Monday, February 16, 2009

Should the Cowboys Bring Back Bollinger?

It became painfully obvious this year that Brad Johnson is no longer a viable option at backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. The coaching staff seemed reluctant to give Brooks Bollinger a chance to run the offense even while Brad Johnson was displaying some of the worst quarterback play in recent memory.

When Bollinger did finally get a chance in the second half of the first Giants game he seemed overwhelmed by the moment. He settled down after some poor play to play decently in the 4th quarter of the game. But the big question is whether he did enough to show that he can fill in for Tony Romo if he gets injured again this season. The Cowboys cannot allow the offense to disappear again this season if they lose their starting QB to injury. Did Brooks Bollinger show enough to prove that he should be resigned to be the backup quarterback for the 2009 Dallas Cowboys? My answer is a definite no.

I am not comfortable with Bollinger as the primary backup for a couple of reasons. Why did it take so long for the coaches to finally give Brooks Bollinger a chance to show what he can do? He either did not know the offense or the coaches honestly felt that Brad Johnson gave the team a better chance to win (which is a very scary thought). Bollinger's history in the league shows that he is not capable of playing at the level that a backup quarterback should be able to for a team with Super Bowl hopes.

My other major question about Bollinger is why did he seem so overwhelmed by the situation in the Giants game? He had a look of terror in his eyes and his first pass was intercepted because he short-armed the ball. There is no telling when the Cowboys might need the backup quarterback to step up and make a play. If Romo were to be injured in the middle of a playoff game we can't afford to let Bollinger work out his jitters for a quarter and a half before he settles down. The backup quarterback has got to be able to come in and manage the game as soon as he sets foot on the field.

I would like to see the Cowboys sign or trade for a veteran quarterback with starting experience who is still under the age of 35. I also think we need to use a mid to late round draft pick on a quarterback who can be developed to be the successor or at least the long term backup to Tony Romo. Our backup quarterbacks should have a similar style to Romo so that the entire game plan does not have to be changed to account for a quarterback change. There are plenty of veteran quarterbacks available and I am confident that a mobile quarterback with a gunslinger style can be found in the draft as well. Backup quarterback should be the top priority this offseason.


  1. Great post! I agree that we need a solid back up enough to give us confidence in our back up situation and also to challenge romo in training back. knowing that theres someone there that can replace him if he's not getting the offense going. i say a kyle boller type. strong arm, pretty good accuracy just didn't have the talent around in Baltimore like flacco does now.

  2. I would agree that kyle boller is a better option then brad johnson an brooks bollinger. I would also say that i'd perfer to have a j.p losman or even derek anderson. Cleveland wont keep anderson an quinn at their salary. Its pretty obvious that quinn is the guy of the future so here's hoping anderson or losman is available. If not go draft Chase Daniels in the 3rd/4th round an give romo two more years to prove that he's the quarterback. If he's not Daniels had two years to get ready. Like wise great post.

  3. I disagree ... if better is available then go for it, but don't automatically assume that Bollinger is out of it.

    He played like he did to start for the same reason that it took so long to get him on the field ... Romo gets all but a few snaps each week during practice when he's playing, and whoever is expected to start gets them if he's not playing.

    Johnson did do one thing well for his age, he managed the game, he just didn't do it with his arm or any flashy plays. That's why he was given the most reps in practice with the first team. Bollinger was better suited for that though, and he showed it once he got in the game and got his jitters out of the way.

    Didn't Romo throw a pick on his first pass against the Giants a few years ago?

  4. Romo's first pass wasn't a short armed duck...I believe it was a tipped pass. And Bollinger never showed any flashes of playmaking ability like Romo did when he took over for Bledsoe.

  5. Romo's first NFL pass actually wasn't in the game that he took over at the half for Bledsoe, but the point about the interception is somewhat valid. And it was a tipped pass like the last comment pointed out so it was different than the timid, off target throw by Bollinger. The big difference is that Romo had never been a starter or had any extensive playing time whereas Bollinger had been a starter in the NFL. Add to that the fact that Bollinger looked scared and overwhelmed even with all of his playing time as a Viking. Romo seemed calm and cool after he threw the tipped interception and he had no real playing experience. Bollinger should be able to step into a game and not show nervous jitters for a quarter and a half.

    Did Brad Johnson manage the game against the Rams? I think he pretty much lost that one with his turnovers and poor play. Shouldn't a game manager be able to complete a slant pattern or a 5 yard hook to the tight end? Brad Johnson was not a good game manager. The Cowboys got better play from Quincy Carter.

  6. Maybe you're right about the tip ... I forget. But you point out experience, let's look at that. When was Romo's first year in the league? How about Bollinger? Bollinger had started a bit more of course, but he was also benched more too. Confidence is not only the biggest cause of jitters, but also the biggest cause for success from a quarterback. Not to mention that it was a Giants-Cowboys game, I wouldn't want to take over for Johnson in that game ... no f***ing way.

    I'd rather have the guy show jitters for a quarter and get over them to do his job, than a guy who fakes it and still doesn't get over it. That second guy will never be any good, but the first guy has a chance. just look at Romo.

    The role of game manager has nothing to do with completing passes, that's called a quarterback, something Johnson obviously isn't anymore. The only time he did do anything though, since you mention it, was throwing short passes. He missed a lot, but he made more of those than when he threw deep.

    Point being, Bollinger is newer to this than Romo, so yeah he won't be as good. Romo got a lot of training without being pressured to start at the same time, and that makes a difference if you aren't Tom Brady.

    He isn't great, but with a little more practice ... well, let's just say that he got the start before when other options were available, so he isn't a complete bust. He also isn't worth a ton of cash either. He simply is a reliable backup that *can* get the job done well enough if he must.

  7. What are the other options anyway? It's going to be hard enough to find one decent backup willing to not have a chance to start, let alone two. Might as well keep one if you got him.

    Better than bringing in a Leftwich, for example, who will piss and moan because he won't get to compete for a starting job.

    I understand your points, but this just isn't the year to be concerned with them.

  8. I think we assumed that the backup quarterback position was not important last year and it cost us our season. I don't have any faith that Bollinger can get the job done if we call on him. If his confidence is indeed gone or at least damaged, then do you want to see him find his mojo over the course of a game or several games while the season goes down the tubes?

    I'll give you several guys that I would take over Bollinger right now. Anthony Wright...he is a serviceable backup. Another name...Chris Simms. And another...Kyle Boller. I'll take any of them over Bollinger any day of the week.

    I guess I just can't get past my first impression of him as a Cowboy. You might be right that he is a capable backup if given a real chance, but I do not trust him at all.

  9. Understood ... trust is something that has to be earned. He earned it with the Cowboys during that 3 game stretch by not being Brad Johnson, which doesn't help him much if Johnson is gone.

    I mentioned confidence more in the fact that he hasn't had his built up yet, not like a true starter anyway. That's a problem that can't realistically be solved without getting another Brad Johnson, unfortunately. When he got the start for the Vikings, he didn't have much to work with down the field, just a running game. It's not conducive to building confidence.

    And to be clear, I still think we need another, not just as a number three either. But I feel the draft and Bollinger for this need will serve our need far better than any quarterback that will sign with this team knowing they won't start ... barring another injury to Romo of course.

  10. Should the Cowboys bring back Bollinger? no