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Dallas Cowboys Will Not Face A Lot Of Young QBs This Year

In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys face 16 QBs with a combined NFL experience of 112 years, the third-highest value in the NFL. Good or bad?

Ronald Martinez

What are two things Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, E.J. Manuel, Brandon Weeden, Andrew Luck, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker have in common? Well, one thing is they are all young NFL QBs with two years or less of NFL experience. The other thing is that none of them will face the Dallas Cowboys this year.

Last year, the Cowboys faced seven opponents who had a young starting QB (two years or less of NFL experience). This year it'll only be three, as the Cowboys play the Redskins with Robert Griffin twice and the Vikings with Christian Ponder once.

Here's the Cowboys' 2013 schedule, including the projected starting QBs and their respective NFL experience in years:

Week Opponent QB Experience
1 New York Giants Eli Manning 9
2 @ Kansas City Chiefs Alex Smith 7
3 St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford 3
4 @ San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers 9
5 Denver Broncos Peyton Manning 15
6 Washington Redskins Robert Griffin 1
7 @ Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick 10
8 @ Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford 4
9 Minnesota Vikings Christian Ponder 2
10 @ New Orleans Saints Drew Brees 12
11 Bye Week
12 @ New York Giants Eli Manning 9
13 Oakland Raiders Matt Flynn 5
14 @ Chicago Bears Jay Cutler 7
15 Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers 8
16 @ Washington Redskins Robert Griffin 1
17 Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick 10

As you look at this table, you'll notice that the Cowboys play a lot of seasoned veterans this year. In part, that's because they play the Giants and Eagles twice. Eli Manning has nine years of NFL experience, Michael Vick should have 12 but spent two of those locked away in a federal penitentiary. But the Cowboys also have quite a few other veterans on their schedule. In fact, if you add up the opposing QB's NFL starting experience over all 16 games, you get a value of 112, which happens to be the third highest value in the league.

The Cowboys will face a lot of experienced QBs this year. Here's an overview of all 32 NFL teams sorted by the combined NFL experience of the 16 opposing QBs they'll face in 2013.

2013 NFL Strength of schedule by NFL experience of opposing QBs
Rank Team Opp. QB Experience
Rank Team Opp. QB Experience
Rank Team Opp. QB Experience
1 WAS 121 12 TEN 87 23 ATL 77
2 OAK 119 12 BAL 87 24 STL 76
3 DAL 112 14 BUF 85 25 JAC 75
4 PHI 110 14 CAR 85 25 NYJ 75
5 DEN 104 16 MIA 84 27 NE 74
6 KC 103 16 TB 84 27 SEA 74
7 NYG 102 18 CLE 80 29 SF 72
8 SD 101 19 IND 79 30 NO 71
9 DET 94 19 CIN 79 31 PIT 62
10 CHI 90 19 GB 79 32 ARI 61
11 MIN 88 22 HOU 78

While most NFL teams are clear on who their starting QB will be this year, some aren't, so I used the listing on the depth charts as the final arbiter for which QB is the starter for which team. As a result, this table assumes Mark Sanchez (NYJ), E.J. Manuel (BUF) and Matt Flynn (OAK) will be the starters for their respective teams.

The Redskins face the most experienced QBs this season, largely based on playing the NFC East teams twice this year: Manning (9), Vick (10), and Romo (10) are among the signal-callers with the most NFL experience in the league. Only Peyton Manning (15), Tom Brady (13), and Drew Brees (12) have more.

But the other NFC East teams aren't far behind, with the Cowboys and Eagles ranking third and fourth, and the Giants coming in seventh. At the other end of the spectrum, the Cardinals have the dubious distinction of playing Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Sam Bradford twice each this season.

Last year, even before the Eagles substituted Nick Foles for Michael Vick, the Cowboys faced a schedule that had a combined QB experience of 72, which would have put them very close to the bottom of the table above. This year, their schedule has one of the highest combined QB experience values. For the Cowboys and some of the other teams at the top of the table above, there is a benefit to playing against a pretty veteran group of QBs: they won't have to worry all that much about the read option.

Reality may not be as black and white as the following question, but here it is anyway: Would you rather face a veteran QB with experience or a young QB with legs?

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