ARLINGTON, Texas --Stephen McGee has now directed three late-game touchdown drives in the last calendar year: consecutive regular-season games against the Cardinals and Eagles, followed by last Thursday's preseason comeback win over the Broncos.
McGee has made mistakes, but he has been clutch late. He has also shown poise throughout games in two other areas: shaking off slow starts, and working with a young, inexperienced line and receiver group.
Against the Broncos, McGee's first two drives ended with a three-and-out and an interception.
"My first two plays I had tipped passes," he recalled. "One was complete; one was incomplete. My third pass was an interception (where) a guy covered him up. Any quarterback just wants that first completion no matter who you are. Whenever you've got two tipped passes and a guy covers up your slant, and he hesitates out of the slant and the guy's right there waiting on it. There's nothing you can do about it, but that's frustrating."
McGee would come back to throw three touchdown passes in the second half of a 24-23 win. He did it with a green offense. Both of his touchdown targets, Raymond Radway and Dwayne Harris, had never played in an NFL game.
"In my huddle I'm old," said McGee, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009. "I know at the end of the day, if they mess up I'm the one taking the pounding on the sideline, but most importantly in the pocket. I'm making sure those receivers know what they do every chance. If they mess up I'm on them. If the linemen aren't communicating right I'm on them. That's my job."
McGee has a long road left in his development, but head coach Jason Garrett – a former third-string quarterback himself – has been impressed with McGee's ability to rally a fledgling group.
"Sometimes as a quarterback that can drag you in a bad direction, a direction of frustration," Garrett said. "You don't play with that kind of clean spirit that you need to play with. I think he's getting better and better at being resourceful, understanding the situations he's in sometimes, helping those guys as best he can."