In-depth with Richard Bartel

IRVING, Tex. - Bartel touched on a number of subjects, including his reaction to the weekend's transactions, his future plans, and even his reaction to the constant rumors that the Cowboys might sign – and therefore replace Bartel with – Chris Simms, Brooks Bollinger or any of a number of other quarterbacks recently waived by their teams. caught up with backup quarterback Richard Bartel, the second-year passer who started the Cowboys' final preseason game, got released in the team's final cut and then re-signed Monday morning to the practice squad.

Q: Were you surprised when the team made the first decision to cut you, and then brought you back right away?
A: It was disappointing, you know? It's not my goal to be on the practice squad for two years. But at the same time, I'd like the opportunity to continue to improve. You know, I feel like I made progress over the past year, so I kind of feel like if I can make the same kind of improvement I made over the past year this year, then the next offseason, I could have a definite shot at the 53-man (roster), eventually.

But this team is contending for a Super Bowl, you know, and that experience is something I can't give myself, so if they feel like they need to bring a guy in who has that, that's what they're going to do. I don't have anything I can do, but I'll compete for the week that I'm here, and if they decide to keep me past that, I'll continue to compete. I'd love to prove the organization wrong – or right. It's their opportunity, just like it is mine.

Q: Did you listen to any other teams (after getting released)?
A: Yeah, the only other choice I really had was Miami's practice squad, but they couldn't even talk to me until (Monday), and if it fell through, and I didn't even take the week here, I'd be at home right now.

To be honest with you, I really didn't feel like my choices would come down to this. I thought I'd improved enough. Not that I'm at my athletic peak or anything like that, but I felt like I've improved.

It is what it is. To say that I didn't wallow in self-pity yesterday would be a lie. I did for a little bit, and then I got motivated. So I feel very motivated right now, and hopefully I can turn that into a positive, and I know I will, actually.

Q: How can you block out all the discussion about Bollinger or Simms or someone coming here?
A: I don't really care, you know, about that. Bring them in, for all I care. It is what it is. I would love the opportunity to be here and show them that I can play at their level, you know, even if it is on practice squad. I would just like the opportunity to be compared, as opposed to a "non-opportunity," I guess. So that's kind of where I'm at right now … but I'm very motivated. However much I thought it took last year, it's going to take even more, and I can give more.

I spent the last year losing weight and improving my footwork, so now I can work on the mental aspect of the game, work on more situational, more two-minute (offense), more how to prepare for a game. Now I've got experience playing an entire game, I know the situations of the game and how to prepare for it. Now I can be more efficient and give them what they want, someone they can trust. I'm not going to have the experience, at this point going into next year, then I've got to be on top of my game, at least enough for somebody to trust me.

Q: (If the Cowboys release Bartel again and) if someone comes after you this time around …
A: I'm out of here. I'm out – no doubt. I just … everybody in this locker room wants an opportunity, and I'm just looking for mine now.

Q: So when you were "wallowing in self-pity" last night, did you get a chance to talk to (quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson) or (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) and ask "where did I fall short?
A: You know, I did talk to both of them last night, and it was good to talk to them. I called them. It's a situation where they don't necessarily speak to you directly when the decision's made, and so I guess I was a little lost, I guess.

So, when I talked to them last night, it was – not comforting, I guess – it was very reassuring to that just didn't suck, that their situation is what the team needs, and I can understand that. You know, injuries happen, and unfortunately, we've had some bad luck with that, and people get axed when that happens. I understand that.

I just don't want an opportunity to not come my way. I can grind it out – I know that I can. What scares me is just to not have a chance. If I can just have a chance, I feel like I can survive.

I know me, personally. Based on the evaluation and whatnot from the outside looking in, people just know me by what they saw Thursday, and that's the most improvement that you (media) guys can say that I've made, but I know me, and I know what I do well and what I don't do well. I know what I can (do) better, and what's unrealistic for me, and my drive and motivation is part of what got me here, and that's what's going to take me further.

I played an entire game in the preseason. I didn't catch a sniff of that last year, so progress is made – at least they trust me enough to handle that. So that's where I'm at.

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