Q&A: backup QB, Claiborne, & RB depth

Cowboys Blitz will deliver a weekly Q&A discussion after gathering relevant questions from fans.

Q: “Who looks better coming back from their respective injuries, Morris Claiborne or Dez Bryant?”

A: Morris Claiborne. And that’s not to say that Dez is necessarily struggling. There’s plenty of acrobatic catches from Dez throughout training camp, but it’s more-so a testament of how phenomenal Claiborne looks. Claiborne has been the most noticeable defensive back early in training camp; making plays on both sides of the field. It’s still early, but if Claiborne can stay healthy and play with this type of confidence throughout the regular season, he can re-establish himself as a standout corner in the NFL.

Q: “What does the current depth chart look like for this talented running backs group? How many will the Cowboys keep on the 53-man roster?”

A: The primary back will likely be Ezekiel Elliott followed by Alfred Morris, but the depth chart behind Morris is where it gets a bit fuzzy. The Cowboys front office did not want to entertain trading any of their running backs throughout the NFL Draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have Darren McFadden on the roster this season. At the moment, McFadden and Lance Dunbar are slowly working to return from their respective injuries. Rookie running back Darius Jackson has looked extremely impressive throughout training camp, and will likely get a chance to shine in each preseason game receiving a bulk of the carries. If Jackson excels at any special teams opportunities on top of a few solid preseason games, he could find his way onto the 53 man roster. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Cowboys choose to keep four running backs, but they may have to play musical chairs behind Morris for weeks to come.

Q: “What’s the deal on the backup quarterback situation? Will the Cowboys really begin the season with two unproven quarterbacks behind Romo?”

A: Too early to tell at this point. It doesn’t look like the backup quarterback situation has gone the way the front office had hoped it would after Kellen Moore’s broken leg, but that may not be a bad thing. The Cowboys were clearly in the running to acquire free agent quarterback Nick Foles before Foles chose to reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City, and several sources have stated the Cowboys current interest in Browns quarterback Josh McCown. Stephen Jones has mentioned specifically looking for a veteran presence to accompany Romo, but it’s obvious the price has gone up; especially in August. If the Cowboys truly want to acquire McCown, they’ll likely have to overpay. And it doesn’t look like they want to. At this point, you just have to determine which risk you’re willing to take. Allow the young duo of Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers to continue to develop and see what you have there, or overpay for a quarterback who you are merely hoping could win you a few games if Romo suffers another injury. After the Weeden and Cassel experiments, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys take the cheaper route. Prescott and Showers have both looked promising throughout training camp, but their play in these upcoming preseason games should determine their role this season.

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