The Time Is Now For Stephen McGee

The Dallas Cowboys have made pretty clear in the past few years that they see Stephen McGee as the backup quarterback of the future. But questions of whether he is ready for the role have loomed large around Dallas for some time--particularly before weeks 16 and 17 of last season, in which McGee played six quarters against Arizona and Philadelphia, earning his first start in the 14-13 victory over the Eagles, a pair of performances that, at the very least, weren't bad.

Now, McGee is back to the third string, where, barring injury to both Tony Romo and Jon Kitna, he’ll remain throughout the season. The 38-year-old Kitna’s contract expires at the end of 2011, meaning that in all likelihood, McGee will have to prove that he is ready to take over the no. 2 role in the preseason.

"It's a big preseason and a big opportunity to take control of our huddle and get the guys in the right places," McGee said, per ESPN Dallas. "We have a lot of young guys in the huddle that are not very sure of what they're doing. It's a big thing for me to take control of that."

In McGee’s aforementioned, lone career start, he completed 11 of 27 passes for 127 yards and a late touchdown pass to Jason Witten that gave the Cowboys the win. The Texas A&M product will look to build on that experience in whatever playing time he can get between now and the end of the season, beginning on Thursday night, when the Cowboys host the Broncos for the preseason opener. 

"It’s the confidence of being out there, getting reps in a live situation, a live defense, being the starter for a week," McGee said. "Just the preparation that goes with that leading up to that game. That’s a lot of stuff that I’m going to lean on and grow on and hopefully it’ll pay huge dividends in the time to come."

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