Jameill Showers is having a blast at the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
The former Shoemaker quarterback is in his second professional season with America’s Team, and he is relishing the opportunity to play in the NFL.
“I feel good,” Showers told the Herald. “It’s a dream come true, and it’s what I was up there at Shoemaker working every other day for.”
The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder now has a prime opportunity to solidify a spot on Dallas’ 53-man roster as a backup to 14-year veteran Tony Romo.
On Tuesday, Kellen Moore, who was expected to be Romo’s backup heading into the season, suffered a broken ankle during practice. It is uncertain how long the Boise State product will be out.
Showers felt terrible about the injury.
“Since he’s been here, he’s helped me out,” he said of Moore. “He’s been in coach (Scott) Linehan’s system in Detroit, and he has a lot of knowledge about the game. I think he is the most winningest quarterback in college football history.
“It was definitely tough to see a good guy like that go down, and I know he wants to be out there with us.”
The Cowboys have been expected to sign or trade for a veteran to replace Moore.
It was rumored they were interested in Nick Foles before the free agent signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday. They have also reportedly discussed a trade for Josh McCown, a 14-year veteran who is slated to back up Copperas Cove’s Robert Griffin III for the Cleveland Browns.
But as of now, Dallas’ front office has not brought another quarterback in. That has left Showers and Dak Prescott, its fourth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State in April, on the depth chart behind Romo.
“With his injury, it has allowed me to step up and get more reps,” Showers said. “You don’t really want to see anybody go down, but that’s just the game. It’s a physical game, and sometimes freak accidents happen.
“But I think it definitely shows a little bit of faith in me and Dak.”
Showers knows he cannot control whether the front office goes out and gets another quarterback or not, and he tries not to put too much thought into it. He has enough on his plate in trying to make a case for himself as a reliable option under center behind Romo.
It helps that he has some experience in this situation from his time playing in college.
Showers was the odds-on favorite to replace the departed Ryan Tannehill in 2012 as a sophomore for Texas A&M. That did not happen, however, as he lost a competition for the job to redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel.
Showers graduated with his bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M that summer, utilized the NCAA graduate-transfer rule and moved to Texas-El Paso, where he was the Miners’ starting quarterback for the next two years.
“A lot of people don’t realize what or how that changed me,” Showers said. “When I went out to UTEP, I actually ended up getting baptized out there. It kind of switched what I was chasing, or the reason that I was chasing things.
“Before, it was for myself. But now, I’m chasing to glorify God. Since I did that, everything has changed for me.”
Showers’ newfound faith also changed his perspective inside the game of football. He credits his faith for his opportunity to wake up in Oxnard, right now, and don a star on each side of his football helmet.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be here,” Showers said. “I think it changed in a sense that now I don’t get down when I get yelled at. If I do bad, I just know it’s blessing to be out here — period.
“That just kind of keeps me in a positive mindset, and if you have a positive mindset, you’re in a good place.”
With his mind right, Showers can focus solely on earning a place on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. He said he has great examples of how to go about his business in many current teammates, especially tight end Jason Witten.
“I’d argue that he’s a robot,” Showers said. “If you think about his 14-year career, he’s missed one game because of a broken jaw. There have been times where I see him barely be able to walk going into the building, and two hours later he’s going full speed and catching touchdown passes at practice.
“And there’s a standard he holds himself and everybody around him to. I’ve actually been yelled at probably more by him than my coaches. It’s a good thing, too, because it shows that he believes in you.
“You want guys like that to believe in you.”
Showers used Sean Lee as another illustration, and he added that the seventh-year linebacker has another gear not many can reach.
“Every time I talk to him, he’s always talking about football,” Showers said. “He’s had some tough times overcoming injuries. But unless he absolutely cannot go, he’s going to go hard and at full speed.
“I would compare him to a water boy, because he’s all over the field. And he’s definitely the tempo-violator in walkthroughs. He’s the only guy going full speed.”
And he said Romo sets the precedent for how the quarterback position is played.
“Just the things that he says and the way that he thinks; the way he uses his eyes to get the defenders to do basically what he wants them to do; the way he handles the offense,” Showers said of Romo. “People don’t realize how much goes into running the offense as a quarterback, and he does it like it’s nothing.”
Showers aims to get to where Romo is, where quarterbacking in the NFL is almost second nature. While he might not be there right now, he believes he can and ultimately will get there.
Winning a backup job in Dallas this fall would be a great way to start.