Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Scouting Report: Luke McCown A Welcome Backup QB For Cowboys

Sean Martin

Published

on

Scouting Report: Luke McCown A Welcome Backup QB For Cowboys

In need of QB depth with four days before their first preseason game of 2017, the Dallas Cowboys signed veteran backup quarterback Luke McCown and waived the injured Zac Dysert.

McCown did not appear in a game in 2016 as a Saint, his third year backing up Drew Brees and fifth team overall after being drafted by the Browns in 2004.

Winding the clock back to 2015 though - to McCown's lone start against the formidable Carolina Panthers - there is a legitimate chance the Cowboys not only added their experienced camp arm but a candidate for the primary backup QB spot  behind Dak Prescott this season.

Here is what I saw from Luke McCown on the tape.

McCown1 - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

McCown kept the Saints in this game against the Panthers by doing what any backup QB should be expected to - stay within the offense and execute a game plan.

Setting himself up in the pocket to deliver passes with touch and accuracy was not a problem for McCown, almost to a fault at certain times as I would have liked to see him climb the pocket more and generate more zip on the ball.

Even still, McCown overcomes both velocity issues and a lengthy throwing motion to get through his progressions and consistently hit receivers in stride.

The short and intermediate game is where McCown will settle nicely into Scott Linehan's offense, as he'll hit his targets out of breaks with a sharp pre-snap understanding of the defense in front of him.

McCown3 - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

When asked to push the ball down the field, McCown expectedly was short on a few shots, but more times than not completed the ball to all fields with the slight movement skills in the pocket to create throwing lanes and set his feet.

McCown2 - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This final throw that I'll show here from McCown is an example of the good and bad that you live with in your backup signal caller. The mechanics and setup are far from perfect, but Luke completes a deep out route to move the chains against tight coverage.

These are simply not plays that penciled-in backup Kellen Moore has made with the Cowboys in his opportunities that will continue into this five game preseason for Dallas. What will help Moore is that McCown's best backup play remains from 2015, meaning he is two years removed from meaningful reps.

With the accuracy, mobility, and mental edge to back up Dak Prescott, I expect McCown to push Moore significantly over the coming weeks until the team must decide which to keep - not expected to carry three quarterbacks with depth better applied elsewhere on the Cowboys' roster.

Tell us what you think about "Scouting Report: Luke McCown A Welcome Backup QB For Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. John Williams

    John Williams

    July 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

    First. And since I’m the first, let me be the first to say that I am extremely excited about this.

    That last throw is what I needed to see to be excited. The deep out route is what can earn McCown this job.

    Moore is limited as well downfield, but also doesn’t have much experience to help a team should somethin unfortunate happen.

    McCown will have a learning curve to catchup in the playbook, but he’s the backup I’ve been hoping for them to sign this offseason. If Sean Payton is comfortable enough to let you be the backup to Drew Brees for three years, that’s good enough for me.

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      July 30, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Thanks as always for reading, John. The last point here about Payton is spot on when it comes to McCown. There’s a trust he’s clearly built with coaches that goes beyond the physical elements of playing QB – the mindset that is so important in backup quarterbacks. Luke can do nothing but help this QB room just as Sanchez did last year, and some of the skills are there to at least give this offense a chance without #4.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        August 3, 2017 at 1:31 am

        Absolutely. With as much as the Saints love to throw the ball around, you need to have a backup that can step in and execute the game plan and provide as seamless a transition as possible. McCown isn’t Drew Brees, but trust plays a huge role in putting any player on the field. This is why Lucky is no longer with us. The team lost faith in him.

    • George_Johnson

      July 30, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Kellen Moore not having much experience is probably not much of a problem. S Linehan has called him a veteran. S Linehan has said he doesn’t need many reps since he knows exactly what to do. Since he has been playing QB since he could walk his dad was a coach and he was totally absorbed studying, practicing and playing QB relentlessly, I think his total experience is way beyond anyone in the NFL that has only played in three season games.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        August 3, 2017 at 1:30 am

        A veteran equals not a rookie. Anyone with 1 year or more is considered a veteran.

        Playing instinctively is good, but you also have to have the talent to do so. I have good instincts for Goalie in Lacrosse, but I’m not good enough to play at the professional level.

        It’s great that he’s been studying and playing quarterback all of his life, but you also have to have the arm talent to play the position. When it is all said and done, Kellen Moore will likely make a great coach in College or the NFL, but as a player, not so much.

  2. George_Johnson

    July 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Dream on Sean. You continue to under estimate Kellen Moore and don’t know a lot about K Moore’s skills/abilities. Quit judging him by the fact he looks like the equipment manager or an administrator on the team rather than an NFL QB. Start judging him by what S Linehan says. K Moore is the 2nd team QB for 2017, period. He will get the 2nd team reps and 2nd team preseason play. In order for him to lose this position he is going to have to start screwing up. This is not likely. He should be very ready at this point and this is his only opportunity to shine. I expect him to play well in preseason games and shut up his critics.

    McCown will have to learn the Dallas offense/playbook/game plans/Linehan thinking/receivers strengths and weaknesses/etc. It will take him some time. He will get the 3rd or 4th team reps and 3rd or 4th team preseason playing time. Most likely the earliest he would be able to be considered for 2nd team backup would be sometime during the regular season. So explain to me why the Dallas coaches would decide during the season to move McCown ahead of K Moore? The only thing I can think of is if Prescott got hurt and K Moore started at QB and kept screwing up. K Moore is not likely to lose the 2nd team QB position sitting on the bench. The earliest we are likely to see McCown at 2nd team if he turns out to be really good is most likely in 2018. IMO he will have to be really good to pass K Moore.

    K Moore is a master at pocket passing but with serious physical limitations. I had some doubts myself until one of the top QB experts in the world if not THE top QB expert ( i.e. Scott Linehan) says he can play in the NFL and that his arm is strong enough. He also said he compensate for his physical limitations with his outstanding pocket passing skills/abilities to get the job done. He also said he knows his limitations and does not try to make throws his arm will not allow him to. He recently described him as a machine. K Moore’s college coach (i.e. C Peterson) said and I quote, ” K Moore IS THE BEST POCKET PASSER I HAVE EVER SEEN.”

    • Willie Rogers

      July 31, 2017 at 10:46 am

      I expect K.Moore to crumble and falter, this guy already proved he don’t belong, I seen enough in 2015 and im convinced L.McCown will beat him out even though I wish the cowboys would get rid of both of them and sign Michael Vick.

      • George_Johnson

        July 31, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        K Moore is the designated 2nd team QB so there won’t be any competition unless K Moore screws up big time and doesn’t play well overall. Therefore McCown will not likely get any chance at all at 2nd team QB. Unless Dallas keeps three QBs on the 53 man roster, McCown will likely be gone by the end of preseason.

        In 2015 when K Moore was playing for two and one half games, he was new to the Dallas offense/playbook, had never played against first team defense and had limited reps to get ready to play. S Linehan considering all the circumstances thought K Moore played well overall but did admit he made too many mistakes. I think you will see a big improvement in 2017 preseason as K Moore should be more than ready now and has a lot to prove. He is also known for not making mistakes or throwing interceptions so he is likely to clean this up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley Wants Bigger Role, Blames Front Office

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cole Beasley

With free agency on the horizon, Cole Beasley isn't pulling any punches about his dissatisfaction with his role in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Could this have him wanting a change of scenery in 2019?

Today, Beasley made some big statements on his personal Twitter account. The first was only an appetizer.

Cole Beasley on Twitter

Utilization is more important than money. https://t.co/qP8XoR6uBu

One has to think that Cole sees the success players with his skills have had in a system like New England's, or even just other more proficient passing offenses, and thinks he could do even more elsewhere.

But even when it was suggested that the firing of Scott Linehan could bring some new opportunities for Beasley in Dallas, the receiver dropped this bomb.

Cole Beasley on Twitter

Honestly, the front office pushes who they want to get the ball to. I haven't been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I'm not sure. More balls come my way in 2 minute drill where nothing is planned. https://t.co/ioih9BJJv1

Well, there's no denying his frustration there.

Some might be confused by this, given that Beasley was the most-targeted receiver or tight end in the 2018 offense. Only Ezekiel Elliott got more passes thrown his way.

However, Cole's role did diminish once Amari Cooper showed up. And in the Cowboys' playoff loss to the Rams, Beasley only got two targets the whole game. Cooper and Michael Gallup got nine targets each.

You could see where there was some executive agenda behind getting Cooper and Gallup the ball. Dallas wanted their trade of a first-round pick for Amari to be validated. They also are invested in Michael as a future starter. What Cole said isn't without merit.

Despite what he tweeted, though, Beasley did say that he was open to returning to the Cowboys.

Cole Beasley on Twitter

Doesn't mean I'm gone. I'll play anywhere where I can make more of an impact. I would love for that to be Dallas or anywhere else that will give me more pops to make an impact. I just wanna ball. It's hard with 3 to 4 opps a game. https://t.co/zImZKxkAvD

So no, it's not time to put your Beasley jerseys on eBay just yet. But given these comments, it's clear that Cole is looking for more than money in his contract.

Will the Cowboys have a satisfying answer for him? And if Beasley does want a bigger role, will he also want to be paid closer to what he thinks he's worth?

It's easy to say it's not about money, but the two really do go hand in hand.

Free agency may not open until March 13th, but Cole Beasley is already showing his cards. How will the Dallas Cowboys respond?



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowlers Show Promise for Future

Sean Martin

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowlers Show Promise for Future

The next class of players to join the Dallas Cowboys may be on the field at Mobile, Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl, but their young core is well represented in front of the Cowboys coaching staff at the Pro Bowl.

With Left Tackle Tyron Smith and Right Guard Zack Martin not participating, the Cowboys have six Pro Bowl participants. The improved health of their offensive line is still one of the best things going for this team in the early part of the offseason, expecting four-time Pro Bowl Center Travis Frederick to rejoin Smith and Martin as soon as OTAs.

A compilation of the best linemen in the NFC will have to do for Quarterback Dak Prescott and Running Back Ezekiel Elliott - making their second Pro Bowl appearance together. It took the addition of Wide Receiver Amari Cooper for the Cowboys offense to find their expected form under Prescott and Elliott in their third season, as Cooper will appear in his fourth Pro Bowl in as many years.

Both times Elliott's made the Pro Bowl, he's done so as the league's rushing champion.

Hardly on track to reach Orlando with the Oakland Raiders, Cooper put up 725 yards and six touchdowns on 53 catches in nine regular season games for the Cowboys. He followed up this resurgent performance with seven catches for 106 yards in the Wild Card Round vs. the Seahawks and six for 65 and a touchdown at the Rams in the Divisional Round.

The Cowboys shouldn't be done adding talent at wide receiver, with Cooper serving as the bold reminder of what Prescott can do with dynamic talent on the outside. Moving on from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan already this offseason, the next steps towards building the offense around Dak's strengths is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, their established strengths will be on display, and not just on offense at the Pro Bowl. Making strides as one of the best young defenses in the league this season, Cowboys rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will be joined by Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and Cornerback Byron Jones.

Though its unlikely their coaching will match the intensity of the season, the best thing these three defenders have going for them is more time under Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. One of Richard's first moves with the Cowboys was moving Jones to cornerback, where he became a first-time Pro Bowler.

Unable to reach his full athletic potential at safety, Jones was the elite corner the Cowboys needed at a position still in need of depth. His length and range should make him a fixture in Richard's secondary for a long time.

Vander Esch becomes the 11th Cowboys rookie to make a Pro Bowl, the third on the defensive side of the ball. Surely the Wolf Hunter will look forward to another week of football, going from eight man HS player to one-year starter at Boise State and finally a Cowboys fixture at linebacker.

The Cowboys did what was thought to be proved impossible this season by fielding a competent defense (mostly) without Sean Lee. Vander Esch and teammate Jaylon Smith deserve the credit here, with Leighton making a larger immediate impact than ever expected as the 19th overall pick.

Last but nowhere near least is DeMarcus Lawrence, much closer to the Cowboys top priority in free agency this offseason than an afterthought at his second Pro Bowl. Putting together consecutive seasons with at least ten sacks, the Cowboys don't have to see anything further from their top pass rusher to do whatever it takes to re-sign him.

The rest of the Cowboys "Hot Boyz" have a lot of potential and promise, but Lawrence is a rare proven commodity at defensive end with 25 sacks in his last 32 games. Rushing the passer in the Pro Bowl is a relatively futile task, but the Cowboys know Lawrence is capable of saving his best plays for the biggest moments. Also a dominant run defender, there simply shouldn't be a reality where the Cowboys are forced to field a defense without Lawrence at left end in 2019 and beyond.

The Cowboys at the Pro Bowl will tell you they'd prefer to be missing the game in preparation for the Super Bowl. Getting within two games of this feat after a 3-5 start is still impressive enough for the Cowboys to feel great about their future, in large part because of the six players representing America's Team this week.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowlers Show Promise for Future" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Handing out Hardware for the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

John Williams

Published

on

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Resilience Earns Prescott's 1st Playoff Win, Trip to Divisional Round

The 2018 NFL season for the Dallas Cowboys was literally a roller coaster ride with as many ups and downs as the Texas Giant. Through the first seven games of the season the Cowboys alternated home wins with road losses to get to 3-4. They made as big of a personnel move as they've made in recent years when they traded for Amari Cooper only to all to 3-5 in his debut on Monday Night Football to the Tennessee Titans.

Then the team went on an improbably five game winning streak to put themselves in position to win the NFC East for the third time in five years by mid December. The Cowboys were able to pick up the win in the wild card round over the Seattle Seahawks before being ousted by Todd Gurley, C.J. Anderson, and the Los Angeles -- battering -- Rams' offensive line.

The season always ends with a little disappointment for 31 of the NFL's 32 teams, but this year felt different at the end because of where they were to start the season and after eight games. After the Tennessee game, this team was written off. They were Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. They stormed back and made the 2018 season a memorable one, even if it didn't end with a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Let's give out some post season awards to your Dallas Cowboys.

MVP

Dak Prescott, Quarterback

Many will scoff at this choice and think it could be Ezekiel Elliott, and I understand, but nobody had a greater impact on the Dallas Cowboys making the playoffs and winning their matchup with the Seattle Seahawks than Dak Prescott did.

Over the final eight games of the season, Dak averaged 278 passing yards per game, 2 total touchdowns, and threw only three interceptions. His numbers down the stretch over a 16 game pace were phenomenal. On 71.6% passing, he was on pace for 4,450 yards, 24 passing touchdowns, eight rushing touchdowns, only six interceptions on the season, with a passer rating of 103.4.

John Williams ✭ on Twitter

Not to make this about Dak, but I'm going to make this about Dak. 2nd in success rate, 3rd in EPA and EPA/play among playoff QBs. #CowboysNation https://t.co/Evyf73uzJ9

His play in the win over the Seattle Seahawks was instrumental in getting the victory to move on to the divisional round. Though they fell short against the Los Angeles Rams, Dak was able to bring them back from 16 down early in the second half to make it a one score game in the end.

Dak Prescott is still a developing player, and in reality, all players are trying to grow their game. Every season. Prescott is a good quarterback, who is on his way to being great and we saw this season the potential that he has.

He threw for a career high 455 yards against the Eagles and three touchdowns and then threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns against the New York Giants. There's evidence now that Dak can throw the ball, and that should scare teams.

In the playoffs, Prescott stepped up and was a big reason why the Cowboys beat the Seahawks and hung in there against the Rams.

Offensive Player of the Year

Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back

Three years, two rushing titles, and it almost seemed like a "meh" season for Ezekiel Elliott. Sure he had some big games, but only a couple times this season did it feel like Elliott took over the game. Some of that is due to the offensive line injuries and inconsistencies, but some of that may be due to Elliott who saw a much bigger workload than he had in his career to date.

He was much more actively involved in the passing game this season as he more than doubled his previous career high with 77 receptions for 567 yards. Though he won the rushing title, this was the lowest rushing yards per game he's had in his short three-year career. Elliott only scored nine touchdowns this season, which tied with his 2017 total that he accrued in only 10 games.

Elliott struggled some in the red zone because the team struggled in the red zone. Some of those issues related to the offensive line and some because of the play calling, but you'd hope that Elliott would be able to overcome some of that where it mattered most.

Defensive Player of the Year

DeMarcus Lawrence, Defensive End

No player on defense has a bigger impact for the Dallas Cowboys than Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence. Whether it's in the run game or the passing game, DeMarcus Lawrence is elite in both categories and makes life incredibly difficult on the opposing offense.

On the season he had 10.5 sacks, finishing with double-digit sacks for the second year in a row. While that may not be as impressive as his 2017 total of 14.5, he was doing his thing with much less help along the defensive line. There wasn't another player who flirted with double-digit sacks this season. Though Randy Gregory, Maliek Collins, and Tyrone Crawford performed well, teams gave all of their attention to Lawrence in both the run and pass game.

And he was still amazingly effective.

Lawrence finished fifth among EDGE players -- 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebackers -- in tackles, fourth in the NFL in Pro Football Focus' "stops" measure with 44, and 15th in total pressures. Pro Football Focus ranked Lawrence as the seventh best EDGE defender, ninth best pass rusher, and the 12th best run defender. J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack were the only other EDGE defenders who ranked in the top 12 as both a pass rusher and run defender per Pro Football Focus.

DeMarcus Lawrence is heading into the offseason looking to get a long-term deal done.

Rookie of the Year

Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker

While Connor Williams and Michael Gallup had really good starts to their NFL career's no rookie for the Dallas Cowboys was as impressive as 19th overall pick Leighton Vander Esch. He led the Dallas Cowboys in tackles and "stops" and had the second highest grade of any defender as graded by Pro Football Focus.

In tackles, he was second only to future Hall of Fame inductee Luke Keuchly and fellow rookie Darius Leonard. Vander Esch did all this while playing a limited number of snaps as the Dallas Cowboys eased him in at the start of the season and then attempted to find a way to have Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee on the field together.

It was an impressive year for the former Boise St. Bronco and the sky is the limit for Vander Esch. He's now played just his second season as a starter in 11-man football. If you remember, he didn't start for Boise St. till the 2017 season and had played 8-man football in high school.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of progression Vander Esch can make to his game in 2019. He's going to be a great player.

Most Improved Player

Jaylon Smith, Linebacker

The 2017 season was not kind to Jaylon Smith. It was his first attempt at playing football since January of 2016 when he tore his ACL in the Fiesta Bowl. It was amazing that he was even playing, though he didn't play considerably well.

2018, however, was a different story.

Jaylon Smith could make a case for team MVP. He may not have had as many tackles as Vander Esch, or as many sacks, but by playmaking defensive EPA, he was nearly as effective at making big plays on defense as DeMarcus Lawrence.

Cowboys Stats & Graphics on Twitter

Overall playmaking EPA rank among all NFL defenders: 5. DeMarcus Lawrence 7. Jaylon Smith 58. Leighton Vander Esch

EPA measures the effect a play will have on the score. Not all plays are weighted the same, as some weigh heavier because of down and distance, turnovers, etc. Jaylon Smith had an excellent season for the Dallas Cowboys and looks to be the guy that they thought he would be when they selected him at the top of the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Having Smith and Vander Esch roaming around the middle of the field for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward is huge. They're excellent at moving in space and are excellent definitions of "sideline to sideline" players.

Jaylon Smith is one of the players I'm already looking forward to watching again in the 2019 season.

Comeback Player of the Year

Randy Gregory, Defensive End

After sitting out all but two games of the 2016 season and all of last season, Randy Gregory came back this season and had a good year. With only one sack in his career heading into the 2018 season, Gregory had a nice comeback year with five sacks and finished tied for second on the team with 37 pressures according to Pro Football Focus. According to Pro Football Reference, Gregory was second on the team in tackles for loss.

The Cowboys have Randy Gregory under contract for the 2019 season for just under $1 million.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys have a lot to feel optimistic about as they look to roster build this offseason in preparation of the 2019 season. They have several ascending players playing key roles for them. This team looks primed to contend again in 2019.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending