Preseason Finale Big Opportunity For Both McGee, Carpenter

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IRVING, Texas – For the third straight year, the Cowboys will wrap up the preseason against the Miami Dolphins.

For the third straight year, Stephen McGee is expected to get most of the reps at quarterback.

But where there could be a big difference is what happens not only in the second half, but in the days following Wednesday's preseason finale at Cowboys Stadium.

McGee's spot on the roster wasn't a lock in 2010, but he earned a place with an impressive performance. Last year, he was more solidified and played well to make sure it got locked up again.

But as the Cowboys sift through injury after injury and try to piece together a 53-man roster, keeping more than two quarterbacks on the active roster might not be practical anymore.

The Cowboys will cut down to 53 players on Friday. McGee is not eligible for the practice squad, but teammate Rudy Carpenter, who will also get a few snaps Wednesday night, is eligible.

Jason Garrett said both McGee and Carpenter will get a lot of snaps against the Dolphins, but wouldn't elaborate when asked about possibly keeping three quarterbacks again on the roster.

For now, McGee is only focused on the task at hand.

"It's another opportunity and another chance to go play football, which is what I love to do," McGee said. "Any chance to compete you can't take for granted. I look forward to it."

In 2010, McGee seemed on the outside looking in for a roster spot, but took advantage of playing the entire game against Miami. He passed for 304 yards and a touchdown in leading the Cowboys to a win.

Last season, McGee played most of the game, completing 21 of 25 passes for 233 yards in a 17-3 loss to the Dolphins.

But so far this year, he hasn't looked as sharp in three preseason games, and has been somewhat out-performed by Carpenter. Ironically enough, both were rookies with the Cowboys in 2009 when McGee was a fourth-round pick and Carpenter an undrafted rookie free agent.

It wasn't much of a race back then, mainly because of McGee's draft status. This year, especially with Carpenter being practice-squad eligible, there is a chance he could stick around without McGee.

Still, Carpenter doesn't see it as a direct battle with McGee.

"I try not to look at it as like a competition between me and somebody else," he said. "We're both professionals. We've both been doing this for a few years now. I just try to focus on what I'm supposed to do and executing my job. That's all I try to worry about."

While the practice squad means sticking around, Carpenter said his sights are higher.

"The goal is to play in the NFL as long as you can, any way you can do it," Carpenter said. "Obviously, I want to be on the active roster. I want to have a role on a team, I want to be a part of a team, but you can't do that if you're out of the NFL. If my role is to be a practice squad quarterback, then that's what I'm going to do. But obviously, like everybody else in this locker room, I want to make the roster."

As does McGee. But both won't be making this team, and there's even a chance none of them will. But that shouldn't stop them from competing to the end on Wednesday night.

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