Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys still backing Kellen Moore, but his poor play ‘to be talked about’

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore (17) continues to struggle as the presumed back up to starter Dak Prescott. The Cowboys are backing him publicly but there are private concerns.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore (17) continues to struggle as the presumed back up to starter Dak Prescott. The Cowboys are backing him publicly but there are private concerns. Special to the Star-Telegram

Backup quarterback Kellen Moore’s continued poor play in the preseason is starting to become an area of concern.

He completed 10 of 21 passes for 131 yards with a quarterback rating of 67.8 in the 24-19 victory against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium Saturday night.

He also had a fumble on a sack that was recovered for a touchdown.

“I felt like there were some good things out there,” Moore said. “Obviously the turnover isn’t something we want, no matter what. So we’ve got to hold onto the ball.”

It was a continuation of Moore’s struggles since the start of the preseason. He completed 8 of 17 passes for 69 yards against the Los Angeles Rams last week.

Considering the largely unproven Moore has been given the backup job behind starter Dak Prescott it is a cause for concern — enough for a source to say that he will be the subject of conversation at personnel meetings this week.

What that means is largely unknown. It’s unlikely the Cowboys will go into the season with undrafted rookie Cooper Rush as the backup, no matter how impressive he has been. And the team has so far refused to consider adding a proven veteran free agent to vie with Moore for the backup job.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones continued to publicly back Moore after the Colts game.

Cooper Rush impressed his teammates by doing an impression of Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. Video by Drew Davison.

Garrett blamed Moore’s struggles against the Colts on being put in bad situations.

“He’s a very smart player, makes good decisions,” Garrett said. “I thought he threw the ball to the right guy a lot. I think the biggest thing if you look at his drives is we got behind the chains a little bit, had some holding penalties and you’re looking at some tough down-and-distances. And it’s hard to overcome that. But I thought he handled that stuff for the most part pretty well and just kept trying to execute ball plays. He will continue to do that.”

What’s also true is that Moore has played in only three career games with just two starts, all coming in 2015.

It doesn’t help that the rookie Rush has played lights out the last two games. He completed 8 of 9 passes for 92 yards against the Colts, one week after going 9 for 11 for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Rams.

Jones acknowledged Rush’s play may warrant him being in competition for the No. 2 job, but they still have confidence in Moore.

“I’m just glad to see Rush taking advantage of his opportunities out there,” Jones said. “Wouldn’t want to get ahead of ourselves in any way here. And the other thing is that we still have a lot of confidence in 17 (Moore), his ability to be able to get in there when we would call on him with the personnel around him and get the ball in the right places.

“Make no mistake about it, that Rush, it just gets slow when he gets out there. That’s a compliment. I think Dak’s got it really slowed down. So to say that it’s slow and looks like he’s getting them open.”

That Jones compared Rush to Prescott in how things are slowing down for him and only talked about their confidence in Moore with the right people around him speaks volumes in itself.

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