Dallas Cowboys

Scott Linehan: Tom Landry only coach good enough to alternate QBs

Tom Landry (center) alternated quarterbacks Craig Morton (right) and Roger Staubach (left) to begin the 1971 season before settling on Staubach as his starter.
Tom Landry (center) alternated quarterbacks Craig Morton (right) and Roger Staubach (left) to begin the 1971 season before settling on Staubach as his starter. AP

College teams sometimes use two quarterbacks in games, so why, Scott Linehan was asked, doesn’t it happen in the NFL?

“I don’t know. I’ve never done it, so I don’t really know why they do it at other levels,” the Cowboys offensive coordinator said. “I think teams that do that don’t have a quarterback. They have one guy that can do something, and another guy that can do something, and together they’re a quarterback. That’s my opinion. So when you’ve got guys like Tony [Romo] or Dak [Prescott], that are complete players, you’re sticking with one.”

So don’t expect to see both Prescott and Romo share time in Sunday’s playoff game against the Packers.

“We’re thinking about [it],” Linehan joked. “We’ve got red zone tomorrow, so we might put in a two-quarterback play. It’s a good idea. Tony will be the runner, and Dak will be the thrower. We’ll come up with something.”

Linehan played quarterback at Idaho and signed a rookie free agent contract with the Cowboys in 1987 but didn’t make it to training camp because of a shoulder injury. He said it’s important for the starting quarterback not to look over his shoulder.

“Being a quarterback myself – who wasn’t very good -- knowing you’re going to be the starter is the important part of it,” Linehan said. “I think it’s kind of tough to get into any kind of rhythm or flow if you’re rotating guys.”

Linehan then asked reporters if an NFL team had ever rotated quarterbacks. The Cowboys did it in 1971 with Roger Staubach and Craig Morton – including alternating plays in a Week 7 game against the Bears. Dallas ended up winning the Super Bowl after coach Tom Landry settled on Staubach as his starter.

“Wow. Well, I’m not as good a coach as Coach Landry, so I wouldn’t know how to do it,” Linehan said. “He might be the only one that could pull that off.”

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