Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore’s first stint as an NFL starter should increase his chances of sticking in a league that often recycles the quarterbacks it knows rather than experiment with the untested.
Moore started the final two games of the season for the Dallas Cowboys and played more than half of the previous game — ending a nearly four-year wait for his opportunity to play in regular-season games.
He’s under contract with the Cowboys in 2016, when he likely will compete for the backup job, and should have improved appeal to the rest of the NFL after throwing for 435 yards in the season finale Sunday against Washington.
“It’s very valuable,” Moore said of the playing time he can put on his resume. “For the most part, starters are starters and guys that are in backup roles, people like to have guys with experience in those situations. The more experience, for the most part, the better. We got a taste of that for a couple weeks. We’ll see where that can take us.”
Here’s the bulk of our interview with Moore on Monday:
Q: After all that waiting, what was it like to play in NFL regular-season games?
A: I enjoyed it. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play a few games in the NFL. You feel like there’s been a lot of people who have been in my shoes, situations like mine, waiting three or four years and you start to wonder if that opportunity is ever going to come.
Q: This is something you dreamed about for a long time. How did the experience measure up?
A: The preparation during the week doesn’t allow you much time to ponder anything like that. It’s a grind, but I enjoyed it. There were good things, there were bad things. You learn from those things. At the end of the day, there’s only one way to come out of this and that’s in an optimistic, positive way. We’ll learn from a few opportunities and take hold of those positive things that happened and grow from those.
Q: You hadn’t started a game in four years (as a Boise State senior in 2011) ...
A: It’s been since Boise that I truly played a full game, start to finish. It seems like a long time ago, which it probably is. ... I really didn’t have a ton of time to get used to it. You figure it out on the fly.
Q: How would you evaluate your performance?
A: Some good, some bad. I feel like there’s a decent amount of positives out of that. You latch onto those. You grow from them. It’s tape of you playing regular-season games. That’s huge that you can evaluate yourself from that perspective.
Q: Watching on TV, it seemed like you were making the right decisions. Were you comfortable?
A: I felt comfortable. I felt like I was prepared on Sunday. I felt fortunate that I was surrounded by some great people and resources in the quarterback room.
Q: The turnovers hurt you. The mistakes appeared more physical than mental. What was your take?
A: You just learn from them, grow from them. Certainly turnovers are always opportunities that quarterbacks want to have back.
Q: What did you learn? What is your major takeaway from this experience?
A: At the end of the day, you come out optimistic. You’re able to play in a couple games in the NFL. Certainly, it wasn’t perfect. There were plenty of things you’d like to have back. You look at it as a lot of positives, some things that were accomplished, and learn from those and hopefully be able to build on it.
Q: You mentioned the potential for doubts — did you start to wonder whether you’d get a chance?
A: Yeah. That’s natural for anyone. You wait long enough, you wonder if it’s ever going to happen. I felt very fortunate down here. Obviously I feel fortunate to play. It was unfortunate circumstances that led up to it.
Q: Did you get wind of the excitement in Boise about you playing?
A: Some of the Dallas media kind of chimed in on it. They were having a few good laughs on it. I was having to go explain to them the passion and the following that Boise State has in Idaho. Everyone up there is awesome. They’ve been very supportive through the years and I’m very appreciative of it.
Q: Do you have any indication where the Cowboys see you fitting in next year?
A: We’ll see. The season just got over Sunday. You really don’t have much time to process all this. ... I should be back for an opportunity and we’ll see what that opportunity becomes.
Cowboys’ QBs by the numbers
Here’s how Kellen Moore fared in Dallas this season, compared to regular starter Tony Romo and other QBs Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden: