CANTON, Ohio –OK, before we get started. Let's not forget about last year's preseason opener. The Cowboys lost in the final seconds to the Rams.
So, that wasn't exactly a sign of things to come – at least not from a team perspective. But there were some individual performances, led by Dak Prescott, that proved to be a case of foreshadowing.
After Dak's glowing performance at the L.A. Coliseum with the world watching, it was then we realized this team was going to be just fine at backup quarterback.
So did we find that out again here Thursday night? Perhaps we did.
Kellen Moore's first throw of the game was knocked down at the line of scrimmage. And his last one was picked off in the end zone. Everything in between looked pretty good.
Now, if you listen to the *Cowboys Break *podcast on this website or read some of my other editorial pieces, you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of Moore. I think he's limited, not only in size but in arm strength and mobility as well. And if he had to play, he would be a huge difference in what the offense currently has at the starting position.
But to me, that's close to the description of one Jason Garrett, who backed up Troy Aikman for half of a decade. And he obviously made it work just fine when he got his chance to play.
What we saw out of Moore here Thursday night was a mixed bag of good and bad. He certainly didn't have a superstar supporting cast around him, but he made the most of it. And he used what he has to his advantage.
Moore has a nice touch on the deep ball and he took advantage of the fastest player on the field in Brice Butler, who also helped his cause by beating second-team cornerbacks with ease.
With Moore, it's either short or long with his throws. He can send it deep, especially to the left side, and he can check down passes all day long. There's not a lot of in between and sometimes that can become a problem, especially when coordinators are scheming against him. Let's not forget Moore has never won a game as a starter. If he has to play a considerable amount of time, he'll be forced to make throws over the middle and he'll have to fit the ball into tighter windows.
Then again, he'll have better talent surrounding him. He won't be back-pedaling every step like he was against the Cardinals. When you're already vertically-challenged, having to move backward in the pocket only makes you shorter. So he'll be better behind the Cowboys' starting offensive line.
And when he has to throw it up for grabs, having No. 88 out there should help. Then again, Rico Gathers hauled in Moore's jump-ball pass in the end zone, creating even more buzz surrounding this basketballer-to-tight end transformation.[embeddedad0]
Rico's night was definitely another story. Despite the touchdown, I still think he showed more struggling moments than positive ones, but he's improved for sure. If Gathers makes it, though, he'll be the fourth tight end. That's not exactly as important as this backup quarterback spot.
We've seen a season go down the tubes in 2015 because the Cowboys didn't have one. We saw them have a great season in 2016 because they did.
Do they have their backup quarterback for 2017? Not sure yet, but after one game it seems like they'll be satisfied … for now.