IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo is one of the patron saints of undrafted quarterbacks everywhere.
For Alex Tanney, hoping to be the Dallas Cowboys' third quarterback, or at least make another team’s active roster with a solid effort tonight against Houston in the preseason finale, there is another name: Jay Fiedler.
Fiedler played for five teams, most notably with Miami from 2000-04, after coming out of Dartmouth as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He posted a 37-23 record for his career, winning a playoff game for the Dolphins in 2000.
Tanney’s agent, Brian Levy, also represented Fiedler, and the two quarterbacks have become friends.
“I have nothing but respect for someone like that who’s also come from a small school and had success at this level,” said Tanney, who played at Monmouth (Ill.) College, a Division III school. “It’s a positive thing.”
The Cowboys signed Tanney on the first day of training camp. He was with Kansas City in the offseason after spending last season on injured reserve, but was cut in May. The son of a retired high school football coach, he spent two months working out in the Quad Cities, and ran a passing camp for kids before the Cowboys called.
“It was good for me because I’m teaching, I’m working, I’m demonstrating, and then you’ve got some receivers out there running around a little bit,” Tanney said.
Throwing to high school receivers is different than throwing to NFL receivers, even the ones at the bottom of a roster. But Tanney quickly impressed the Cowboys with how fast he picked up the offense and how fast he made decisions on the field. Head coach Jason Garrett has often mentioned Tanney’s instincts.
In four preseason games, he has completed 23 of 43 passes for 246 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Tanney will likely play most, if not all, of tonight’s game against the Texans with the regulars sitting out, but he has purposely not thought about what might or might not happen when final roster cuts come Saturday.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Tanney said. “It’s such a competitive business, but there’s always 31 other team out there looking. I’ve just got to put the best product out there.”