The Dallas Cowboys start training camp in about 2 weeks so today I am starting a roster preview series leading up to training camp. Many of the positions are settled but there are a few positions with starting spots up for grabs. Every day or two I plan on taking a look at a different position on the roster. In my first part I am going to look at the quarterbacks.
This is obviously one of the most settled positions going into camp. Tony Romo is the clear starter with Jon Kitna backing up and Stephen McGee filling the number three spot on the depth chart. Since everything appears to be pretty well settled what should we look for during training camp out of these three players?
Tony Romo - Tony Romo is a pro bowl caliber quarterback with the potential to be an MVP candidate if the team can put together a great season. Right or wrong, Tony Romo's value is going to be measured by the success of the Dallas Cowboys late in the season and hopefully deep into the playoffs. With the departure of T.O. it is critically important that we see the development of chemistry between Romo and Roy Williams. They need to be on the same page especially on broken plays that require on-the-fly adjustments. Those type of plays tend to be where Romo is at his best so Roy needs to understand where to be so Romo can find him. Outside of that I am hoping to see Romo throwing great looking passes after getting his throwing hand healed up in the offseason. I would also like to see Jason Garrett demanding perfection from him after all we have heard this offseason about doing things "exactly right".
Jon Kitna - I think the Cowboys pretty well know exactly what they are getting in Jon Kitna. He is a solid player who can get the job done if Romo goes down with another injury this season. Kitna took an unbelievable beating as the quarterback of the Lions but he always got back up to play on. He is tough and he still has a decent arm. I would like to see him display a good understanding of the offensive system. I really hope that there is very little dropoff during training camp when he steps in to run the offense. That would give me extreme confidence in the quarterback depth heading into the season.
Stephen McGee - The only way Stephen is going to see an significant, meaningful playing time this season is if everything falls apart due to injuries at quarterback. I want to see if McGee's arm looks as good in practice as many of the players and coaches have been saying since he was drafted. I also want to see him go through his progressions on the plays and show he can find the second, third or even forth option on a play. It is going to take him some time to get up to speed, but time is on his side. In one to two years he needs to be ready to take over the backup role because Jon Kitna is no spring chicken.
Overall, this is the best the quarterback position has looked since the days of Troy Aikman. I am excited the Cowboys have depth this season so the offense won't go in the tank if Romo goes out for a few games again. I think Jerry Jones learned a valuable lesson last season about quarterback depth. I hope we don't see anyone but Romo behind center during the season, but everyone will sleep better knowing all is not lost if Romo goes down.