When Moore went down, the Cowboys flirted with the idea of bringing in several veteran quarterbacks to backup Tony Romo. Ultimately, they opted to give those reps to rookie Dak Prescott.
Prescott thrived with his opportunity and found himself with a starting job a couple weeks later when Romo went down with an injury. The rest is history as Prescott went on to have arguably the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
“Obviously, I was disappointed. It was just kind of a fluke deal because you get stepped on all the time and just kind of a perfect storm,” Moore said. “But we certainly figured out Dak is a pretty darn good quarterback in the process, so not all things are bad. Obviously, it turned out great.”
Yes it did. The Cowboys found their quarterback of the future in Prescott.
A year later, though, Moore finds himself in a similar situation. Instead of serving as Romo’s backup, Moore is now Prescott’s backup.
Moore has put together a solid camp early on. He has shown no limitations rolling out on his ankle, and has gained the full confidence of the coaching staff and front office to handle the backup job.
“Kellen’s just handled everything really, really well,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He was having a really good camp last year up to the point when he got hurt. He just responded the right way. He did an excellent job with his rehab. He was around our team and a big part of our team last year. He was in all the meetings and was around at practice helping the guys. Just was a strong contributor to our team.
“He got healthier and healthier as the year went on. He had a really good off-season with us and has practiced well up to this point in training camp. He has responded really well to that situation and he’s playing very good football right now.”
Moore has played in only three games and has been intercepted more times than he’s thrown touchdowns. All of his game experience came with the Cowboys at the end of 2015 and the coaches were encouraged by his performance in the season finale against the Washington Redskins.
Moore passed for 435 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
That outing was enough for the Cowboys to believe Moore is capable of handling the backup duties. They signed him to a one-year deal worth $775,000 this off-season.
The Cowboys talked with more proven veterans such as Josh McCown, but were always comfortable enough with Moore in that role.
“I understand this business pretty well and you don’t take it personal or worry too much about it,” Moore said. “I feel fortunate with the situation I am in here, feel good about it. I’ve been here for three years, so feel like I have a good understanding of the system and what’s going on.”
Moore could return to game action for the first time since that 2015 season finale on Thursday night when the Cowboys play the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game.
It’s been more than 19 months since Moore has played in a game, but he downplayed the significance of it. As he said, he’s gone through a full off-season of work with the team.
“I don’t think it’s as drastic now,” Moore said. “I think it was more getting to OTAs (organized team activities) and doing at least football where you’ve got people around you and all that good stuff. The game is obviously, at the end of the day, is the main thing.”
Hall of Fame Game
Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Tom Benson Stadium, Canton, Ohio