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Why Won’t The Cowboys Challenge Kellen Moore’s Job?

Kevin Brady

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Kellen Moore

Let's rewind back 365 days.

This time last year, Tony Romo was the starting quarterback, Kellen Moore was his backup, and Dak Prescott was simply a fourth rounder fighting for the third string job. Each and every fan had legitimate questions about the Cowboys QB2 job, especially considering Tony Romo's injury history.

After injuries to both Romo and Moore, it was up to Prescott to save the day. Luckily, he did just that.

A year later here we sit. Dak Prescott is now the unquestioned starter, and those questions about the backup quarterback spot have seemingly faded.

The problem still persists, however.

Kellen Moore has assumed the backup quarterback role for 2017, running unopposed throughout this entire offseason. Despite some better options being out on the free agent market, and Moore's own inconsistent play in 2015, I don't understand why we shouldn't be concerned about the Cowboys backup quarterback.

Oh, and Kellen Moore is objectively bad. Or at least he was during his short stint in 2015.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

We don't talk about how this guy is somehow the unquestioned QB2 enough https://t.co/8YrUQ56ofu

I get that Moore is a film junkie, and was a valuable asset as the inactive quarterback last season, breaking down film of opponents' defenses weeks in advance. And, I get that there is intrinsic value in this skill, and something the Cowboys coaches look for in their quarterback depth.

But the fact still remains that if relied upon to play meaningful game time, I don't believe Kellen Moore has proven he can produce. Yes, there is a ton of offensive talent around him, and you'd expect any capable quarterback to survive under these Cowboys circumstances.

But are we sure that Kellen Moore is totally capable?

I don't mean to sound as if I'm just hating on the player, as I do think he deserves a shot to be the QB2 in Dallas. But that should be a shot to compete. Preferably to compete with an established veteran who has proven they can win games at this level when called upon.

Instead, Moore is the assumed backup, with no competition in sight. So I ask, why shouldn't the Cowboys bring in some competition for Kellen Moore's job?

Why is it that other players must compete each year to have the kind of job security it seems the Cowboys have bestowed upon Moore?

If the competition was presented, and Kellen Moore beat them out, then I am totally okay with that. But to this point, no one has even been asked to challenge for Moore's position. And if it weren't for his injury, Moore would have been the week one starter in 2016.

Yes, over now Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott.



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.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Bryson Treece

    July 8, 2017 at 10:25 am

    For me, it goes back to the basic truth that if a backup QB is never going to be as good as the starter. I think Kellen Moore gets a little too busy when he’s on the field, trying to make things happen and ultimately causing more chaos than anything.

    Would I like to see a different guy there? Absolutely. Moore doesn’t fit the mold of the Cowboys QB, not now nor at anytime in the team’s history. But who is out there? The Cowboys front office clearly prefers knowledge to skill in their backup QBs. They bring in new QBs each year, usually UDFAs, as camp bodies and for preseason, and then for the practice squad.

    The Cowboys are playing the long game with Moore at QB2. They feel that when the abilities of the backup QB matter, the best approach is to simply manage the game. As far as the QB position goes, they view the backup as a tool to snap and deliver the football, not the weapon they view the starter as.

    If there were better prospects out there, I’d be all for a little competition, but name one guy with even as much skill and fit in this scheme as Moore who also has the knowledge.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • George_Johnson

      July 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

      I agree with you but I would also say K Moore has always played way better than anyone thinks he can play including the coaches. We will see what he can do in the preseason.

    • roidaho

      July 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      “Moore doesn’t fit the mold of the Cowboys QB, not now nor at anytime in the team’s history.”
      LOL, what exactly is the mold?? The cook is Linehan, plain and simple. And he holds KM with high esteem because he CAN run THIS system. That is the definition of fitting the mold. The coaches have said it. The players have said it. Why do the fans think they know more than those collecting checks from JJ?

      • Bryson Treece

        July 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm

        Because the coaches and players have only said that he fits the role they’ve given him. Meanwhile, he struggles in games. Proof is in the pudding and the coaches and players being asked by media what they think of another player is not truth, it’s being polite and not starting fires. But since you mentioned it, they only ever discuss his role, not his ability beyond that role (which is backup).

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        July 11, 2017 at 1:48 am

        The mold is a good quarterback.

  2. Brian Martin

    Brian Martin

    July 8, 2017 at 11:08 am

    The best way for Kellen Moore to contribute to the team is as a clipboard holding QB. If not for Scott Linehan’s questionable devotion to him, I doubt he would have a job in the NFL as even a QB 3. I’m just hoping that Tony Romo is somehow on speed dial. That’s the only reason why I can think of that they’re not challenging KM with another QB to back up Prescott.

    • George_Johnson

      July 8, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Brian, I think you are wrong. I also believe S Linehan thinks you are wrong. We will know more after preseason.

      • Brian Martin

        Brian Martin

        July 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm

        George, I have a hard time believing that if Kellen Moore was cut today that he would be able to find another QB job in the NFL. He hasn’t really shown anything in the NFL that would convince me that he can be successful. And I don’t care what he has done in preseason in the past either. Anybody can look good in preseason when they’re going up against players that are fighting to make a roster spot.

        I’m hoping that I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. Linehan for some reason or another is infatuated with him. But, KM has never really proven that he is anything more than a clipboard holder or QB 3, despite Linehan keeping him around in both Detroit and Dallas.

        • George_Johnson

          July 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm

          Brian: K Moore has only played in two and one half season games. I explained above what S Linehan said about his overall play. I also explained how he was thrown into playing with inadequate preparation and the fact he had never played against a 1st team defense. We will get a good dose of K Moore in preseason and then we should know some more about his ability to be the 2nd team QB. I expect him to do well against 1st and 2nd team defenses as he should be very ready. I believe if it weren’t for S Linehan, K Moore would probably have never been given much of a chance in the NFL to prove himself.

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            July 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

            George, your last sentence is exactly what I’m getting at. Linehan seems to be the only coach in the NFL that has any faith in KM. What does he see that the rest of the coaches around the NFL doesn’t? Like you said though, we will see once preseason gets underway. But, I still believe they should’ve upgraded the backup QB position.

          • George_Johnson

            July 9, 2017 at 5:42 pm

            Brian: I think the other coaches see a QB that is too small and does not have a strong arm and cannot run. They would pass on K Moore and look for a more prototypical sized QB. However, S Linehan looks past K Moore’s physical limitations and sees a master at pocket passing who he thinks has skills/abilities that will allow him to compensate or overcome his physical limitations to be able to play in the NFL at least at 2nd team.

  3. George_Johnson

    July 8, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Wow, where do I start. I am a long time K Moore follower and have read just about everything said about him. Without getting into the details of K Moore’s strengths and weaknesses, I will just say the bottom line is you don’t believe or trust Scott Linehan concerning K Moore. S Linehan who should be one of the top QB experts in the world has said K Moore can play in the NFL. He has said his arm is strong enough. That he compensates for his physical limitations with his pocket passing skills/abilities. He has also said he knows his limitations. Most of the doubt about K Moore is not his actual play but that he doesn’t look like a prototypical NFL QB and does not have a real strong arm. S Linehan has been with K Moore now for several years so why can’t the sports writers and fans take the word of an expert until proven otherwise?

    Most of the criticism of K Moore is throw at his performance in 2015. In 2015 K Moore was thrown into playing first team QB. He had limited reps to get ready, was new to the Dallas team/offense/playbook, had NEVER played against first team defenses in his NFL career and had missed TC/preseason. K Moore actually played well in many ways but made too many mistakes. His results and statistics don’t tell the whole story. There are other factors going on such as how good the defense played against K Moore, how well the receivers ran their routes, how well the line protected, etc. Here is what S Linehan said after the two games K Moore started:

    “Kellen did a great job,” Linehan said. “We had four quarterbacks play almost 20% of the playtime this year, which is maybe a first. But he really did. His first start was in Buffalo. They got a great defense. We were actually in great position to win the game, and some things didn’t go our way in the fourth quarter. But he played really, really well.

    “We had a rough start to our final game, had some turnovers early. The last three quarters that Kellen played, I was really proud. I think he ended up with maybe one of the six best passing days in Cowboys history, or something like that, in a regular-season game, as far as yards and production. For your second start, that’s a good start.

    “I think we’re excited about his future and moving forward and, now that he’s able to get a good off-season and training camp with us, hopefully, it will give him a little more of a head start. He was having to come in and adjust to a lot of things. He did a great job of that.”

    As far as competition for the 2nd team QB. This would take from getting K Moore ready to play and would take from his reps/playing time in preseason. Most teams would prefer to have a incumbent 2nd team QB rather than having a competition. If K Moore can’t handle it in preseason games, they will surely start looking for another veteran QB to bring in. They think they have their 2nd team QB and I do to, so they are not concerned about it now. K Moore should be ready and eager to prove himself. I expect him to play well in preseason and maintain his hold on the 2nd team QB position. If he has to come into season games for D Prescott, I also expect him to do well especially playing in the potent offense that Dallas has. He is a game manager and can run a very good short to intermediate passing game that would complement Dallas’s other offensive strengths.

  4. Matthew Harrell

    July 8, 2017 at 11:41 am

    The reason is this: Jerry’s Bat Phone only dials 9 and it calls Tony Romo.

  5. Travis Diggs

    July 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Two words, Scott Linehan. If Kellen moore was released today, he couldn’t even make the Browns roster. Moore will have a job as long as Linehan is here. I would love to see his value on the open market if he was released. As for him beating out Dak last year if he was healthy. The writers on the website should be drug tested, Does anybody really see him beating out anybody on Cleveland’s roster. Lets be real here

    • George_Johnson

      July 8, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Travis Diggs: I believe K Moore would have been starting last year if he had not got hurt. After all he was the designated 2nd team QB going into preseason. I think he would have done well enough to retain this position especially with the support and confidence of S Linehan. He would have started when T Romo went down and also would have had a lot of success during the season, sort of like D Prescott. K Moore is a good fit for the Dallas offense and its strengths. K Moore has some of the same strengths as D Prescott; accurate, composed, smart decisions, finding the open receiver, and good game manager. The short to intermediate passing game would have been strong. I doubt D Prescott would ever have gotten off the bench. I am gald D Prescott did play or we may not have known who the next franchise QB is going to be at this point.

    • roidaho

      July 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      They wont give him a chance to beat him simply because he doesn’t fit “the proto qb”. So to say he cant truly doesn’t mean shit. That’s what its been all along. He has gotten better since day 1 and can likely do fine given some time to improve. All you dolts think every QB should be ready to go day 1. Look at the Goff kid. It takes time and REPS, which he hasn’t gotten. The truth is, you don’t have any idea of how good he is, he hasn’t had the chance, so quit acting so damn smug. The fact that YOU are sitting here contradicting professional coaches and players is truly making you look just as stupid as the others. They know the game, you watch it sparky.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        July 12, 2017 at 2:51 am

        He would have been given a chance to start had he not gotten hurt, but two weeks into the season when he wasn’t performing, the team would have gone to Dak.

  6. Michael Denney

    July 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Obviously you folks have never watched any Boise State Games with KM at quarterback!!

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      July 11, 2017 at 1:51 am

      College isn’t the NFL.

      Ask Tim Tebow. Ask Danny Wuerfell. Ask Ryan Leaf. Ask any number of Texas Tech quarterbacks who never made it in the NFL. Ask Chris Leak. Ask Geno Smith. Ask EJ Manuel. Ask Christian Ponder. Ask Jake Locker.

      There literally a boatload of quarterbacks who were great in college who didn’t work out as pros. Literally a boatload.

  7. HonestyandRealityGuy

    July 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    The author does not appear to know football. At times, Moore’s play has been fantastic (ask the players). His pedigree of winning is undisputed, even being the winningest QB in college football history. Although he played for a small school, he was undefeated against the bigs from Oregon to Georgia (PAC 12 to SEC). Admittedly, he is the son of a coach and knows how to watch/translate film and defenses. I believe he is a great back up and maybe able to start on several NFL teams.

  8. jehozebub

    July 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I like how you quote your Tweet with the one solitary “like”
    Not a single person who has followed Kellen Moore’s career and also studies football shares your concerns! Including every other reporter in Dallas!

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      July 11, 2017 at 2:04 am

      LOL. Did I just get called out in the comment section in an Article I didn’t write? Excellent. I must be doing something right.

      There aren’t many. Romo and Warner played at small schools were no names. They didn’t have any spotlight coming out of college.

      Kellen Moore had a ton of publicity coming out of college because of the success he had in college. But just because he was successful in college doesn’t mean he will be a successful pro.

      There is a reason that very few quarterbacks who are drafted outside of the first round pan out. They don’t have the tools to play the position at the NFL Level.

      While arm strength isn’t everything, it matters. It’s important to throw the ball to the right places, but with the aggressiveness, quickness, and awareness of NFL Linebackers and defensive backs, you have to be able to get the ball to your spot quickly.

      Moore was the definition of a system quarterback at Boise. A great system, mind you, that was able to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but he was a product of the system that relied on short timing routes that was able to mask his arm strength deficiencies.

      If you can’t push the ball down the football field to stretch the defense, hit five and ten yard out routes with consistency, NFL Defenses will be able to sit underneath and to the inside anticipating every slant, drag, curl, and in route that you run. Not a recipe for success.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" 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

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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