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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 am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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22 Comments
  • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

    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

      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

      “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?

      • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

        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

        The mold is a good quarterback.

  • Brian Martin

    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

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

      • Brian Martin

        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

          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

            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

            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.

  • George_Johnson

    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.

  • Matthew Harrell

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

  • Travis Diggs

    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

      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

      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

        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.

  • Michael Denney

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

    • John Williams

      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.

  • HonestyandRealityGuy

    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.

  • jehozebub

    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

      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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Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

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Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

It doesn’t take a lot to cause an overreaction in the NFL, and fans and the media alike can be very fickle. Thus, when the Dallas Cowboys were beaten by the Carolina Panthers in week one the discussions surrounding their title credentials began, and even more so because Dak Prescott and his Cowboys offense was only able to score 8 points. He left the stadium still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season and wondering what went wrong.

By all accounts, Prescott wasn’t great, and his quarterback rating of 81.1 reflects that. His performance left the fans concerned and some asserting there were no shades of the Prescott of 2016. Nonetheless, a quarterback has to be helped by his offensive line, and allowing him to get sacked six times shows that improvement is needed up front.

In week 2, against the New York Giants, Prescott started the game with a booming 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavon Austin on the first series of the game. It was a play four whole quarters of football in the making and made fans explode in celebration following the lackluster performance against CAR. Prescott's rating jumped to 95.4 and he wasn't sacked during the contest. Even still, he threw the ball for 10 fewer yards than in week 1 and was 1.5% less on his completion percentage too.

Prescott’s best defense is the Cowboys' lack of stand-out wide receivers. The loss of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant – neither of whom has adequately been replaced – is the biggest cause of this perceived fall from grace. Those departures have undeniably created a problem, but one that many great quarterbacks over the years have managed to overcome.

While the doom and gloom felt by Cowboys Nation after week 1 has abated some with a victory over New York, for a franchise that has enjoyed the often wow-worthy play of Tony Romo, Dak Prescott has a way to go yet, to say the least.

Dak Prescott's Top 10 Plays of the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 Season

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

The current situation is difficult for the Cowboys, but there are also psychological mitigations. One of these is their presence in a division with the reigning Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles.

This has long since put the Cowboys on the back foot in the futures betting markets, with an average moneyline price of +210 that makes them the least likely team to win the NFC East division. Unlike betting on individual games themselves, the futures market is a starker reflection of a team's form, rather than the more reactionary moneyline prices on individual games.

Criticism, from experts and fans alike, always intensifies after a defeat, and starting the season off at 1-1 isn't always enough to overcome said criticism. So too will the moneyline price of the Cowboys besting the Eagles lengthen, although the rewards for keeping faith in the Cowboys to do that – if they somehow do – will be all the more greater if they proceed to underachieve.

NFC East Preview 2018 | T2F Podcast

On this episode, we are joined by Jon Cassel, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, to discuss each team in the NFC East (Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles) going into the 2018 season. SUBSCRIBE to T2F for more football content! SUPPORT us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Time2Football Follow us on social media!

Dak Prescott Needs Support Like Never Before

The likes of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns aren’t going to be reaching the Hall of Fame, but they are more than capable of helping Dallas score more than 8 points in a game. Take away the opening-drive shot from week 2, the only TD pass Dak has thrown in 2018, and the Cowboys scored just 13 points against the Giants. It's hardly confidence inspiring, yet.

There have been numerous points so far where the Prescott of 2016 would have found the receiver, but for whatever reason, those throws just aren’t being made with any consistency right now. That is especially bad considering the breathing room that is given by an elite level running back, which can be found in the form of Ezekiel Elliott.

Zeke got the ball 15 times for 69 yards against CAR and 17 times for 78 yards against NYG, both of which have to be less than he would have liked. Yet, the Panthers were out to stop him, specifically, and the Cowboys offensive line couldn’t cope, which allowed Elliott to lack effectiveness and their quarterback to be put to the ground half a dozen times. The opening drive against the Giants certainly helped alleviate pressure on Prescott, but it's clear that the defense beat the Giants, overall.

These, however, are problems that an offensive coordinator needs to overcome, and Scott Linehan didn’t cover himself in glory either.

Ultimately, above all else, there seems to be a bit of disunity within the offense. The receivers feel unloved, the running backs face a lot of defenders on each play, and the quarterback must improve his accuracy.

These situations are where you need creative play calling and a unique approach.

Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott: Top 5 Moments of The 2016 Cowboys Season

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

Spirit of 2016 Can Still Make an Impact

With every defeat, the next game is hugely important, in the mind if not on paper. If the Cowboys can step up and convincingly rack up some wins, then – as ever – it will start to go quiet.

One aspect that sometimes goes overlooked is the defense. Conceding 16 points against Carolina and 13 against New York should usually be more than low enough to secure a win. Thus, if the Cowboys keep up that level of performance, then they should win a lot more games than they lose. But that's because most offenses in the NFL are capable of scoring 20-or-more points a game. With the Cowboys defense performing as they have been thus far, the onus is on the offense the close out games.

There's a reason the quarterback position is regarded far above all others, and Prescott needs to carry the team with him to keep that winning feeling in the Cowboys’ locker room.

He needs to give the opposition’s defensive line more to think about, and make them fear the pass as much as Elliott’s or his own rushing ability. That will give his receivers more confidence and Elliott more space. If his offensive line isn’t doing its job then he and Linehan need to think of ways to get the ball out quickly and on target.

Doom and gloom often surrounds any first loss of a season, but if Prescott and Elliott can work together as they did in their first win of the season, then it’s going to be very hard to beat them, especially if their defense keeps playing to such high standards as they have.

Regardless, the Super Bowl is anything but a lock at this point, and the problems need to be fixed quickly, before "distant" becomes mathematically "impossible."



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Star Blog

Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

Brian Martin

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Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

In a somewhat confusing move, the Dallas Cowboys decided to re-add Wide Receiver Brice Butler to the roster in order to get something more out of the passing game, which to be honest has been pretty putrid in the first two games of the 2018 season. Something needed to be done, but I'm not sure that Butler is the answer.

I'm going to agree with my fellow Staff Writer, Jess Haynie, in saying that the Cowboys decision to reunite with Brice Butler makes no sense. Jess is actually much more polite than I would've been when I initially found out about this transaction. I personally hate the move and I'm not afraid to say it. But ultimately, it wasn't my decision to make and the only thing that really matters here is whether or not Butler can help improve the passing game?

With all of the questions surrounding the Cowboys receivers, Butler's addition just adds another one. Unfortunately, we are two games into the 2018 season and the receiver position still remains the biggest unknown. No one has really stepped up their game and with the exception of Tavon Austin's touchdown catch last week, there hasn't been any big plays in the passing game.

I don't really know how Brice Butler is supposed to improve things. Is he supposed to be the "go to" receiver now? Is he any better than what the Cowboys already have on the roster? Or, will he end up being more of a progress stopper? Like I said, he just adds more questions to be answered.

I for one don't see any upside in adding Butler. Yes, Quarterback Dak Prescott has a bond with him, but nothing ever really materialized there when #19 was here previously. He showed flashes, like he has at all of his stops in the NFL, but his inconsistencies couldn't convince the coaching staff to play him more. So, what's changed?

Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler

The obvious answer here would be the subtraction of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the passing game. That's quite a bit of production missing that has yet to be accounted for. But again, I am still not buying into the Butler addition as a solution.

I know it sounds like I'm slamming Brice Butler pretty hard, but there was a time when I wanted to see him on the field more. Like many of you, the past few seasons I wanted to see him receive a promotion over Terrance Williams, but unfortunately that never happened. But, that was then and this is now.

Personally, I would much rather see Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, or Michael Gallup be worked more into the offensive game plan. I just feel that we have already seen what Brice Butler has to offer and it just wasn't good enough for him to stick around before. It's time to move forward, not back.

There is a reason Butler was a free agent. I mean, he wasn't even good enough to stick with Arizona Cardinals, who probably have more problems at WR than the Cowboys. But who knows? Maybe I'll end up being wrong and he'll finally play up to his true potential and talent. Wouldn't that be great?

Now, this is just one person's opinion, but I just don't see Brice Butler improving the passing game for the Dallas Cowboys. I think the only way that happens is if Dak Prescott reaches the next phase in his development. Until then, I don't see things improving much. But, that's an article for another time.

How do you feel about the Dallas Cowboys reuniting with Brice Butler?



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Star Blog

Despite Seattle’s Record, Sunday Is No Cakewalk For Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a game-ending pick six on national television Monday night, all of Cowboys Nation was suddenly giddy.

Somehow, the team which looked completely lost and inept offensively to open the season was now staring down a chance at a 3-1 start if they could take care of back-to-back winless teams.

The first of those winless foes being the Seattle Seahawks.

Though the last 5 years or so have conditioned us to believe that Seattle is a defensive minded, physical football team, more recent history suggests they’ve fallen off quite a bit. No longer are prime Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor patrolling their secondary, or are waves of top tier defensive linemen cycling through during the game.

Now, the Seahawks are defined by a shaky offensive line, a lack of playmakers on the perimeter, and Russell Wilson hero-ball.

It’s an odd, and typically ineffective formula for winning games, but it’s the one the 0-2 Seahawks are currently stuck with.

Despite all of this, however, Sunday’s game will be an important test for the Cowboys. Though they were favored by 3 points last week, this game is the first time in 2018 that Dallas is truly “expected” to win. Ironically, they come in as Vegas underdogs, but it’s difficult to find informed football analysts who are on Seattle this Sunday.

This, of course, has more to do with how poor Seattle has played to open their season, but they’ve still been incredibly competitive in both losses, losing both games by just one possession.

Going to Seattle and getting a win is a task teams have dreaded for years, even before Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom brought the Seahawks back to relevancy.Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Now when you add in factors such as this being Seattle’s home opener, and that they will be desperately fighting to avoid a potential season-killing 0-3 start, this is shaping up to be a very tough test for the Cowboys.

The young Cowboys need to handle their business the next two weeks and take advantage of 0-2 conference foes. These games will be huge down the stretch for potential playoff tie breakers and give them a chance to “fatten up” before entering the more challenging parts of their schedule.

Like two match ups with the Philadelphia Eagles, and running the rest of the NFC South gauntlet during the later months of the year.



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