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He Won't Start Saturday, But Cowboys Don't Lack Confidence In Kellen Moore

IRVING, Texas – For all the speculation on the outside, Scott Linehan was resolute that there wasn't much of a conversation about keeping Matt Cassel as the Cowboys' starting quarterback this week.

"Once we all looked at each other and made the decision that we've all got to get better this week at every phase of our roles as coaches and players, really we didn't focus too much on any dramatic personnel changes," said the Cowboys' offensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Linehan raises a fair point that the Cowboys have struggled in all phases this season – and certainly in last week's 28-7 loss to Green Bay. But it's understandable why there would be questions about the quarterback position.

Cassel is 1-5 in his six weeks as the starter in Dallas, and he's coming off a 114-yard effort against the Packers. Factor that together with the old football adage that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on a struggling team, and it's easy to see why fans and media alike are clamoring for a look at Kellen Moore.

Given the Cowboys' difficulties finding the end zone, not to mention moving the ball, Linehan acknowledged that quarterback play comes into question. But, having evaluated themselves to this point on the season, he said the coaching staff opted to stick with the veteran.

"The first thing that is going to come up is your quarterback and what you're doing at the other positions," Linehan said. "So we've had discussions that we just need to do better at every position and that will help our quarterback play better."

All of that said, Linehan didn't shy away from his well-documented admiration of Moore. The pair spent multiple seasons together with the Detroit Lions after Moore signed undrafted out of Boise State, and Moore's season-long presence on the roster has been a telling indicator of the coach's faith in him.

"There's no bigger believer in Kellen Moore than myself," Linehan said. "There's probably a few guys back in Boise and some guys back in Detroit that already know that. But I believe in him."

The Cowboys are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, which helps explain why they'd prefer to see an 11-year veteran under center – rather than someone with no career starts. But should Moore get the opportunity to play at some point in this final month, Linehan said he's confident in his skillset.

"He is a cool customer. His anticipation and timing are good," he said. "He sees things as they develop. It's not like you have to have to have a guy open to pull the trigger."

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