IRVING, Texas-- The backup quarterback position was a major offseason question mark before OTAs, but if the Cowboys were trying to acquire another quarterback, Kellen Moore says he wasn't paying too much attention.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett announced on the first day of OTAs that Moore deserves the opportunity to win the backup job behind Tony Romo. Moore is now going through his first full offseason program after being picked up by the team in September 2015.
"Doing the offseason program is huge after not being able to do it last year and I'm not having to play catch up," Moore said. "Learning new things is one thing but actually having the practice and executing is huge. I feel a ton more confident."
Confidence is definitely important for a quarterback, but Moore also has a definite advantage over Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers playing in Scott Linehan's offense. Linehan was Moore's coach during their time together with the Detroit Lions, and he's been his advocate since the Cowboys acquired him.
"He understands the game and how we've put it together," Linehan said. "I'm a little partial to the 'coach's kid,' and he's a well-coached coach's kid. He's got a lot of experience, he really knows how to play and he's got a calm demeanor. He has an uncanny ability to make accurate throws because he throws with anticipation."
Moore proved that he can play at a very high level at Boise State as the unofficial record holder for wins in Division I football. As a Bronco, Moore won 50 of 53 games and finished fourth in the 2010 Heisman Trophy race. However, it was the two games at the end of the Cowboys' 2015 season that convinced the coaches Moore has what it takes.
"We had some adversity in those games, but we felt like the execution of our offense looked more like what we expect, even though we had two quarters in there we'd like to throw out," Linehan said. "It looked like ourselves and I felt like the players responded to him too."
The last game of the season against the Redskins ended in a 24-23 loss, but Moore threw for 435 yards with 68.8 percent pass completion – although his two interceptions cast a shadow over three touchdown passes. With Romo seemingly ready to start the season off as healthy as ever, Garrett appreciates the different aspects of the game that Moore can bring to the backup position.
"He doesn't overly impress you physically, he doesn't have an overly powerful arm and he's not overly athletic but he has a lot of the things that good quarterbacks have," Garrett said. "He has a good feel on the game, he's instinctive, he's a very accurate passer, he's a quick decision maker and he's a very good leader."