The Dallas Cowboys seem to have depth at all the wrong positions. The Cowboys cornerbacks, linebackers, and defensive line are looking very thin due to injuries to key players and one ill-advised night in Mexico that led to the suspension of cornerback, Orlando Scandrick.
While the ‘Boys may be struggling to find warm bodies to play on defense, the Cowboys have created a log-jam at quarterback. Unfortunately for Dallas, a competitive collection of quarterbacks will have to go to waste; with injury and suspension problems, carrying three quarterbacks is simply a luxury that the Cowboys cannot afford.
Cowboys star signal-caller, Tony Romo, isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Brandon Weeden. Weeden was brought onto the team as a look-see. With the Cleveland Browns still paying a hefty sum of his contract, the Cowboys could see what Weeden could bring to the team for next to nothing. With the departure of last year’s backup, Kyle Orton, Weeden’s experience as a starting quarterback makes him a great emergency option incase Romo goes down with an injury.
That makes two. Two quarterbacks already have a guaranteed spot on the Cowboys final 53 man roster barring a Weeden injury or some sort of divine intervention. Where does that leave a consistent camp presence like Caleb Hanie or preseason week one standout, Dustin Vaughan? Unfortunately for them, they are left on the outside looking in.
Hanie is an underdog for a third quarterback spot if there ever was one. As a Dallas native and a five year veteran, the Cowboys brought Hanie along to help showcase wideouts and tight ends at the bottom of the depth chart. Hanie has started four games and has lost four games. Combine his less than stellar win/loss percentage with his tendency to throw picks– he has thrown an interception on 8.6% of his drop-backs– and it’s easy to see why he wouldn’t get a roster spot. Plus, due to his service in the league, he is no longer eligible to make the practice squad.
A hot topic for this year’s camp and preseason thus far has been Dustin Vaughan. A rookie coming out of the small school, West Texas A&M, Vaughan certainly looks like a quarterback. At 6-5 and 233 lbs. Vaughan has the prototypical size of today’s quarterback and then some. Vaughan caught attention in his first preseason game where he showed great poise while throwing for 80 yards– at least up until a cringe-worthy 4th down sack.
With injuries and depth concerns, Vaughan, a rookie, screams practice squad for the Cowboys, but in that arrises the problem– if he’s impressing the Cowboys, he’s impressing other teams. If Vaughan is sent to the practice squad, any team can take him and add him to their active roster. If the Cowboys are serious about keeping Vaughan with a star on his helmet, they would be smart to limit his preseason snaps and hide him from the outside world.
Unfortunately for both Vaughan and Hanie, their fate is largely out of their hands. No matter how well they may play, their potential roster spot may prove to be too valuable to simply have someone holding a clipboard all season. Both quarterbacks must still play to impress. The next three weeks of preseason is still an audition for both Haine and Vaughan, but more so for a team who is comfortable carrying a third quarterback.