Jerry Jones: Kellen Moore is the Backup

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Jerry Jones spoke with members of the media for the first time since the combine and fielded questions about Kellen Moore, Johnny Manziel, free agency and the upcoming draft.

Jerry Jones
Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It has got to be frustrating to be Jerry Jones, or the coaches for that matter. The national media has zero creativity and many don’t have a clue when it comes to football.

There are dozens of free agents out there, hundreds of potential draft prospects, and like a vinyl record with a scratch the size of the Grand Canyon on it, it’s always the same questions as to whether or not the Cowboys will draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, or they are asking about dumpster fires like Johnny Manziel or RGIII. You would think that Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are the only two prospects in the draft. Come on guys: Enough already. These same questions have been asked and answered dozens of times by both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett since week 17 of the 2015 season.

Despite answering the same questions at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine, these same journalists asked the same questions again the very next time Jerry Jones fielded questions. The answers haven’t changed folks. .

So Kellen Moore is the backup at this point?

“Yes. We’d like to get him some competition, but the answer is yes.”

Is the finances payed for guys early on like Chase Daniel and Colt McCoy too heavy for what you wanted to pay for a backup?

“Well I think certainly in the case of Chase, he was certainly sought or signed by somebody who had really worked with him and were close. And so um, I think my rationale tells me that was a good thing there somewhere to what we’ve got with Moore and Linehan. And so I think those good fits were the case. My opinion is that those were good fits as opposed to financial. And so in neither case did we ever have a consternation one way or the other over the dollars on either of those guys.”

The Dallas Cowboys have a 53 man roster to fill and there are more glaring needs, especially on defense. The day after Jerry Jones made it clear that Kellen Moore is the backup quarterback and spoke of the chemistry he has with the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, (2 years in Detroit and most of the 2015 season in Dallas) and explained that Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel got the money they did because of that type of chemistry, these guys turn around and ask Jason Garret the same questions.

Where are you as far as finding your number two quarterback?

“Well, Kellen Moore is with us. Kellen Moore had a chance to play the last couple of games of the season and did a lot of positive things for us, Jameli Showers is on our roster, he’s a young player who we had out of UTEF, he played some quarterback for us, but he also did some other things.”


“And so those are the guys on our roster right now. I think Kellen deserves an opportunity to compete for the number two spot. Again the landscape of free agency and the draft is still in front of us and so uh, we’ll try and evaluate that position like we would any other position to build our roster as strongly as we can.”

Based on what you saw from Moore last year, do you feel comfortable going in to the season with him as the primary backup?

“Oh “again”, we feel really positive about what he did. He came in “after” training camp and learned our system quickly and had a chance to play at the end of the year and did some positive things. I think that has earned him the right to still be on our roster and compete for a spot on our roster.”

Based on where Tony is at in his career, where do you stand on do we get a quarterback there to help Tony win a championship as our starting quarterback, or is it time to possibly consider getting the next quarterback?

“Oh I think you always want to develop another quarterback on your roster. You want a young player who your spending some time with, your making an investment in, and seeing if he can grow at that position. You really want that throughout your team at “all” the different positions.”

” So we have tried to do that through the years, uh,,, you’d love to have a guy starting for you who’s in his prime (Romo) playing at a high level. you’d love to have a competent veteran backup (Moore) who can go in to any situation and handle it because of the experience he’s had (4 years in the NFL, 3 with Linehan) and you’d like to have a young guy who’s growing. Then you can see with time and experience and a chance to play, if he can grow in to something that you really like.”

” You don’t always have that situation 365 days of the year every year, but you’re always trying to do that, and the first question is: what resources do you have and are willing to use to get those guys? So we’ve always had that kind of structure and ya say okay: is it worth the first pick in the draft? Is it worth the second pick in the draft? Is it worth going to trade for a young guy on another team?”

“you’re always going through those kind of scenarios and trying to evaluate your players and uh, you don’t want to get in to draft strategy too early. you want to really evaluate the players and get a good feel for who they are at “ALL” positions. Then you stack them up and try and make a decision as to who can “BEST” help your football team.”

I had to laugh at the next question because his question is the answer to the primary reason you don’t draft a quarterback high when you have an All-Pro starter such as Tony Romo on the roster. Especially when Jerry Jones specifically said they are approaching this draft as though Romo is the starter for the next 3-5 years.

If these guys actually studied some tape or did some research, they would know these prospects never played in a pro-style offense or called a play at the line of scrimmage. They are not day one impact players. The 4th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft will cost the Cowboys over $4 million a year against the salary cap. That’s a little too much to spend on a project who may or may not see the field for 3-5 years.

“IF” he develops in to someone who may be capable of being a starter, it’s now time to renew his contract and you find yourselves in the same situation John Elway was. His QB, Brock Osweiler, got an $18,000,000 contract with only 7 NFL starts under his belt. 7 starts isn’t near enough experience to determine whether or not your QB is worth franchise money. That is why Elway chose to let him walk.

So what happens if he ends up the next Matt Flynn? When Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre, quarterbacks weren’t commanding the type of salaries they are now. It was easier for teams to take the risk of drafting a QB “late” in the first round and letting him develop for 3-4 years, and Rodgers is a one in a million success story. Logically speaking, it is foolish to use the 4th overall pick on a QB who is not going to get all the reps or be a day one impact player. Even if Tony Romo goes down week one, he is not going to be as prepared to step in as Kellen Moore who already has 3 years with the offensive coordinator, 4 years of experience in a pro-style offense at the NFL level and 4 years in a pro-style offense in college. That is 8 years of experience in a pro-style offense as compared to zero.

How hard is it to develop QBs these days when your starter takes most of the reps in practices once you get out of training camp. After the backup that young guy doesn’t see a lot of the work.

“Well, it’s one of the most challenging things in our game right now, it’s the development of young players. Particularly at that position. We don’t have that much time with them, We have a 9 week offseason program. A lot of that’s dedicated to running, lifting, to get them the physical base they need to go play a season.”

” And like you said, once we get in to OTA’s we’ve reduced the number of those, you wanna get your starter ready. You wanna get him playing with the other guys he’s going to be playing with. But again. you have to be disciplined to give the other guys an opportunity to grow and develop.”


“As coaches we are always looking for more time with these guys, for a better opportunity to help them. In the meeting room, on the practice field, during individual time to grow and get better, and I think the players want that too.”

“Given what the structure is now, we have to do our best to develop young quarterbacks and other players throughout our team and trust me, we place a high premium on that.”

Look, y’all need to be thankful the Cowboys have a backup as good as Kellen Moore. Both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have made it clear they trust him as the #2 moving forward.  Scott Linehan has made it clear as well. Yes it’s good to have a young developmental guy come in and compete with him, but he wont win the job. The same folks who  said Moore doesn’t have enough experience want to hand the reins to a guy with none at the NFL level. SMH.

Stop beating a dead horse with the same questions over and over again. If you don’t have enough creativity as a journalist to focus your energies on one of the other 21 positions, find a new career. I tend to agree with Jerry Jones: Tony Romo is going to be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for the foreseeable future. And PLEASE, stop trying to sell a dumpster fire like Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys. Like Jones said, “he is where he is for a reason, he has issues.” So is RGIII.

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  • Johnathan Nguyen

    LOL..I know your pain. The majority of the fan base and the so called experts out there are going to have to live with the fact Kellen is here to stay. These people can’t even fathom at the fact that we signed Kellen much less he is now our #2!! I am so happy we have a guy like Kellen to be the General if Tony can’t go (God forbid). Hopefully one day, people will see how special this kid is. Thx for the article Cas!

    • Al wrote the story, but we are in total agreement on Moore. The problem is, these journalists want him to fail so they don’t end up looking like fools for doing everything in their power to try and discredit or replace him. I can’t wait to say “I told you so” to all of them.

      • Johnathan Nguyen

        Sorry Al lol. My bad, I had this conversation so many times with Cas in the past so my thought process automatically write Cas lol. Yeah, the amount of disrespect and overlook Kellen gets in the media is maddening! I am beyond ecstatic that Kellen is ours now. I think Jerry and the entire staff begins to see something in Kellen too. They now see how Kellen reacted when real bullets flew!

        I do wish for Kellen however is get into the weight room and get stronger. Gain about 15-20 lbs more of muscles and he’s good to go.

        • I am sure Woicick is getting him stronger. He has 5 rings as a strength and conditioning coach. 3 in NE ans 2 in Dal. He is going to continue to get stronger each year just like all young players do in the NFL. However, he is more durable than he gets credit for. He started 53 consecutive games in college and has never missed a game due to injury.

          • BigDIndiana

            I don’t care if he plays as is, other than arm strength QBs don’t need to bulk up IMO. Woicick did wonders with DLaw and others. Not much more you could ask for what he does for da boys.

        • Al

          No worries John. If you remember, Romo got the same treatment early in his career. He still doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

    • Al

      It really blows my mind how many uneducated journalists are out there. If they even had a basic concept of how to grade a QB they would see he is a very gifted kid.

  • californy

    Kellen has seen this before, all his life he been to small, too short, and they said not good enough, yet he is the last guy standing. I cant wait to training camp so he could shut up the critics

    • Al

      Preach it bro

  • californy

    I dont get the love of Manziel, talk about being the opposite of Moore, Johnny ball is all about himself and wont do the work to improve his football skill. I dont want this player nor do I trust him to be the leader of this football team

    • Al

      Manziel is a waste of air space on this planet.

      • BigDIndiana

        Yep, he might have the physical skills to develop but the dude is a walking basket case. I wouldn’t want him here at rookie minimum.