Dallas Cowboys: Why Kellen Moore owns the backup QB spot

Jan 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore (17) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore (17) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Here’s why I think former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore will be the Dallas Cowboys primary back-up in 2016.

Backup quarterback is not a major headache for the Dallas Cowboys. I won’t backtrack from that statement. A quality or capable backup quarterback is similar to an inflated spare tire in the trunk of your car. It’s nice to have, but there are so many other things that can go wrong.

How many of us keep an extra container of anti-freeze or motor oil next to the spare tire? Do you have a spare radiator hose too? I’m positive few of you don’t even have insurance! In the NFL, resources are limited and with a 53-man roster, you can’t prepare for everything.

There’s obviously 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL but who can name six backup quarterbacks that were never full time starters? Unless your backup quarterback is a highly prized, top draft pick, nobody cares about them. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Look in your closet and send me a photo of your Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Jon Kitna and Kellen Moore jerseys. Exactly! But I’m willing to bet that you have a Tony Romo, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Dez Bryant or Jason Witten jersey. You get a bonus point if you have a Dan Bailey jersey.

The majority of rules in the NFL revolve around protecting the quarterback. They’re protected when scrambling outside of the pocket because they are allowed to slide. You don’t see usually see running backs or wide receivers sliding at the end of runs. Quarterbacks can’t get touched on the head or below the knees when they’re in the pocket.

Why? Because the starting quarterback is a huge financial investment for most NFL teams. There are 21 quarterbacks making between $16 million and $22 million per season. By reducing contact and protecting their investment, teams expect their quarterback to remain injury free the entire season.

In 2015, at least 12 quarterbacks missed games due to injuries. That list includes: Cowboys Tony Romo, Broncos Peyton Manning, Eagles Sam Bradford, Colts Andrew Luck, Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Browns Josh McCown, Jets Geno Smith, Bills Tyrod Taylor, Titans Marcus Mariota, Bears Jay Cutler and Saints Drew Brees. How many of these teams are reportedly in desperate need of a backup quarterback?

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Just like the Cowboys, the San Diego Chargers finished with a 4 – 12 record too. It’s safe to say they’re in desperate need of a backup quarterback. The Carolina Panthers lost the Super Bowl – even with the 30th pick – they need to draft a backup quarterback in the first round to get over the hump. Backup quarterbacks fix everything, right?

I’m not just a Kellen Moore guy – I’m the proud owner and operator of his bandwagon. It was painfully obvious that he was better than Cassel and Weeden on the field. That has been written, discussed and debated – I’ll save that for another day.

When I tell you that Moore went 50 – 3 in college and passed for 14,667 yards with 143 touchdowns, don’t state that Moore’s accomplishments in college doesn’t matter. The only thing we can discuss about Jared Goff or Carson Wentz is what they did in college. If it doesn’t matter for Moore, then it doesn’t matter for Goff and Wentz either.

Conversations with other members of Cowboy Nation that aren’t sold on Moore mentioned they could only remember his interceptions. Quarterbacks unfortunately throw interceptions. Peyton Manning ruined my fantasy league team — yes, I’m still bitter about that.

My biggest memory about running back Darren McFadden is his fumble against the Washington Redskins that bounced out the end zone. That’s also a stupid rule. That doesn’t negate all the positive things McFadden did. Perhaps humans tend to remember the mistakes of others more than the positive accomplishments. Moore didn’t throw an intentional grounding interception like Cassel. How many of us will ever forget that?

Smart members of Cowboy Nation know that head coach Jason Garrett loves competition amongst his players. That’s the only reason it’s suspected the Cowboys will bring in a “veteran” quarterback to compete with Moore. This is Moore’s fifth season – at what point is he considered a veteran? Maybe Moore is the only fifth year rookie in the NFL.

I think Moore will be competing with the more athletic Jameill Showers but there’s room for both to be backups. Nobody batted an eye when the Cowboys kept Weeden and Dustin Vaughan in 2014. An even better question – Where was Weeden’s competition after Orton refused to attend training camp and was released?

The Cowboys didn’t sign anyone to challenge Weeden, so there is no guarantee that they will bring in someone to challenge Moore. If Moore is indeed “the man”, wouldn’t it make sense to get him as many reps as possible? You know (knock on wood) – just in case the Browns don’t trade Robert Griffin III or Jerry signs Johnny Manziel.




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