Dallas Cowboys: Stephen Mcgee

Cowboys might sign a quarterback

November, 25, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- According to multiple sources, the Cowboys are interesting in signing a quarterback if veteran backup Jon Kitna's back injury doesn't improve.

Kitna has endured back issues for parts of the season but has been inactive with the injury the past two weeks. The last time Kitna played in a game, he took a knee to close out the victory over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 13.

Stephen McGee has been Tony Romo's backup with Kitna unavailable.

Cowboys officials don't have plans to work out any quarterbacks Friday, but there is a chance if the team places Kitna on injured reserve, ending his season, a new quarterback would be signed.

Kitna, 39, in the final year of his contract and might retire after this season.

The Cowboys put in a claim for quarterback Kyle Orton this week after he was released by the Denver Broncos. But the Kansas City Chiefs were awarded Orton.

"We were probably trying to make sure we didn’t have a guessing game here at backup quarterback relative to Kitna," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said on KRLD-FM Friday morning regarding the claim for Orton. "I don’t know on Kitna. We just have to see how that goes."

There are plenty of quarterbacks available as free agents and some on practice squad rosters, such as Rudy Carpenter in Tampa Bay. Carpenter spent time with the Cowboys in 2009 training camp and was on their practice squad roster that year before the Buccaneers signed him.

Carpenter played in one preseason game for the Cowboys in 2009 leading the team to a victory vs. Minnesota.

If a player leaves the practice squad to join another team's active roster, he must remain eligible to play for three weeks.

Another possible candidate is Tom Brandstater, who was waived by the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 9. He was in Cowboys camp before getting released on Sept. 3.

So there are quarterbacks with some knowledge of Jason Garrett's offense available. It's just a matter of finding the right one if Kitna's season is done.

Jason Garrett: Orton's a "very good player"

November, 23, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- If the Cowboys are going to put in a waiver claim on quarterback Kyle Orton, who was released Tuesday by Denver, coach Jason Garrett isn’t saying.

But Garrett did not shoot down the possibility either.

“Kyle Orton’s certainly been a very good player at a very important position for a while in this league and he’s available,” Garrett said. “It seems like there’s a lot of interest in him from around the league. And like with any player who’s available we have conversations, discussions about him and see where he might fit with our football team.”

The Cowboys could be in the need for a quarterback because of a back ailment suffered by Jon Kitna, although Garrett said he remains hopeful Kitna could be back Dec. 3 against Arizona. According to sources, Kitna had a cortisone injection last week but he has not been seen around the facility.

Stephen McGee will be Tony Romo’s backup for the second straight game. Garrett said the team has a third quarterback plan, but he did not divulge what it would be. In the past, the Cowboys could have used Tashard Choice in the Wildcat. Perhaps they could do the same with Felix Jones. Dez Bryant served as the scout-team quarterback for a few snaps when the Cowboys prepared for Philadelphia’s Michael Vick.

For more on why Orton could be a good fit for the Cowboys, click here.

Why Cowboys, Kyle Orton could make sense

November, 22, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Sometimes you have to think a little crazy in order to make some wise decisions, so I bring you this: the Cowboys should put a waiver claim in on quarterback Kyle Orton.

Denver surprised many Tuesday by deciding to cut the veteran quarterback now that Tim Tebow has gone 4-1 as the Broncos starter. Any team would have to pick up the remainder of Orton’s base salary, which is about $2.6 million, and possibly pay Denver some salary it had forwarded the quarterback earlier.

It makes sense for the Cowboys for a number of reasons.

** It keeps Orton away from Chicago.

The Bears are 7-3 but will be without starter Jay Cutler possibly for the rest of the season because of a broken thumb. They are turning to Caleb Hanie to keep their playoff chances afloat. At 6-4, the Cowboys would get the priority over Chicago in the waiver process. Given all of the potential wild-card possibilities down the road, why not weaken one of your biggest competitors?

** Jon Kitna’s back.

Kitna has not practiced since last week and did not make the trip to Washington D.C. because of a back injury. He will not play Thursday against Miami and, according to multiple sources, he has already had a cortisone shot. If that does not alleviate the pain in his back, then Kitna could likely be on injured reserve. Stephen McGee did a nice job in relief of Kitna last year, but he does not have the experience of an Orton. If something were to happen to Tony Romo, then the Cowboys would be protected more with Orton.

** The future.

Orton is in the last year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent following this season. Say he joins another team in 2012 and starts every game. If all of that happens, then the Cowboys would be in position to receive a compensatory pick in 2013 and perhaps a decent one at that. You always want to get more draft picks.

Orton, 29, has thrown 79 touchdowns and been picked off 55 times. He has a 79.4 passer rating for his career.

And there’s this to think about too: he was coached in Chicago by Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. He also shares the same agent as head coach Jason Garrett in David Dunn.

Is he a great quarterback? Probably not. Could he help the Cowboys in 2011? Yes.

Is it crazy?

Jon Kitna not likely to be ready Thursday

November, 21, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- There is a strong likelihood that backup quarterback Jon Kitna will not be available for Thursday’s game against Miami because of a back injury.

Kitna did not make the trip to Washington D.C. on Saturday after sitting out two practices last week. According to sources he had a cortisone injection last week. Kitna has missed a handful of practices the last two years, though mostly in training camp because of this injury.

Without Kitna, Stephen McGee will serve as Tony Romo’s backup.

“This one seems to be a tick more severe than the earlier ones, but we’re certainly hopeful he can respond to treatment and come back quickly,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Having these two games close to each other it’s a little bit difficult for him to get back, say, this week but we’re hopeful as the weeks go by we can get him back. He’s a big part of our football team.”

Kitna was one of five players not to practice Monday, joining Miles Austin, Tony Fiammetta, Mike Jenkins and Gerald Sensabaugh. Felix Jones (ankle) and Kyle Kosier (foot) were limited, while Mat McBriar (foot) and Sean Lee (wrist) took part in a full workout that lasted a little more than an hour.

First quarter: Cowboys 7, Redskins 0

November, 20, 2011
LANDOVER, Md. -- After one quarter the Cowboys have a nice and simple 7-0 lead at FedEx Field.

Turnover leads to first score: Jason Garrett says whoever wins the turnover battle should win the game. The first touchdown was set up by a turnover when safety Gerald Sensabaugh forced a fumble on a hit on tight end Fred Davis with 8:39 to play. Washington coach Mike Shanahan challenged the ruling thinking Davis' knee was down before the fumble. The replay confirmed the turnover, and two plays later Dez Bryant caught a 22-yard pass from Tony Romo for a 7-0 lead.

Jones get in:Running back Felix Jones made his return after a four-game absence due to a high ankle sprain. Jones worked in practice on kick returns, but it was Akwasi Owusu-Ansah who returned was back for the opening kickoff. Jones did come in on the fifth play of the game and rushed for 6 yards. He picked up three snaps on the first possession of the game.

James back on the field:Bradie James, didn't start, but after getting one snap in the win last week vs. Buffalo, he got at least seven snaps in the first quarter. There was a nice little alignment where James was on the field with Keith Brooking and Sean Lee for two consecutive possessions. James' action was limited last week because the Bills spread their offense out, and the Cowboys wanted their best pass defenders on the field.

Choice makes his debut: Tashard Choice made his Redskins debut and carried for 9 yards near the end of the quarter. After his gain, Choice, a former Cowboys running back, yelled at the Cowboys bench, and Abram Elam gave him a little shove to shut him up.

No Kitna or Fiammeta: The Cowboys don't have their backup quarterback Jon Kitna (back) and starting fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) for the game. Stephen McGee is the backup and the Cowboys will use John Phillips as a fullback. On the first possession of the game, Phillips came in at fullback on a second-and-1 from the Dallas 29.

Jon Kitna won't make trip to D.C.

November, 19, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Stephen McGee will be the Cowboys’ backup quarterback to Tony Romo on Sunday with veteran Jon Kitna not making the trip to Washington for Sunday’s game against the Redskins.

Kitna did not practice on Thursday and Friday because of a back injury and will be downgraded from doubtful to out on the injury report. He has had back issues off an own over the last two seasons that kept him out of a few practices but never from a game. Kitna, 39 and in his 15th season, is in the last year of his contract and has acknowledged this could be his final season.

He appeared in the Week 2 win at San Francisco after Romo suffered a fractured rib. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 87 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He started nine games last year and threw for 2,365 yards with 16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a career-high 88.9 passer rating.

McGee has been active for three of the Cowboys’ nine games but has not had any action. He played in two games last year with one start, beating Philadelphia, 14-13, in the season finale. He finished the year with 238 yards on 22-of-44 passing with two touchdowns.

Kitna will join Miles Austin (hamstring), Mike Jenkins (hamstring) and fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) on the sideline for Sunday’s game.

Injury report: Felix Jones questionable

November, 18, 2011

Cowboys running back Felix Jones went through his third straight day of limited practice and is listed as questionable on the injury report for Sunday’s game at Washington.

Jones is expected to play after missing the last four games with a high left ankle sprain suffered Oct. 16. What Jones’ role will be, however, is not clear. DeMarco Murray has rushed for 601 yards in Jones’ absence and the rookie running back will continue to be the starter.

Jones, who ran for 253 yards on 63 carries and caught 14 passes for 105 yards in the first four games, could be the third-down running back and also return kicks. He handled kick returns with a group of players in practice this week and averaged 24.2 yards a return in 2008-09.

Fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness), cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring) and wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) will not play Sunday. Jenkins will miss his third straight game but has hopes of playing on Thanksgiving against Miami. Austin will miss his second straight game and is expected to return in December.

Backup quarterback Jon Kitna (back) is doubtful after missing the last two days of practice, which would make Stephen McGee the No. 2 behind Tony Romo. Right guard Kyle Kosier is also questionable but has not misses a game this year.

Linebacker Sean Lee will play for the second straight game with a cast protecting his dislocated left wrist, as will punter Mat McBriar, who has a nerve problem in his left leg. They are listed as probable.

Stephen McGee ready if Jon Kitna can't go

November, 18, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- With Jon Kitna missing his second straight day of practice with a back injury, Stephen McGee could be in position to be Tony Romo’s backup Sunday at Washington.

McGee took all of the scout-team snaps in practice the last two days. He normally gets one day of work with Kitna handling the scout teams duties on Wednesdays and Fridays. He did not take any snaps with the first team offense, which is custom.

“It’s life in the NFL as a backup quarterback,” McGee said. “Opportunities are random. You never know when they’re going to come, how they’re going to come, what the situation is or where it’s going to be. You’ve just got to go about your business the same way. If you do that, then when something does happen you’re as best ready as you can be.”

McGee has been active for only three games this season and has not taken a snap. Kitna saw action in the first half of the Week 2 win at San Francisco after Romo suffered a rib injury. McGee served as Kitna’s backup for nine games last year and started the season finale at Philadelphia.

“I don’t know the final word,” McGee said. “Right now I’m just waiting to hear from the coaches. You’re always preparing for whatever situation comes. That’s my role to try to get ready as best I can emotionally, certainly mentally and be ready to go in case Kitna can’t.”

Jon Kitna (back) not practicing again

November, 18, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Backup quarterback Jon Kitna isn't practicing for the second consecutive day due to a sore back.

Kitna's injury could result in No. 3 quarterback Stephen McGee being on the gameday roster Sunday. McGee has been inactive four of the previous five games.

The Cowboys listed Kitna as doubtful.

The 39-year-old Kitna has only taken meaningful snaps in one game this season. He completed six of 10 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions while Tony Romo was treated for a broken rib during the Sept. 18 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers.

IRVING -- The Cowboys are using wide receiver Dez Bryant to simulate Michael Vick in practice.

Now Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee are also running some plays, but using Bryant's skills as a lefty quarterback, which is what Vick is, is helpful.

"Well, he's not Michael Vick. Michael Vick is Michael Vick," Jason Garrett said before Friday's practice. "You run into that really on a weekly basis its hard to simulate how good these guys are. But I think he gave us a chance. Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee did a lot of it. But Dez gave us some looks back there where he's moving around and really making it hard on our defensive guys to keep him in the pocket. I thought the look was pretty good."

Jason Garrett's draft pick philosophy

October, 19, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Wide receiver Dwayne Harris cleared waivers and will return to the Cowboys’ practice squad. The biggest sign of his return was the fact that his locker remained intact.

With injuries along the offensive line the Cowboys decided to cut Harris, their sixth round pick in April to make room for guard Daniel Loper. The Cowboys have cut three draft picks with Harris and fullback Shaun Chapas (seventh) returning to the practice squad. Cornerback Josh Thomas was claimed by Carolina after he was released.

From 2009-11, the Cowboys have drafted 26 players and only 10 are currently on the active roster: Stephen McGee, Victor Butler, David Buehler, John Phillips, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Sean Lissemore, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray and David Arkin.

Bruce Carter, the team’s second round pick this year, is expected to be added to the 53-man roster soon and seventh rounder Bill Nagy was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with an ankle injury.

The Cowboys have eight undrafted free agents from 2009-11 on the 53-man roster.

“I think it’s important that you try to make the right decisions for your football team on draft day and then once draft day is over,” Garrett said. “I think one of the worst mistakes an organization can make is say, ‘We drafted these guys, we’re keeping these guys,’ so you can say publicly, ‘Look, we have eight draft picks on our team.’ I think that’s a bad decision. So we try to create competitive environment and we’ve been very happy with our draft picks so far and the role they’re going t have now and in the future.”

Welcome to Foxborough

October, 16, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- We are here at Gillette Stadium and the Cowboys take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Or is it the Patriots take on Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.

Here's the update:

Cowboys inactives:Stephen McGee, David Buehler, Tony Fiammetta, David Arkin, Derrick Dockery, Clifton Geathers and Jason Hatcher.

Cowboys update: The Cowboys come in here 16-6 after bye weeks trying to earn a win against one of the top teams in the AFC. The Cowboys are going deep at cornerback today with Frank Walker expected to get some time on the dime package. Of course having a healthy group, especially at wide receiver, is a first for the Cowboys since Week 1. Miles Austin makes his return from a hamstring injury for the first time since Week 2 at San Francisco. Also, big test for the Cowboys upfront where it has to contain Vince Wilfork, the powerful nose tackle.

Patriots inactives:Julian Edelman, Ryan Mallett, Ras-I Dowling, Josh Barrett, Sergio Brown, Jerod Mayo and Sebastian Vollmer.

Patriots update: Tom Brady is 7-1 all-time vs. the NFC East, with the only loss coming in 2003 vs. the Washington Redskins. At home, Brady is fantastic. He's 16-2 at home vs. the NFC East. Playing at Gillette Stadium is a safe haven for the Patriots. Since 2002, the Pats are 69-14 at home.

Debating the 46-man roster

September, 26, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With it appearing as if Stephen McGee will be active for the first time this season even with Tony Romo starting despite a fractured rib, Jason Garrett will have to be creative in formulating his 46-man roster.

Wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring), cornerback Orlando Scandrick (ankle) and guard Derrick Dockery (knee) will not play. Defensive end Clifton Geathers and guard David Arkin have been inactive the first two weeks.

That leaves two spots to fill.

Running back Phillip Tanner? Remember, Felix Jones will be playing with a dislocated shoulder, so maybe the Cowboys carry four tailbacks again.

Kicker David Buehler? He has a groin strain and will be a game-time decision. Even if he were healthy, would it make sense to have two kickers on the 46-man roster?

Wide receiver Laurent Robinson? With Miles Austin hurt and Dez Bryant banged up, it would seem they need to dress Robinson.

Cornerback Frank Walker? See the wide receiver breakdown with Terence Newman coming back from injury and Mike Jenkins always banged up.

The guess? Tanner and Buehler will be the final two inactive players.

Stephen McGee ready for active duty

September, 24, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- With Tony Romo troubled by a fractured rib for Monday’s game, the Cowboys will have to in all likelihood dress three quarterbacks for the first time this season, which is good news for Stephen McGee.

McGee was inactive the first two weeks in large part because of the new 46-man roster rule on game day. With roster spots at a premium, coach Jason Garrett played the percentages on whether he would need a No. 3 quarterback.

"It sucks for me," McGee said. "It's probably good for the team, though. I completely understand it, and it makes a lot of sense. You feel left out, though. When you're in shorts and a T-shirt, you get bugged to pieces about: Are you hurt? What's wrong with you? They get rid of you? Why are you in shorts and a T-shirt? That gets annoying. But it is what it is."

If Romo cannot play, then McGee would back up Jon Kitna, a role he handled after Romo was lost last year to a broken collarbone. McGee started the season finale at Philadelphia after Kitna was hurt.

“I think the biggest difference is the last 24 hours, just preparing yourself emotionally to play,” McGee said. “My approach throughout the week is always the same, and I prepare to be the starter even though I'm the third-string guy. You never know when that opportunity comes, especially if you're dressing out, those last 24 hours I think are really important emotionally. You have to imagine yourself out there playing, even though I don't get reps in practice.”

Five-star answer: Play the percentages, yes

September, 22, 2011
This week's question: Will the Cowboys have a run of 10 yards or more vs. Washington

I’m going to play the law of averages here and say yes. Absolutely. Even if Felix Jones does not play or is severely limited, it just has to happen, right?

It’s not just the 48 carries this year that have seen the Cowboys go without a run of 10 yards or more. You have to go back to a 14-yard run with 11:14 to play by Stephen McGee in the fourth quarter of last year’s season finale at Philadelphia for a gain or 10 or more. Jones had the last pickup by a running back with 12:47 to play.

It won’t be easy against the Redskins. They have allowed only four runs of 10 yards or more through the first two games, but they were a little leaky in the second half last week vs. Arizona. The Cardinals had runs of 25, 11 and 10 yards, plus three carries of nine yards.

Jones will play with a dislocated shoulder, which means you could see more of DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice against Washington. Murray showed a little bit of wiggle on a couple of runs last week at San Francisco with blockers meeting him just as he took the handoff from Tony Romo.

Some of the Cowboys’ running game woes have to do with poor blocking and poor decision-making by the backs. But some of it has to do with the first two foes. The New York Jets have had one of the better run defenses the last few years and San Francisco has the longest current streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher. Those are stout front sevens.

Washington has one as well, but you have to play the percentages at some point on this question.