By Shawn S. Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys have two games left in the 2015 NFL season and will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. They also are possibly going to end up with their worst record in over a decade and might be looking forward to the 2016 NFL Draft. With only the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins left on their schedule, here is a look at the Cowboys team news heading into the Bills game.
Dan Bailey Makes the Pro Bowl
Fans of the Dallas Cowboys were worried about any of their players making it to the Pro Bowl this year thanks to their losing record. However, one player made the final vote and he deserves all the recognition he receives. Kicker Dan Bailey is the most accurate kicker in NFL history and continued his successful career in 2015, hitting 28 of his 29 field goal attempts. He even hit five from over 50 yards, proving that he is not only clutch but reliable from any distance. This is his first field goal trip and Bailey said the most important thing is that “it was voted on by other guys around the league,” calling it a respect thing.
Bailey was one of four Cowboys’ players voted into the 2015 Pro Bowl. The other three were offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick. Snubbed was Sean Lee, who has enjoyed a tremendous comeback season with 138 tackles with two games yet to play.
Kellen Moore Preparing for First NFL Start
Kellen Moore was the winningest quarterback in college football history with a 50-3 (.943) overall record at Boise State. He went undrafted and spent two seasons with the Detroit Lions, where he never played a regular season snap. He spent the year on the Cowboys’ practice squad and finally threw his first ever NFL pass, and touchdown, last weekend against the New York Jets. Now, against Buffalo, Moore gets his first ever NFL start. This is where he tries to prove he can become Tony Romo’s backup in 2016. Moore is ready as well, saying “there’s a lot of guys around here who’ve been in these situations and so you want to utilize those resources and ask the questions and soak in anything they have.”
Cowboys’ Receivers Possibly Injured
Kellen Moore would hope that, as he is possibly trying out for the Cowboys’ backup role, he has all his weapons while doing so. That might not be the case. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley both missed practice this week, meaning Moore has not had the chance to throw the ball to either starting receiver as he tries to get his timing down. Bryant is resting his foot, which he broke earlier this season, and while he should play Sunday, Moore needs to work on timing with the receiver. With Beasley also out, Moore might not get the practice with the guys he needs heading into Sunday.
Jason Garrett Says Young Players Have to Earn Playing Time
When teams find themselves mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, many teams will start playing young players to see what they can do for the future. Head coach Jason Garrett made it clear that he is not concerned with 2016 right now. Instead, he still wants to win in 2015. He said that Kellan Moore is playing because he gives Dallas a better chance to win than Matt Cassel. He said that Randy Gregory is getting more playing time because he earned it. “We’re going to play the guys [who] have earned the opportunity to play,” Garrett said. “We create competitive situations each and every day in practice. It’s a competitive league, it’s competitive to be on rosters, it’s competitive to get playing time so you have to earn it.”
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.