The quarterbacks room has a vacant seat in it, at least to start the season. For the first time since 2008, the Cowboys have only two quarterbacks on their roster.
That doesn't mean it will stay that way -- Jason Garrett said they could add a quarterback to the practice squad -- but injuries at other positions have dictated that the Cowboys go short at quarterback at least for Week 1.
"We absolutely value the quarterback position," Garrett said. "We feel like we have an outstanding starting quarterback and an outstanding No. 2 quarterback. We like to have a developing third quarterback, and Stephen McGee was that for us the last couple, three years, and was doing a good job, but at the end of the day, you have to evaluate the whole roster. We have a number of injuries throughout our football team, so we felt like it was important for us to acquire a tight end. We saw one who was available who we think can help us, and the third quarterback spot was the odd-man out in this situation. We like having three guys around. We've done that in the past. But at the same time, you have to manage the roster."
McGee initially made the 53-player roster. But Dallas claimed a veteran tight end, Colin Cochart, off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday as insurance in case Jason Witten can't play Wednesday and needed McGee's roster spot. McGee, a fourth-round pick in 2009, had backed up Tony Romo and Jon Kitna the past three seasons.
Each of the past two Decembers, the Cowboys have signed quarterback Chris Greisen to the practice squad as insurance, because of injuries at the quarterback position. In 2010, the Cowboys lost both Romo and Kitna, and McGee had to start the season finale against the Eagles. In 2011, Romo played through a rib injury and punctured lung early in the season and a right hand injury late in the season.
"We'd like to have a third quarterback at least on our practice roster, but with the injuries, it was hard for us to do that this particular week," Garrett said. "We need to have guys who can run routes, play defense, play in the back end, so we made a lot of decisions to help us do that. But we're always looking for quarterbacks. We're looking at the guys we have, and then, we're looking at guys around the league. We have a whole scouting department, evaluating every roster in this league and trying to stack the guys up relative to each other and relative to the guys we already have."
Garrett said tight end John Phillips and receiver Dwayne Harris are capable of being the emergency quarterbacks, but the Cowboys have not worked with them taking snaps yet.
-- Charean Williams