FRISCO, Texas - Dak Prescott is the perfect example of why a backup quarterback has to be ready when his name is called.
Kellen Moore had already been placed on injured reserve with a fractured fibula last season when Tony Romo was the victim of a preseason injury. So it was Prescott who had to step in as the starting quarterback. His rise to superstardom would be mere months away.
Ironically, it is now Moore who must keep himself prepared in the event that something was to happen to Prescott. The former Boise State quarterback who holds the all-time record for wins in college football with a 50-3 record is not in an unfamiliar position.
"I feel comfortable with it," Moore said. "Obviously I'm coming up on my third year here. I think I've reached that point where you're pretty comfortable with the offense. You kind of know all the ins and outs."
Moore runs the second-team offense and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who also coached Moore with the Detroit Lions, says that Moore is a guy who can run an offense in practice without anyone missing a beat.
"When he's on the field, the chains move and that's what you want," Linehan said.
Continuity for a young backup quarterback can be rare in the NFL. Teams often move on to a new player, sometimes using the position to experiment with potential prospects. The notion that Moore is still serving the same role, even after a year removed by injury, is a testament to the Cowboys' faith in him. Moore, on the other hand, credits his ability to come into this year sharp to his involvement with the team last season while he recovered from his fractured fibula.
"Coach Garrett and Coach Linehan were awesome in terms of letting me stay here around here and do my rehab and be in the quarterback room to help out in any way I could," Moore said. "It was beneficial for me mentally to stay in it."
The backup quarterback takes on a lot of roles and maturity is a characteristic much appreciated. Linehan says it's Moore's self-awareness that can make the coaches' jobs easier.
"He's just like a machine," Linehan said. "[He] knows where to go. What he can do really well, he focuses on that and not on some of the stuff he maybe won't lean on."
When the notion was relayed to Moore, he didn't see it as a slight.
"I know who I am," Moore said. "I'm not a big-arm guy. I'm not a 6'5 guy. I got to move around a little bit in the pocket to see a few things sometimes. The bottom line is you execute and you get the completion."
That may be the bottom line, but Moore's role is a bit more complex than that. He constantly has to be ready to step in at a moment's notice, but he also balances that with how he can contribute in the moment.
"Obviously first and foremost you have to be ready to play," Moore said. That's job No. 1. And job No. 2 [is] within the quarterback room. It's a complicated position as far as there's a lot of stuff that goes into each week during the season. If you can be another set of eyes in film for Dak to help him see something that maybe he doesn't have time to see, we can all work together to utilize that."