OXNARD, Calif. – For the second year in a row the Dallas Cowboys have lost a quarterback the first week of training camp.
Last year it was Kellen Moore, fracturing his fibula at the ankle level in the first padded practice of camp, the team losing the projected backup quarterback for the entire season.
This year it's potential third-string quarterback Zak Dysert, and he didn't even make it to the first padded practice that took place on Wednesday, the third day of practice here at the River Ridge complex. Dysert is headed back to Dallas to have a herniated disk in his back repaired.
Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said Dysert was simply reaching over to pick up a bag Wednesday morning in his room here at training camp when the disk ruptured. Normally a microdiscectomy surgery requires an eight- to 12-week recovery period, the injury likely ending Dysert's chances of making the Cowboys' 53-man roster. In 1993 Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman suffered a herniated disk in early June, and was ready to play by the final preseason game that summer and started the season, leading the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
This leaves the Cowboys with three quarterbacks here at the start of training camp: Starter Dak Prescott, presumptive backup Kellen Moore and rookie free agent Cooper Rush of Central Michigan. Jones said the Cowboys would begin the search to sign a fourth quarterback, but would be in no rush.
With five preseason games this summer, the first next Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, the Cowboys certainly would need that fourth quarterback to get through the preseason. Chances are Prescott will play little, if any, in the first preseason game and probably no more than a series or so in the second.
Moore, who missed all last season, will need more work this preseason then maybe the backup quarterback usually gets. But the Cowboys will not want to wear him out and that might be a heavy load for Rush to play the majority of the first, second and fifth preseason games. Chances are the Cowboys will attempt to sign a minimum-salaried quarterback.
After being drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2013, and initially making their 53-man roster, Dysert has spent the overriding majority of the next three seasons on various practice squads. The Cowboys claimed him off waivers on June 5 after last being released by the Arizona Cardinals on June 2.