Stephen McGee struggles but has coach's support

SAN DIEGO -- At the end of Saturday night's second preseason game, the numbers showed No. 3 quarterback Stephen McGee completing 9-of-16 passes for 86 yards with an interception and a fumble. McGee's two turnovers led to San Diego touchdowns.

Now, you can't blame everything on McGee. The interception was on a tipped ball and the fumble came when tackle Jeff Adams missed a block off a blitz.

But McGee missed a wide open Dwayne Harris down the middle of the field and elected to dump off a pass to James Hanna on a third-down play, forcing the Cowboys to attempt a field goal.

Rudy Carpenter, playing with the same offensive line, finished 6-for-9 for 78 yards with one touchdown. Carpenter led the Cowboys to three first downs.

McGee led the offense to five first downs on six possessions.

"I thought Stephen did a nice job," coach Jason Garrett said. "He handled the different situations that came up in the game well. I think that’s a really important thing when you’re a quarterback going into the end of a game like this. Somebody misses a block and there’s a sack for a 9-yard loss. Do you get frustrated? Or let the emotions get to the best of you? Do you come back and try to execute the next down? I thought he really did a good job of that throughout. We moved the ball a little bit with him."

Garrett said last week his preference was to keep three quarterbacks, as long as it didn't make the Cowboys short at another position. But McGee hasn't looked impressive in two preseason games, and Carpenter is moving the ball downfield.

McGee has been under duress for the majority of the time he's been on the field, but Carpenter seems to have a better feel for the position.

"He moved around, made some throws in the pocket and made some throws on the move," Garrett said of McGee. "I think he’s getting better and better with every chance he gets."