Many Dallas Cowboys fans may find it a bit ridiculous that so much fuss can be made about a back-up quarterback missing OTA’s and Minicamps. But the fact is Kyle Orton‘s decision to do so puts this team’s immediate future in somewhat questionable hands. And when you look at it that way, Orton’s indecisiveness may hit you a little differently.
It all starts with quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys starter is the oldest player on the team, at 34-years old, while also coming off a major back procedure. Regardless of all the reassurances we’ve heard from Romo, his teammates and the coaching staff, the 11-year veteran has yet to take a real NFL hit. No one really knows how this most recent injury will react to the physical violence of the NFL. But we do know that the chances are greater now than ever that Romo will not play all 16 regular season games this year.
That’s why the Cowboys need Orton. That’s why the Cowboys made him the highest paid back-up quarterback in the NFL back in early 2012, giving Orton a three-year, $10.5 million contract. The nine-year veteran is a proven starter who has had success in this league. But it now appears Orton is done. He wants to retire. And what team wants a player who doesn’t want to be there?
That leaves the keys to the Cowboys Lamborghini of an offense potentially in the unproven hands of Brandon Weeden. The 30-year old former baseball player is just two years removed from being a first round pick (22nd overall) by the Cleveland Browns. In that time, Weeden started 20 games for the Browns. And has a win/loss record of 5-15. The fact he was sacked 55 sacks in a total of 23 games probably had something to do with that. Still, great quarterbacks make their teams look better and not worse.
While at Cleveland, Weeden was accused of having little pocket feel and no ability to anticipate. In his two-year stint as a Brown, he threw for 5,116 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions on a league low 55.9 completion percentage. Last season, out of all the quarterbacks who threw 100 passes or more throughout the season, Weeden ranked dead last in QB value.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. While at Oklahoma State, Weeden was a record setter. In his final two seasons at OSU, he threw for 9,012 yards, 71 touchdowns and 26 interceptions; breaking school records in total attempts, completions, yardage, and scores. And Weeden has impressed Dallas coaches this offseason as well. And that includes head coach Jason Garrett.
“Brandon has done a nice job,” Garrett told the Fort Worth Star Telegram. “He has the ability to throw the football. He has the confidence and the poise about it. The biggest thing is he needs the opportunity to play and take snaps. He has picked things up very well mentally. You can see his ability to throw the football. He just needs to play more football.”
So here’s today’s poll question: Are you comfortable with Brandon Weeden as the primary back-up to Tony Romo? Place your vote below and feel free to chime in to our community discussion about it in our comments section as well.