IRVING, Texas – For young players, the old adage in the NFL is clear: the more you can do, the better chance you have to stick around.
It's a bit ironic, when you think about it: last year, Jameill Showers made the Cowboys' practice squad, and eventually the active roster in Week 16, as a quarterback prospect who proved in preseason he could help on special teams, too.
Yet, as he enters his second season, the Cowboys recognize Showers needs to be a full-time quarterback if he's going to have a legitimate chance to grow and compete at the NFL's most challenging position.
Undrafted out of UTEP last year, Showers filled a utility role on the practice squad. He said he worked on special teams and took occasional quarterback reps on the scout team when the defense was facing a mobile quarterback in a given week.
This offseason, the Cowboys have moved him back into the quarterback room with Tony Romo, Kellen Moore and fourth-round draft pick Dak Prescott.
"We feel and believe, and Jameill does as well, that quarterback is the position for him," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "It's hard to be able to compete at quarterback if you're not doing it full time. That's the logic behind it. He's done a nice job out here and he's got a year in the system, so it helps him to have a little bit of a leg up."
On paper, the quarterback room looks crowded. Moore is the clear frontrunner to serve as Romo's primary backup, and the Cowboys invested a draft pick in Prescott as a young prospect to develop.
Rather than spending time in special teams meetings as he did last year, focusing solely on quarterback at least gives Showers the best chance to compete this summer.
"I think it'll help him," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's one of those guys that we knew early on we wanted him to be a part of our team. At the outset of last year, he was a quarterback. But then, you're kind of looking for different things for him to do, and I thought he embraced those opportunities really well as a special teams player and all the different things he did for us in practice playing all the different spots both on offense and on defense. But he was a good college quarterback, and we want to give him a chance to do that."
Said Showers: "It was hard to be in a special teams meeting and study everything that you need to study as a quarterback. And it being my first year, it was already a lot of information anyway, trying to play catch-up and not really being in meetings and being able to ask questions and hear things specifically for quarterbacks.
"Being able to be in the meetings and ask questions that I had during install, or maybe from the previous day, that helps out a whole lot."
Showers isn't getting nearly many reps as third- or fourth-string, but Linehan said the younger players might receive a few more reps as the team gets deeper into OTAs and holds their minicamp later this month.
"Training camp is probably the bigger stage for him," Linehan said, "because we do tend to amp the reps up a little bit and get these guys more opportunities.
"You just take advantage of the ones you get, I think. He's got a great attitude about it."