie

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Jaylon Smith, Eagles

It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.

With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.

Here are the current standings:

  1. Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
  3. Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
  4. New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)

The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.

At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.

So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.

Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Thankful for Cooper in Division Win Over Redskins

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.

The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.

Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).

It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.

Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.

Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.

But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.


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#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone

Kevin Brady

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.

This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.

In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.

For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.

Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.

Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.


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