Kellen Moore completed 33 of 48 passes (68.8%) for 435 yards and 3 TDs making him only the 4th QB in Cowboys’ history to throw for over 400 yards in a game. He is the only one to ever do it in his 2nd NFL start.
Kellen Moore made history Sunday against the rival Redskins at AT&T stadium in Arlington Texas. There are those who want to continue to take shots at him, but despite the interceptions, he finished his 2nd NFL start with a passer rating of 101.6 and it was the first Cowboys’ game with over 400 passing yards since Tony Romo had his fifth on October 6th, 2013. He did it without Dez Bryant on the field.
Big Harb and I started the “He Said-She Said”series last year with the intent to show the readers two points of view. It has evolved in to a friendly competition to prove the other one wrong.This time the debate revolves around whether or not Kellen Moore will be the backup to Tony Romo in 2016. He seems to think “Moore is garbage.” (That’s a quote)
Prior to Tony Romo taking over as the starter and having his first 400 yard game on October 10th, 2010, the only other Cowboys’ players to throw for over 400 yards in a regular season game were Don Meredith on November 13th, 1966 and Troy Aikman on November 26th, 1998. You can say what you want about Kellen Moore, but 400 hundred yard games have only happened 317 times since Sid Luckman became the first to pull it off on November 14th, 1943.
If you figure in the elite quarterbacks who accomplished this feat multiple times, Kellen Moore is among a handful of quarterbacks to ever accomplish it. It is a very rare thing for me to agree with what Jerry Jones has to say, but this time I do. It is what I have been saying all along.
“I think he’s got the potential to be a winning No. 2. I think he can ultimately win games in the NFL, Jones said Sunday following the Cowboys’ loss to the Redskins.
What I like is his ability to put a bad play behind and then I like his instincts, Jones said. Coach Linehan is right, he has something that’s very special, and so we want, we have him and we want to go forward and try to develop his contribution to us winning.”
When I consider the fact that Moore only had two weeks of full reps with the first team and was playing with backups like Devin street, Brice Butler, James Hanna and Geoff Swaim, who have minimal NFL experience and 3rd string Guard Makenzie Bernardeu , it makes the outing even more impressive.
People fail to realize that every starting quarterback in the NFL has gone to training camp at least one time with their respective teams, got all of the first team reps and had ample time to develop some timing with their receivers. When evaluating a QB you don’t only look at who they were playing against, but who they were playing with. Harb will try and make a case that the Redskins had some backups playing. However, they played their starters in the secondary. I hate to be the one to break it to him, but every team in the NFL is playing with some backups in January. The injury bug doesn’t discriminate. Moore was also playing with a bunch of Backups as I mentioned above.
I am going to challenge Harb right now to find one NFL quarterback who ever had a 400 yard passing game in not only his second NFL start, but without training camp and only two weeks of full reps with the first team. Next I am going to challenge him to find one NFL quarterback who accomplished a 400 yard game without his star receiver on the field.
I stated back in 2012 that Kellen Moore was the best QB in that draft. Harb tells me I missed on him. Let’s take a look at how well the top 1st round quarterbacks in that draft performed recently despite having four training camps with their teams and multiple starts under their belt.
Andrew Luck: in 2015 he has completed 162 of 293 passes (55.3%) for 1,881 yards, 15 TDs and 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 74.9. Over the course of his last 23 starts he has thrown 28 interceptions and fumbled the ball 16 times while taking 42 sacks. His back up, 40 year old Matt Hasselbeck, has shown him up this season. Keep in mind, he was the first overall pick in the draft.
RGIII: has warmed the bench for the entire 2015 season and only started 7 games in 2014. He completed 147 of 214 passes (68.7%) for 1,694 yards, 4 Tds and 6 INTs for a passer rating of 86.9: took 33 sacks (In only 7 games!) and fumbled the ball 9 times. Keep in mind, he was the 2nd overall pick in the draft.
As you can clearly see, Kellen Moore has as many TDs in his first 3 NFL games, as RGIII had over the course of his last seven starts. All I kept hearing was that Kellen Moore didn’t have any experience and Matt Cassel gave them the best chance to win. Despite having Dez Bryant at his disposal and not only having the bye week to prepare, but 9 weeks of reps with the starters he completed 119 of 204 passes (58.3%) for 1,276 yards, (141.8 yards per game) 5 TDs and 7 INTs for a passer rating of 70.6. This is with 11 years of NFL experience mind you. He had 6 games without a TD and was 2-23 on 3rd down when he got benched.
Kellen Moore has shown improvement each week, (unlike Cassel and Weeden), was able to get the ball down the field to the WRs, converted on 3rd down much more often, and found the endzone only one less time in less than 3 full games than Matt Cassel did in nine. It is my argument that if Kellen Moore had taken over when Brandon Weeden was benched and got all of those weeks of reps with the starters, the Cowboys would have won some of those games.
There are no guarantees that you are going to get a franchise quarterback just because you draft him high. This is the weakest QB class I have seen in years. Any decent quarterback in free agency is going to be expensive. With Tony Romo and Tyron Smith both having contracts in excess of $100 million and Dez Bryant having a $70 million contract, there is not a whole lot of salary cap space to work with. Especially when there are several key players coming up for renewal.
Tony Romo has several years left on his new deal and will return 100% healthy in 2016. He isn’t going anywhere. Kellen Moore is signed through 2016 and will only go about $710,000 against the cap in 2016. With minimal reps he has already shown he can play better than the two veterans the Cowboys had this season. I am convinced that with a full training camp and OTAs with this team, he will prove to not only be a solid backup to Tony Romo, but a contender to be his heir.
There is not a QB in the 2016 draft that is better than Kellen Moore. The Cowboys have glaring needs at CB, DT, S, RB and need depth at WR . Now is not the time to use a high draft pick on a QB who will be warming the bench until Tony Romo is gone. The salary cap wont allow the signing of a quality free agent QB. At the end of the day: She Said Kellen Moore will be the #2 QB in 2016 whether they draft one or not. If the front office is smart, they will wait until after training camp to see what they have before looking to sign a FA. Like Al said in his previous post: “Relax, Romo wasn’t built in a day”. After all, Kellen Moore is only the fourth QB in Cowboys’ history to throw for over 400 yards and he did it in his 2nd NFL start with no Dez Bryant. That Cowboys fans, is something to build on.