The Cowboys quarterback depth is my biggest concern entering the 2015 season, and especially looking to the future.
Tony Romo has already solidified his place in not only the Cowboys record books by owning every franchise record, he is currently ranked second all time in career passer rating. Not bad for an undrafted free agent DII quarterback.
Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden is 31 years old (only 3 years younger than Romo) and still hasn’t translated in to a solid back up. Dustin Vaughn hasn’t even shown me as much as McGee did and we all know how that experiment turned out. I can’t figure out for the life of me why the Cowboys brain trust continues to take the most important position on the field so lightly.
As we learned against the rival Giants, when Tony Romo suffered a broken collar bone, he is always one hit away from being out for the season. Then what Mr. Jones? Mickey Spagnola was spot on naming Romo Mr. indispensible. Lets be honest here, the Cowboys go where Romo takes them. This team needs to stop wasting valuable time on scrubs when they should be developing his replacement.
People can say what they want, but I stand pat in my belief that with a couple of years in the same system behind Tony Romo to adjust to the speed of the NFL, Alex Tanney was a much better option for the future. It’s the Kurt Warner story revisited. That type of accuracy and anticipation can’t be taught. Figure in his arm strength and Vaughn isn’t even in the conversation.
The question now becomes: Why does the front office continue to take this so lightly? Romo is more than likely in his final contract. Did everyone forget how many years this team was QB starved when Troy Aikman retired? The time to act his now. It’s time to crap or get off the pot.
The Cowboys have only completed a few practices, there is some salary cap space available etc. There is no reason in the world why this team can’t bring someone in. I know what you’re thinking; who?
Â Let me start with replicating what the Rams did with Warner and bring Tanney back. The guy has never gotten a fair chance anywhere. He ended up on IR his rookie season in KC and they brought in the veteran Alex Smith. He came to Dallas and the Browns poached him off of practice squad. He beat out Brandon Weeden for a roster spot there and before he got a chance to develop, the new management wanted to make a splash and drafted Manziel. Then it was off to TB, and Smith brought McCown with him from Chicago. Next stop was the Titans. Once again, before he even had time to learn the system, they drafted Mariota. If it wasn’t for bad luck, he wouldn’t have any at all. Mark my words, all he needs is enough time with one team to learn a system and develop. The Cowboys wasted a few years on McGee and I am sorry sports fans, not even a comparison. I included my original film study on Tanney.
Â Alex Tanney has good height that allows him a clear view of the field. He shows good poise in the pocket and has good feet. He has excellent arm strength ( anyone that can hit the goal post at 60 yds on his knees qualifies in my book). Good throwing motion, good read and react skills, laser like accuracy, and most importantly good anticipation: his receivers donâ€™t have to lose a step and can catch the ball in stride. I watched him throw multiple passes in to double and triple coverage and he put the ball where only his receiver could catch it. He showed the ability to evade the pass rush and throw on the run across his body to the other side of the field with precision. I am not saying he will be Tom Brady tomorrow, but if the Dallas Cowboys could invest a few years in Steven McGee, they better take it under advisement to do the same for Alex Tanney because he has much better instincts and mechanics to start with.
Obviously I would be a happy camper if the Cowboys could trade for Kellen Moore. Not just because he was featured in my (The Guys No One Is Talking About series) , but because I still believe he was the smartest and most efficient quarterback in that draft. It’s not always about intangibles. It helps that he has history with Scott Linehan as well. At the end of the day he knows how to win. However, considering the lions just gave him a contract extension and it appears as though he is winning the competition for the number two spot behind the veteran Matthew Stafford. Taking that in to consideration, I had to find a realistic prospect.
Austin Davis was probably unknown by most fans prior to last season, but he thoroughly impressed me. As a result of injuries he got moved up to the 53 man roster week six. Having had minimal reps with the starters, he got thrown in to the fire week 8. What he accomplished is nothing short of amazing behind a very suspect offensive line.
Austin Davis started eight games, Completed 180 of 284 passes, (63.4%), for 2001 yards, 12 TDs and 9 INTs for a passer rating of 85.1. This is pretty impressive considering he was sacked 29 times in only 8 starts. Ouch. He was on course for a 4,000 yard season. Keep in mind, he was fresh off the practice squad.
Why is this so impressive to me? It’s simple. Cam Newton was not only the first overall pick in the draft, but considered by many to be a top tier QB. (not by me). In his fourth year as a starter, (not fresh off the practice squad) in 14 starts he completed 262 of 448 passes (58.5%) for 3,127 yards, 18 TDs and 12 INTs for a passer rating of 82.1. Yup, Austin Davis outplayed him across the board. Not bad for a camp arm.
You and I both know the Cowboys quarterback depth is in dire straights. A young stud like Austin Davis would allow me to sleep much better at night if Tony Romo went down.
We will get a look at the Cowboys quarterbacks on Thursday night, but I highly doubt either can play as well as Davis. I would advise the Cowboys front office to try and negotiate a trade with the Rams, or consider poaching Alex Tanney from the Titans. The current question marks surrounding the ability of the RBs to stay healthy, is all the more reason to add a QB who can win with his arm.