Exactly one year ago, a certain quarterback entered the finale preseason game against the Dolphins with his job, and NFL future, on the line.
Knowing he was firmly on the bubble, Stephen McGee took full advantage of the opportunity the Cowboys gave him. Getting the start and playing the entire game, McGee led his team to a last-second win and erased any doubt that might have lingered regarding his job status.
Of course, McGee strengthen his grip on a roster spot at the end of the season when he filled in for Jon Kitna against Arizona and nearly led the Cowboys to a comeback win. And then in his first NFL start, McGee rallied the Cowboys past Philadelphia in the final minute to give Dallas a season finale win.
So fast forward to Thursday's game with the Dolphins and things are obviously a little different now for McGee.
No, he's still the third quarterback and unlike last year, he's actually got a fourth quarterback behind in Tom Brandstater, who will likely play some in the second half.
But McGee is still playing for his future as he prepares to start Thursday's preseason opener at Sun Life Stadium (6:30 p.m., CDT).
Starting quarterback Tony Romo not expected to play as most of the starters will be held out for precautionary reasons. And Kitna didn't even make the trip because of a nagging back injury.
That leaves McGee to get most of the reps once again Thursday night in a chance to prove he has what it takes to shine when the opportunity arises.
"We anticipate this being a big night for Stephen McGee like it has been in the past," head coach Jason Garrett said. "The fourth preseason game is typically for the younger guys but for the quarterback it's a very valuable time."
For McGee, he relishes any chance he can get.
"I know my role on this team and when my number is called I try to get out there and take advantage of it," McGee said. "I've learned a lot every time I get out there."