Here's the conventional wisdom you're bound to hear in the coming days, as the Cowboys begin their preparations for Washington.
Inexplicably, the 3-8 Cowboys are technically still alive in the NFC East – largely thanks to the mediocrity of the division as a whole. The Redskins currently lead the division standings at just 5-6, having defeated the Giants – now also 5-6. The Eagles, now 4-7 after getting thrashed by Detroit, are in a freefall almost as bad as the Cowboys.
Taking all of this into account, the common logic says the Cowboys need to play their experienced starting quarterback, Matt Cassel, to hold the reins in place of Tony Romo. Cassel has 11 years of NFL experience, he led this Dallas offense for a month during Romo's first injury and he has been a part of playoff races before.
I hear all of this, and it makes sense – but that doesn't necessarily make it right.
Regardless of whether Cassel is a veteran starter in this league, he's currently boasting an 0-4 record as the Cowboys' starter this season. As I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone, it's the Cowboys' seven-game losing streak during Romo's first broken collarbone that put them in this seemingly insurmountable deficit in the first place.
Cassel put together one truly solid performance, his 25-of-38, 299-yard, three-touchdown performance in the overtime loss to the Eagles. The rest of his tenure wasn't as impressive, though. He tossed three interceptions in the loss to New York, and he failed to crack 100 yards passing against Seattle. The Cowboys failed to score a touchdown in two of his four starts.
I'm not trying to rip Cassel, I'm just trying to point out the flaws in the argument that he gives the Cowboys the best chance to win. In a sample size that equates to 25 percent of the season, that hasn't been the case.
So what's my solution? You probably already know, assuming you've been paying attention this season.
In Kellen Moore, the Cowboys have an intriguing young prospect without an NFL start to his name. I already wrote a column suggesting the Cowboys give him a chance. You can read it here if you want to hear about his 50-3 college record or his history with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
I honestly have no idea how good Moore is, and I'm certainly dubious that he can lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. Frankly, I don't think any of the Cowboys' realistic options at quarterback are going to lead this team to the 5-0 record that'd likely be required to reach the postseason.
That's immaterial to me at this point, though. The Cowboys have a young quarterback with an unknown potential. Linehan likes him enough to keep him nearby – at two different stops, no less. I take it as a pretty big vote of confidence when the guy calling the offense feels that strongly about any player, let alone the quarterback.
Regardless of how this next month goes, it's safe to assume Matt Cassel doesn't have a long-term future with the Cowboys. Perhaps he signs on as Romo's backup in 2016, but at 33 he doesn't provide any type of promise or stability for the years to come.
At 26, Moore brings a bit more upside. Perhaps he surprises everyone and wins some games – which would give this team hope for both the postseason and future seasons to come.
Perhaps he doesn't. But even if he's awful, the Cowboys are in a similar situation – several games under .500 and facing tough questions about the future of their quarterback position.
It's not something I expect to happen, but I think it'd be a smart decision. Kellen Moore could help this team handle several important questions about the quarterback spot – both for this coming month, and the seasons beyond.