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Cowboys News & Notes: At What Point Do You Bench Matt Cassel Tonight?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Stephen Jones says #1 offseason priority is to find a backup QB; Cowboys can be more active in free agency in 2016; Cowboys on verge of another quarterback change?

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys on verge of another quarterback change? - Eric Prisbell, USA Today
Kellen Moore may soon be auditioning to be Tony Romo's future backup in Dallas, and Prisbell wonders whether the former Boise State standout could make his NFL debut at some point tonight against the New York Jets.

Cowboys backup QB Kellen Moore gets practice reps with first team - Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com
Wilson explains why there's a chance we'll see Cowboys backup to the backup to the backup quarterback Kellen Moore at some point over the next three games.

Cassel was marginally better than Weeden, but the bar was set exceedingly low; at 4-9, the team has sole possession of last place in the division. Cassel remains the starter for Saturday's matchup with the Jets but there's no guarantee he keeps the job for the final two weeks, especially if the Cowboys are eliminated from the playoffs. (That's right, the NFC East is such a disaster that Dallas can still win it.)

Which means there's a chance we see backup to the backup to the backup Kellen Moore at some point.

Jerry Jones: 'Game will dictate' if backup Kellen Moore play - Jon Machota, SportsDay
In his weekly radio address, Jerry Jones left the door open for Moore tonight, though the Cowboys will definitely start Matt Cassel.

"Let's put it like this, we were real clear that we weren't going to make a change there," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan's G-Bag Nation show [KRLD-FM]. "More than likely, your game will dictate how they play, if there's any playing time there for Kellen one way or the other. Obviously that's Jason's call, decision and read, and he's a good man to be making that call with the kind of background he's got. But the game will dictate how he's used."

Kellen Moore’s No. 1 fan? Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Read this description of Kellen Moore from Scott Linehan, which for some will sound like an endorsement for Moore.

"He is a cool customer," Linehan said. "His anticipation and timing are good. He sees things as they develop. It’s not like you have to have to have a guy open to pull the trigger.

"He sees the guy. He sees shadows of guys running routes. Because he’s got to do it from that pocket at 6-feet tall or whatever he is. He’s really got an uncanny knack back there and feel for the game.

"He brings a calmness to the position. He’s got ice water in his veins type of player."

Others of course might read this as a scathing indictment of the backups the Cowboys have already tried.

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Fan creates White House petition for Cowboys to start Kellen Moore - Bronco Nation News
It's become the fashionable thing to do for even the most absurd demands. This one requires your signature though.

"On behalf of this great country, we (armchair QBs all) with great deference (for now) call on you, Mr President, to contact Jerry Jones and request Kellen Moore be named starting QB. Needless to say, the image of America’s Team struggling like a pathetic pimpled faced Pop Warner kids team is not lost on our enemies both foreign (who think soccer is football) and domestic (like Packer fans). So, Mr President, let’s show our nation and the world that the Cowboys are still Our team. Kellen for QB!"

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Jerry Jones: Tony Romo is in ‘ideal time of his career’ - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
At first glance, it's easy to make fun of Jones for the above statement. After all, Romo turns 36 in April, has had two back surgeries and hasn’t started all 16 games in a season since 2012. But Jones knows those things too.

"Frankly I like our quarterback, our starter, Romo," Jones said. "He's in the ideal time of his career. Well, you say, 'Jerry, wouldn't you like for him to be a little less fragile?' The answer is with the way this year has gone, that's fresh on our minds.

"In general though, knowing Tony, I like what we're going to be looking at over the next several years."

Video: Stephen Jones says #1 offseason priority is to find a backup QB - DallasCowboys.com
At the five-minute mark of this video, Stephen Jones explains what the Cowboys' plan was and is at QB.

There was a philosophy in place with Jerry, myself, Jason and Scott that we wanted to go young and find some young guys that are coming along that can be here and ultimately maybe step into Tony's shoes. Unfortunately that didn't work out.

We probably should have done what we've historically done, which is go with the Kitnas, go with the Ortons, with that type of proven backup in case something does happen.

That's going to be No. 1 on our list, how do we do that better in the future.

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Cowboys can be more active in free agency in 2016 - Jon Machota, SportsDay
In his weekly Ranch Roundup, Machota quotes Jerry Jones on how the Cowboys can be more active in free agency in 2016 because they don't have the salary cap challenges they've had in the past.

"We've got some room," Jones said. "We can make some things happen." He added: "Whether it be looking at the future relative to personnel in the National Football League or looking at anything, you have got to know that things are going to come across your radar that you had not planned on and didn't know about. And they're usually going to be more positive than anything you might have planned on. We'll get a shot at something like that. We always do."

Twitter mailbag: Will Dallas Cowboys spend in free agency? - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer provides some well-timed and welcome context for Jerry Jones' "Well, we’ve got plenty of money" statement.

I would be extremely surprised if they got into the high end of the free-agent market. It’s just not worth it. They will do team-friendly deals, like they did this year with Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain. I can’t see them throwing out a $10 million-a-year deal for anybody, even Hardy. There just isn’t the payoff in free agency when you sign a big-money player. You’re more likely to find a good buy in keeping your own players with bigger deals than going outside for help, and even that is not a sure thing.

Cap-wise, the Cowboys will be in good enough shape to do anything they want, but there has to be a bang for the buck, and time and time again free agency has not been the answer. That’s not just with the Cowboys, but every team.

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Advice for Jets as they prepare for struggling Cowboys: Don't choke - Rich Cimini, ESPN
Cimini explains that there's no excuse for the Jets to lose to the "woeful Cowboys (4-9), who have curled up into the fetal position without Tony Romo." An excerpt:

Things are so bad that coach Jason Garrett actually gave a few practice reps to untested backup Kellen Moore, suddenly the most popular guy in Dallas.

NFL Week 15 Picks: Five underdogs who will cover, can win outright - Will Brinson, CBSSports.com
If you got your hopes up when you read this headline, I apologize. This article is notable for its complete lack of anything Cowboys related.

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Final Injury Report: Rolando McClain Out, Morris Claiborne Doubtful - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
The bossman with the lowdown on this week's injury report.

Cowboys Sign Terrance Mitchell From Practice Squad For CB Depth - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys filled their open spot on the 53-man roster Friday by signing cornerback Terrance Mitchell from the practice squad. Mitchel is a 2014 Cowboys' 7th-round pick from 2014 who spent two years in Chicago.

Buffo Ratings For Cowboys tonight - Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com
In his Week 15 game rankings La Canfora explains why the Cowboys will be huge draw tonight.

It's Saturday night, we're all in the holiday spirit, and we get the gift of NFL football on a night when we rarely get to watch. What else are you going to do Saturday night? And it could certainly be a worse matchup. The Jets are going for a fourth straight win and to keep their position as a wild-card team, while the Cowboys, somehow, are still not eliminated either, despite already having nine losses. Oh, there is no greater gift than the subsidy that is the NFC East. Jerry Jones, this one's for you. You could win this game and keep hope alive and still send out those playoff ticket invoices with a straight face. Win and you go into Sunday still alive, perhaps only temporarily, but oh what an evening of sweet celebration it could be. People still watch America's Team in droves, even when under duress like this. Expect boffo ratings.

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Cowboys source on Murray: Great 'team' guy when he's the guy - Albert Breer, NFL.com
Breer details which running backs the Cowboys were trying to pick in the draft (Gurley, Yeldon, and Rawls ring a bell?) and goes on to write that while the Cowboys may be unhappy with their ground game, one of those notorious "unnamed sources" claims the Cowboys are not unhappy with their decision to let DeMarco Murray walk.

One thing the Cowboys aren't exactly showing regret for is the decision to let DeMarco Murray walk. Yes, he was a great fit for the Dallas offense. But the Murray-related drama of the last two weeks didn't exactly shock his old co-workers. "The guy is a pro in his preparation and toughness and competitiveness," said one club source. "But he's also entitled, selfish and condescending. He's a great 'team' guy when he's the guy." Murray's reputation in Dallas was of a player who'd mope at times when things didn't go his way, which is part of what the Eagles have dealt with of late.

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