Jameill Showers goes from special teams to QB only

IRVING, Texas -- Jameill Showers is listed as a quarterback on the Dallas Cowboys' roster. Last year, that wasn't really the case even though he spent 16 weeks on the practice squad before a final-week call up to the active roster.

He spent a lot of his time playing special teams in practice. The only time he took snaps came when the Cowboys faced a mobile quarterback. One week he was Russell Wilson. Another he was Ryan Tannehill. Another he was Cam Newton. Then he was Tyrod Taylor.

"Just trying to scramble around and stuff," Showers said.

How many snaps did he take in practice as a Cowboys quarterback?

"None," he said.

Quarterback snaps are a precious commodity. A practice-squad quarterback just won't get a lot of work. Generally, the Cowboys don't give their backup quarterbacks time in practice. The last two seasons Tony Romo took Wednesdays off to rest his ailing back, so Brandon Weeden or Matt Cassel got work. But on Thursdays and Fridays, it was Romo's show.

With Romo missing 12 games in 2015, the snaps were even more precious because they needed to get Cassel up to speed once he became the starter following his trade from the Buffalo Bills. For the last two games, Kellen Moore got the snaps.

Showers spent time in the meeting room largely a forgotten man. He covered more kicks and punts than anything else. The idea of him playing special teams came about in last year's minicamp and took off in training camp. He saw work there in the preseason games, too, making five tackles.

He completed 15 of 32 passes for 125 yards with a touchdown and an interception in preseason work.

"It's always been my mindset and I said I know I can play quarterback in this league," Showers said, "but just doing what you have to do to stay in it too."

This offseason, the letters Q and B next to Showers' name matter. He is a quarterback only, playing behind Romo and competing with Kellen Moore and fourth-round pick Dak Prescott.

"It's hard to compete at quarterback if you're not doing it full-time," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.

Showers' college career started at Texas A&M, where he played behind Tannehill and then Johnny Manziel. He transferred to UTEP after graduating from A&M, starting 17 games with 23 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

The Cowboys like his athletic ability and strong arm. In Wednesday's organized team activity work he took four snaps in 11-on-11 drills and completed 1-of-2 passes; he had a touchdown pass to Chris Brown deflected at the last second.

"It just helps out on the field that I'm not second-guessing myself," Showers said. "Being able to be in the meetings and asking questions that I have during install or maybe from the previous day helps out a whole lot."

Showers said he still feels like a rookie in a way.

"I don't know how long it'll be to where I'm at the point Tony is at or being ahead of the game," Showers said. "But it just takes a lot of studying and knowing the things I need to work on."