Cowboys still sold on Kellen Moore as backup QB, but not totally
After the release of veteran quarterback Tony Romo, the team saw themselves looking to fill the four-time pro bowler's shoes with someone who can be dependable behind Dak Prescott. Returning from a fractured tibia suffered last summer -- which opened the door for Prescott to take over the QB2 role at the time behind Romo -- Moore is again healthy and ready to prove himself.
Long praised by the team for his exceedingly high football IQ, Moore says it begins with understanding the fundamentals.
"I just kind of know my progressions," Moore said, via ESPN. "I see [the wide receiver] a step ahead of the linebacker. He knows where he's going. The linebacker doesn't know where he's going."
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One of Moore's most staunch supporters since entering the NFL in 2012 as an UDFA has been Scott Linehan,Authentic Sean Lee Jersey, who was offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions before taking those reins for the Cowboys in 2014. It didn't take long for Linehan to convince Jerry Jones and Co. there was something of value in Moore,Authentic John Elway Jersey, enough to warrant signing him in 2015.
"He sees,Authentic Von Miller Jersey," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "He anticipates and sees guys open. He's extremely accurate. Lots of guys get it done different ways but guys don't last long if they can't hit a moving target on the run.
"That's what he does best."
After giving the likes of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel the starting role in 2015 -- due to injuries on Romo -- the Cowboys finally gave Moore his first chance to take a regular season NFL snap. It was over three years in the making for the Boise State legend,Authentic Trevor Siemian Jersey, who showed flashes of potential amidst his struggles.
He'd only throw for 344 yards and one touchdown to four interceptions over his first two outings, but capped his season with a 435 yard burst against the Washington Redskins that included three TDs to two INTs.
The latter has many ready to crown him as QB2 this coming season, but the Cowboys have continued to search for another veteran QB despite their lauding of Moore. It's certainly fair given all the variables, and Moore knows breaking his leg in 2016 didn't help his case.
"At the end of the day everybody wants to play," Moore said. "When you're injured it's frustrating, but things turn out for a reason. We figured out Dak is a pretty darn good player. It's been a great situation and he's played well. And I feel comfortable that I'm ready to go again."
Linehan agrees wholeheartedly with Moore as he enters his sixth-year in the league.
"He's really one of those guys that can function without a lot of reps because he's a great feel player," Linehan said. "That's a key thing in this league. With backups, they get reps this time of year but it gets less and less. He works so hard mentally and he has such a good feel for the game physically that he doesn't really need to have a huge amount of reps to get comfortable playing the position or execute the plays we have in.
"He can visually see them."
The now-extended Linehan isn't afraid to admit Moore still has work to do, but he still sees the potential in him on the field.
"He was doing great the first three days of camp and it was exactly what we're looking for, he had some bad plays," Linehan said. "Go back to 2015 when he played at the end and he had no background with our players. Yeah, but a lot of guys coming in in that situation might've had that.
"By the time he got to that last game he played in,Cole Beasley Jersey, to see him operate in our system was big."
Returning from injury -- specifically one of the lower body -- comes with a mental aspect that can make it difficult to return to an athlete's top form. Such was the case with cornerback Orlando Scandrick last season,Sean Lee Jersey, who readily admits he was still nervous about players flying toward his surgically-repaired knee (ACL).
In 2017,[url=http://bit.ly/2pC86Ax ]John Elway Jersey[/url], it's Moore fighting off that anxiety.
"The biggest thing for me is just getting people around me,Von Miller Jersey,Trevor Siemian Jersey Trevor Siemian Jersey," Moore said. "The first couple of days, having offensive linemen kind of fall near you and do all that stuff and let it happen again and feel comfortable with that. Throwing the ball, I feel comfortable, but it's when you get people around you just because that's the way you got hurt."
He'll have to shake off the jitters quickly if he wants to keep his post as QB2, as the Cowboys also have rookie Cooper Rush and "veteran" Zac Dysert on the roster. They invited former New York Giants' QB Ryan Nassib in for a work out this June, before opting to pass on him altogether.
Although the Cowboys believe in Moore, they haven't crowned him as their true backup just yet. The onus is on him to completely euthanize their concerns once training camp opens on July 24.