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August 27, 2012

Stephen McGee sees final preseason game as chance to 'put a good tape out there'

Stephen McGee is about to get his most action of the season, as is tradition for the fourth-year quarterback in the fourth preseason game, when the Cowboys hold back most of their starters.

“It’s the most reps that I always get all year,” he said. “It’s a great chance to go out there and hopefully put a good tape out there.”

With the cut to 53 coming at the end of the week, it is also the last chance for McGee to show he is ahead of Rudy Carpenter in the competition for the third quarterback spot. McGee is 17-for-29 for 186 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost and two sacks in his action in the preseason so far. Carpenter is 6-for-14 for 78 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and two sacks.

The offense has not moved much with McGee. He has led only one scoring drive, to a field goal following a turnover in Chargers territory two weeks ago. Carpenter led a two-minute drive to a touchdown in that game.

McGee understands criticism that he has not been aggressive enough with the ball.

“The biggest thing is to put the ball where it’s supposed to go,” he said. “If it’s completing an 8-yard stop route because it’s off coverage, that’s where it’s got to go. There’s always what-ifs – ‘This guy came open. ... No, that’s not where the ball is supposed to go.’ I think the other big thing is there are going to be mistakes. Guys are going to come free. You can’t let other people’s mistakes become your own. That’s a big part of preseason football as well.”

McGee said he believes he has shown the Cowboys development in the time since they drafted him out of Texas A&M as an option quarterback in 2009.

“My biggest thing is just that I’ve shown them I have gotten better from Day 1, coming from an option offense into this offense,” he said. “I think they know that. Obviously, being a team guy, helping guys in the huddle, scout team, and coaching guys that are new or that don’t know. I think that’s another thing that’s been big for me. Just helping out Romo whatever way I can and just trying to be a great teammate guy to help us win ball games.”

McGee might enjoy seeing the Dolphins again. Two years ago, when he was also fighting for a roster spot, he threw for 304 yards and a touchdown in a preseason game against Miami, leading a 75-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes to win the game.

“We knew Stephen’s arc was one that was going to be developmental when we drafted him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He hadn’t played in the drop-back system. But we liked so much about what he was all about as a person, as a player coming out, that we felt like we could give him time to do that. This is another example.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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