The Dallas Cowboys have made their third official quarterback change in elevating former Boise State star Kellen Moore ahead of Matt Cassel.
The quarterback circus continues at Valley Ranch, but this time there might be some actual promise in the long run.
Last Saturday night saw the first 25 NFL passes ever thrown by quarterback Kellen Moore, a former college standout that waited for years to actually get on the field. If Moore’s college resume built while at Boise State is even a small indication of what’s to come, there could be some real benefits for the Dallas Cowboys moving ahead.
According to David Moore of Dallas Morning News, the team has announced that Moore is officially the guy and that Romo will finally go to injured reserve, thus ending his season – no surprise there.
Now, this is not to suggest that Moore is the future starting quarterback for the Cowboys. Though he’s still young at just 26 years-old, I find it hard to imagine that there’s a team in the NFL that’s going to elevate Moore to starter’s status. The main issue here is his measurements, and those aren’t going to change one bit in the future.
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Standing 6-feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, it’s not like Moore is too small to play quarterback in the NFL – sometimes. That lack of height and vision combined with average-at-best arm strength really fits the mold of a player that could be an ideal fit as a backup quarterback, but not a starter.
On the other hand, let’s see what Moore can do.
The most likely scenario is that Moore is able to convince the Cowboys that he can step for a few games, if needed, and actually give the team a solid chance at victory on each occasion. This is something that has happened just once out of the nine times that Dallas needed somebody – anybody – to step up and win a game while starter Tony Romo has been out repeatedly with injuries.
Think about that.
There’s been three games on the 2015 schedule that the Cowboys probably weren’t going to win without Romo. These included games against the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers.
In all other games, a victory was well within reach, especially the one-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the four-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two six-point losses in overtime to the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.
It means nothing now, but based on the way Moore was able to move the Dallas offense against the New York Jets, could we envision a potential win or two among the closest of this year’s losses if the southpaw had been under center?
Well, I think it’s a fair assessment.
If one thing is clear, Moore believes in throwing to his receiver while his predecessors just couldn’t manage to do it. The intermediate to deep passing game was simply non-existent while Weeden checked down and Cassel never really seemed to grasp the offense.
From Moore’s first pass to wide receiver Terrance Williams, which went for a one-yard loss, it was clear that Moore, despite the physical limitations, is quite decisive when throwing the football.
I actually let Moore off-the-hook for two of his three interceptions during the Jets game.
The first pic came on Moore’s second pass attempt as he dodged pressure and then made a split-decision to throw deeper and later than he was able to. This one-legged ‘Hail Mary’ better resembled Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki – without the height obviously – dropping a step back and launching a fade-away jumper. This pass never had a chance, yet Moore had just entered an NFL regular season game for the first time ever.
The third pic is also not worth sweating because it came with just seconds left and in a scenario in which second-graders who like playing Madden on PlayStation could have also defended the remaining Cowboys options on offense. The deep ball was all that was left and no quarterback was going to save the day while having to travel that far while also only using the passing game with no timeouts – that’s just football.
Moore’s second interception in the end zone was a game killer. This is the type of play that Moore has to avoid if he’s going to remain on the field with the Cowboys or anyone else. At the very least, the Cowboys lost three points during that 19-16 loss. Think about how things might have been different if kicker Dan Bailey gets to nail a chip-shot field goal as opposed to Dallas coming away with nothing.
While Dallas’ playoff hopes are gone, Moore has at least brought forth a new story line to follow with just a couple of otherwise meaningless games to play against the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins.
Winning or losing on the scoreboard is far from the biggest priority – in fact, I say that once your postseason prospects are mathematically wiped away, lose all you want.
But the Cowboys need to find a solid backup quarterback that’s both affordable and capable for 2016. Those that disagree with that priority simply haven’t been paying attention to the Cowboys’ 2015 disaster of a season.