The Dallas Cowboys are going to be a much improved football team in 2016 and it all starts with the return of Tony Romo. Last year in Romo's injury absence, the Cowboys went 1-13 with the likes of Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden quarterbacking the roster. After Weeden proved incapable of doing the job and then Cassel proved incapable of it too, the Cowboys switched over to Kellen Moore for the last three weeks of the season. While Moore's claim to fame in the final three games of the season was his Week 17 performance against the Washington Redskins, that 400-yard day was him going up against third-stringers.
There were some thoughts that the team could target Jared Goff or Carson Wentz with the fourth-overall pick. But after the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles respectively traded up for the first and second picks, the Cowboys looked elsewhere for their first-round pick. And while the Cowboys were interested in trading back into the first round to get Paxton Lynch, the Cowboys ended up getting the quarterback they've followed closely all along in Mississippi State's Dak Prescott.
Dallas had been connected to Prescott since the Senior Bowl. In that game, Prescott was the MVP. He was impressive all week and while the Cowboys were the coaches for the opposite team, they were still given the chance to get an in-person of what Prescott can become and what is character is made of.
The praising of Prescott is usually the same. He's an unbelievable leader who has charisma and he's also the player that is leaned upon when clutch plays need to happen. A starter for three and a half years in the SEC, Prescott improved each season, posting better touchdown/interception ratios on top of improved accuracy. The key statistic that sticks: 29 touchdowns to five interceptions.
While Prescott had quite the career at Mississippi State and there are some things to love about him, there are some questions about becoming a traditional-style quarterback. Prescott is a guy that the Cowboys love, but if Romo suffers a fifth major injury (three collarbone injuries, one back injury), are the Cowboys comfortable with Prescott coming in and playing? That question is still very much up in the air.
The case to keep three quarterbacks on the roster.
Moore's time in Scott Linehan's offense has dated back a few years since their time together with the Detroit Lions. And while Moore's arm is one of his weakest assets and he doesn't have much pocket feel, he's still a heady quarterback that can read defenses and do what is asked of a backup quarterback. Jerry Jones' comments on Moore a couple weeks ago proved just how much faith the team has in the former Boise State superstar:
"Kellen Moore has shown the 'it'. He's got the instincts, he's got the anticipation, he knows what's going on, he gives me and us a great feeling about basically improving. Obviously those interceptions are not something you can live with, but some of the stuff he was doing was just pretty obvious that the team was responding and he was able to move the team."
Dallas has a ton of questions on their roster: Do they want to keep four running backs? Will they keep six wide receivers? Will they keep four tight ends? How many offensive linemen will make the roster? How many defensive linemen will the Cowboys keep with suspensions to DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory?
By keeping three quarterbacks on the roster, the Cowboys ensure that they're giving two spots away to players who won't get action on the field unless there is an injury to Romo. History has proven that the Cowboys would rather have two quarterbacks on the roster rather than three.
If Prescott can prove to Jason Garrett, Wade Wilson, and Linehan that he can comprehend the playbook quickly and prove adept at reading defenses and having good anticipation with his passes, he'll have the upper-hand over Moore. If Prescott truly is the quarterback of the future, then the Cowboys should feel comfortable with giving him the keys to the offense if Romo does indeed go down with another injury.